Sade Adu, officially known as Helen Folasade Adu or just Sade, is a Nigerian-born British musician best known as the main singer of her namesake band. She is widely regarded as an influence on contemporary music and is one of the most successful British female performers in history. Her achievements in the music industry were recognised in the United Kingdom with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire award in 2002, and she was named Commander in the 2017 Birthday Honours.
Helen Folasade Adu was born on 16 January 1959 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, but is a native of Ekiti State. Her middle name, Folasade, means “honor earns the crown”. Sade began backup singing with British band Pride after completing a three-year fashion design course and briefly modelling. During this time, she started a songwriting connection with Pride’s guitarist/saxophonist Stuart Matthewman, and they began performing their own sets during Pride events, supported by Pride’s rhythm section. Her solo performances of the song “Smooth Operator” piqued the interest of record labels, and Sade and Matthewman left Pride in 1983 to form Sade with pianist Andrew Hale, bassist Paul Denman, and drummer Paul Cook. She had become so popular by the time she played her maiden act at London’s Heaven nightclub that 1,000 people were turned away at the entrance. Sade played their first US gig at New York City’s Danceteria nightclub in May 1983. Sade Adu signed with Epic Records on October 18, 1983, while the rest of the band signed in 1984.
A year later, the band released Diamond Life, which went on to become one of the best-selling albums of the time and the best-selling debut by a British female vocalist. Sade sang at the Live Aid charity performance at Wembley Stadium in July 1985, and the following year she participated in the film Absolute Beginners. Following the release of their third and fourth albums, Stronger Than Pride (1988) and Love Deluxe (1992), the band went on hiatus following the birth of Sade’s child, at which time the singer received extensive media attention for unfounded claims of mental health and drug issues.
After an eight-year hiatus, the band reformed in 1999 and released Lovers Rock in 2000. The album deviated from their previous work’s jazz-inspired inflections, including mellower tones and pop tunes. The band then went on another hiatus, not releasing new music for ten years until the release of Soldier of Love. Following the release of that album, the band went on a third extended hiatus, and have only released two songs since (“Flower of the Universe” for the soundtrack of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, and “The Big Unknown” for the soundtrack of Steve McQueen’s film Widows).
Sade was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002 for her contributions to music, and she described the honour as “a great gesture to me and all black women in England.” In the 2017 Birthday Honours, she was upgraded to Commander of the same Order (CBE) for services to music. She was the first Nigerian (African) to win a Grammy Award in 1986, when she was named Best New Artist.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Sade Famous Song?
Sade is most famous for her song “Smooth Operator.” The song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remains one of her most popular songs.
What Was Sade’S Biggest Hit?
Sade’s biggest hit was “Smooth Operator.” The song peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.
What Is Sade’S Best Selling Album?
Sade’s best selling album is 1984’s Diamond Life. The album has sold over six million copies in the United States and over fifteen million copies worldwide. It is one of the best-selling debut albums of all time. The album spawned the hit singles “Your Love Is King” and “Smooth Operator”.
How Many Albums Sade Sold?
How many albums Sade sold is not something that is readily available. However, according to Hits Daily Double, Sade sold approximately 4 million records in the United States as of 2010. This number includes both digital and physical copies of her albums. Her best-selling album worldwide is Love Deluxe, which has sold over 6 million copies.
What Kind Of Music Does Sade Sing?
Sade is a British singer, songwriter, and record producer who began her career as the lead singer of the band Sade. Her music is a mix of soul, R&B, and jazz. She has sold more than 75 million records worldwide and has won numerous awards, including five Grammy Awards.