Adele Adkins is 23 years old, which means it’s a bit early yet to be trying for any sort of comprehensive treatment of her life and career. That said, Chas Newkey Burden in his Adele biography has offered a decent first look at the young singer and composer with the soulful voice and the fulsome curves who is the first living artist to simultaneously hit the top five in the UK’s albums and singles charts since the Beatles did it in 1964, and who has surpassed Madonna’s record as the longest-running number one album on the album charts by a female artist. Adele began her career by posting demos on MySpace, but was quickly picked up by recording companies and became a nearly-overnight sensation. She presents an unusual image among pop stars. The “look” normally is slim, athletic, and outrageous, but Adele is on the chunky side and presents no eye-catching visual craziness. She’s nervous about performing in person and once canceled a U.S. tour to spend time with her boyfriend, a decision she later said she regretted. It’s fair to say that she has achieved her success on the strength of her music and voice alone.
An unusual success among pop stars, hard to classify
Her first album, 19, has been classified as blue-eyed soul or white soul, a genre that fits well with her rich contralto voice. Her second album, 21, expanded beyond that genre however and she is said today to be unique and unclassifiable. She disputes comparisons between herself and other female soul singers, having said “We’re a gender, not a genre.” Her second U.S. tour in 2011 was a great success including sold-out performances. She also appeared on Saturday Night Live in 2008. Her second album has sold more than three million copies (CD plus digital download) in the U.S. So there’s a good bit of material for an Adele biography even though she’s still very young and her career still has a long way to go. If you want to know a bit more about Adele beyond what her music tells, this is a good start.