December 1, 2006 8:08am CST
B I O G R A P H Y Set your climate control for "tropical" - because Sade offers breezy, exotic sounds from the tasteful and sunny side of the street. Ms. Sade Adu gently swings and sways over the latin rhythms supplied by the band. It's got the pop jazz elements of Michael Franks or Dave Grusin with Sade's pipes adding the velvety lounge flavorings. And by the way, - it's pronounced shar-day. Lovers Rock is the first collection of new work by Sade in eight years. But it's a record that says less about those years gone by than the promise and vitality of the here and now. It's an album that's by turns moving, elegiac and beautiful. Like the tender, acoustic guitar-driven first single, 'By Your Side', a song about the tensile strength of love, it is music stripped back to its essential elements: voice, melody, and meticulously arranged instrumentation. The result is a record of bare, sometimes startlingly, immediacy. But then Helen Folasade Adu is a woman who has never had anything to hide. Born in Ibadan, Nigeria and raised in Colchester, Essex, where she moved at 4 after her English mother separated from her Nigerian father, she's spent her life trying to do what feels right, honest and true. Because by comparison nothing else has seemed as important. When she was growing up, Sade would listen to soul artists like Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye. Singers uniquely attuned to the complex sensibilities of heartache and hope, who were skilled enough to create from those feelings, something lasting and transcendent. Still she didn't think about singing herself. Rather, she studied fashion at St Martin's art college, only signing on as vocalist when a couple of old school friends started a band "until they found a proper singer". From there to singing with early Eighties Latin funk collective Pride, she discovered a rare delight in songwriting. It was while she was with that group, that Sade co-wrote 'Smooth Operator', and it was from there that Sade abandoned diffidence and finally stepped centre stage to form her own group with fellow Pride members Stuart Matthewman, Andrew Hale and Paul Spencer Denman. In 1984 their first single 'Your Love Is King' became a top ten hit. And quite abruptly Sade herself became an icon. If during the Eighties, she seemed to embody newly discovered values of aspiration and elegance, there was, and remains, something more fundamental to account for Sade's popularity. Her music has a resilience that belies its apparent softness. It stays in the heart and in the head long after the last notes have fallen silent, in the same way that the embers of a love affair never truly go cold. That's why, just a year after the first single, she became one of the few recording artists ever to appear on the cover of Time magazine. Because from the very beginning her music transcended the pop moment. Indeed, with the release in 1984 of her debut 'Diamond Life', Sade was speaking to a global audience. Featuring hit singles 'Your Love Is King', 'Smooth Operator' and 'Hang On To Your Love', the album spent 98 weeks on the UK charts and 81 weeks on the Billboard charts. Sade received a BPI award for Best Album and a Grammy for Best New Artist. After 'Diamond Life' came 1985's 'Promise', the rich, evocative second album that yielded hits such as 'Is It A Crime' and 'The Sweetest Taboo', which has become one of the most played songs in radio history. Like it's predecessor, this too was an international multi-platinum success. Three years later, she reconvened the group to record 'Stronger Than Pride', the 1988 hit album which produced memorable singles like 'Paradise', 'Love Is Stronger Than Pride' and 'Nothing Can Come Between Us'. In the album's wake came a pan-continental tour across Europe, Australia and Japan that included Sade's first full-scale arena tour of America. Throughout their history, the group have always attracted a diverse, multi-racial audience who are drawn by the band's open-minded approach to music. Sade have created dance floor classics, songs for film soundtracks, radio favourites and late night love anthems, at the same time refusing to be classified simply as a pop group, an r&b act, a soul band or anything else as one-dimensional. Instead, like the multi-cultural London streets the group hails from, their music has thrived by embracing diversity as a guiding principle. In 1992, Sade released 'Love Deluxe', a bold, emotionally honest album that won huge critical and commercial acclaim. I n America it spent 90 weeks on the Billboard charts, while the single' No Ordinary Love', featured prominently in the Robert Redford movie Indecent Proposal. In 1994 came the 16 track 'Best Of Sade', but now, eight years since her last new work and after 40 million record sales, she releases 'Lovers Rock'. Stripped down and subtle, it is a deceptively simple record that showcases Sade's remarkable talent as a writer of songs that bear a hallmark of enduring refinement. From the spare, acoustic 'Sweetest Gift' to the poignant 'All About Our Love' and the moving 'Slave Song', this is an album of warmth and intimacy and sensitivity. On 'Lovers Rock', as she has done with earlier albums, Sade continues to describe the secret murmurs of the heart's desire, remaining true to herself in her work by always reaching further, always stretching higher. www.sade.com - The Official Web The latest studio album "Lovers Rock" was released November 2000. A very good album and just what you'd expect from Sade, although maybe a little more pop than jazz this time around. Following the new studio release, all four earlier studio albums, plus the Best Of album have been remastered. The tracklistings and running orders are the same as the existing albums, - there are no bonus tracks! The booklet artwork has been restored to match the original album releases. The new live-set "Lovers Live" was released 18. February 2002 and is available on CD, DVD and VHS. "Lovers Live" was filmed and recorded on the nine-week US tour that was extended over the summer of 2001 due to popular demand. The DVD includes concert footage, exclusive behind the scenes action and more...