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Diaspora Stars: Sade Adu


Helen Folasade Adu known professionally as Sade Adu or simply Sade is a Nigerian-born British singer, known as the lead singer of her eponymous band. One of the most successful British female artists in history, she is often recognized as an influence on contemporary music. Her success in the music industry was recognized in the UK with an award of the Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2002, and was made 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". Her parents are Adebisi Adu, a Nigerian lecturer in economics of Yoruba background, and Anne Hayes, an English district nurse; they met in London, married in 1955, and moved to Nigeria. When Sade was four years old, her parents separated. Anne Hayes then returned to England, taking Sade and her elder brother Banji to live with their grandparents near Colchester, Essex. When Sade was 11 years old, she moved to Holland-on-Sea, Essex, to live with her mother. After completing her education at Clacton County High School and Colchester Institute at the age of 18, she moved to London and studied fashion design at Saint Martin's School of Art.



 

After gaining attention as a performer, she formed the band Sade and secured a recording contract with Epic Records in 1983. A year later the band released the album Diamond Life, which became one of the best-selling albums of the era, and the best-selling debut by a British female vocalist. In July 1985, Sade was among the performers at the Live Aid charity concert at Wembley Stadium, and the following year she appeared in the film Absolute Beginners. Following the band's third and fourth albums, Stronger Than Pride (1988) and Love Deluxe (1992), they went on hiatus after the birth of Sade's child, while the singer experienced widespread media coverage for unsubstantiated claims of mental health and addiction problems.

After a spell of eight years without an album, the band reunited in 1999 and released Lovers Rock in 2000. The album departed from the jazz-inspired inflections of their previous work, featuring mellower sounds and pop compositions. The band then underwent another hiatus, not producing music for another ten years until the release of Soldier of Love. Following that album's release, the band entered the third period of extended hiatus, and have only released two songs ("Flower of the Universe" for the soundtrack of Disney's A Wrinkle in Time, and "The Big Unknown" as part of the soundtrack for Steve McQueen's film Widows) since.

 

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