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Sade

 

When singer Sade and her band of the same name were establishing themselves, their record company, Epic, made a point of printing "Pronounced Shar-day" on the record labels of their releases. Soon enough, the music had no problem with the correct pronunciation. With the breakthrough Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten single "Smooth Operator" propelling the debut Sade album, Diamond Life, to the same spot on the Billboard 200 chart in 1985, the band fast came to epitomize soulful, adult-oriented, sophisti-pop. Though only five more studio albums would follow in the next 25 years, the band's following abated only slightly, and each release was treated like a long-awaited public return of a mysterious yet beloved diva.

Born Helen Folasade Adu in Ibadan, Nigeria, about 50 miles from Lagos, Sade was the daughter of an African father and an English mother. After her mother returned to England, Adu grew up on the North End of London. Developing a good singing voice in her teens, Adu worked part-time jobs in and outside of the music business. She listened to Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, and Billie Holiday, and studied fashion design at St. Martin's School of Art in London while also doing some modeling on the side.

Around 1980, she started singing harmony with a Latin funk group called Arriva. One of the more popular numbers that the group performed was an Adu original co-written with bandmember Ray St. John, "Smooth Operator." The following year, she joined the eight-piece funk band Pride as a background singer. Pride's opening acts often featured members of the band in different combinations. Pride and their off-shoots performed often around London and stirred up record company interest. Initially, the labels wanted to sign only Sade — technically a trio featuring Adu, Stuart Matthewman, and Paul Denman — while the whole of Pride wanted a deal. The members of Pride not involved in the Sade trio eventually told Adu, Matthewman, and Denman to go ahead and sign a deal. Adding keyboardist Andrew Hale, Sade signed to the U.K. division of Epic Records.

The band's debut album, Diamond Life (with overall production by Robin Millar), went Top Ten in the U.K. in late 1984. January 1985 saw the album released on CBS' Portrait label, and by spring, it had gone platinum on the strength of the Top Ten singles "Smooth Operator" and "Hang On to Your Love." The second album, Promise (1985), featured "Never as Good as the First Time" and "The Sweetest Taboo," the latter of which stayed on the U.S. Hot 100 for six months. Sade was so popular that some radio stations reinstated the '70s practice of playing album tracks, adding "Is It a Crime" and "Tar Baby" to their playlists. In 1986, Sade won a Grammy for Best New Artist.

Sade's third album was 1988's Stronger Than Pride, and featured their first number one single on the U.S. R&B chart, "Paradise," as well as "Nothing Can Come Between Us" and "Keep Looking." The fourth Sade album didn't appear for four years: 1992's Love Deluxe continued the unbroken streak of multi-platinum Sade albums, spinning off the hits "No Ordinary Love," "Feel No Pain," and "Pearls."

Matthewman, Denman, and Hale went on to other projects, including the low-key Sweetback, which released a self-titled album in 1996. Matthewman also played a major role in the development of Maxwell's career, providing instrumentation and production work for the R&B singer's first two albums. Sade eventually reconvened to issue Lovers Rock in 2000. The lead single "By Your Side" was a moderate hit, peaking at number 18 on the adult contemporary chart; the following summer, Sade embarked on their first tour in more than a decade and sold out many dates across America. In early 2002, they celebrated the tour's success by releasing a live album and DVD, Lovers Live. They resurfaced in late 2009 with "Soldier of Love," the lead single for the album of the same title, released the following year. In the U.S., Soldier of Love debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart and sold over 500,000 copies during its first week. Another live set, Bring Me Home, followed in 2012.

 

Sade (/ʃɑːˈdeɪ/ shah-day) is an English soul band formed in London in 1982, although three of their members were originally from Kingston Upon Hull, East Yorkshire. The band was named after their lead singer Sade. Their music features elements of soul, R&B, jazz, and soft rock.

Sade's debut album, Diamond Life, was released in 1984, reaching No. 2 in the UK Album Chart, selling over 1.2 million copies in the UK, and won the Brit Award for Best British Album in 1985. The album was also a hit internationally, reaching No. 1 in several countries and the top ten in the US where it has sold in excess of 4 million copies. In late 1985, Sade released their second album, Promise, which peaked at No. 1 in both the UK and the US. It was certified double platinum in the UK, and quadruple platinum in the US. In 1986 the band won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Their 2002 album, Lovers Rock, won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. Sade's sixth studio album, Soldier of Love, was released on 8 February 2010, and peaked at No. 4 in the UK, and No. 1 in the US. In 2011, the band won their fourth Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

Sade's US certified sales so far stand at 23.5 million units according to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and have sold more than 50 million units worldwide to date. The band were ranked at No. 50 on VH1's list of the "100 greatest artists of all time."

Sade was ranked #37 on VH1's 50 Greatest Women of the Video Era.
Sade was ranked #66 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll.
Sade was ranked #34 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
Sade worked as a model and fashion designer for several years, and was involved in designing outfits that Spandau Ballet wore on their first American tour.
Sade appeared on both sides of a special double cover March 2001 edition of Essence magazine.
Sade's first single released with her group was "Your Love Is King" in 1984.
Sade is one of the few singers to appear on the cover of Time magazine.
Sade's debut album, Diamond Life is still the all-time best-selling debut album by a British female artist.
Sade was inspired by jazz and soul greats Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, and Al Green.
Sade traded in her potential fashion career to join the jazz/funk band, Pride. As a vocalist for the British band, Sade quickly began attracting the attention of audiences thanks to her smooth style. By 1983, Sade split from Pride, along with the group's guitarist and saxophonist Stuart Matthewman, keyboardist Andrew Hale, and bassist Paul Denman, and together formed the group Sade.
Sade always made time for music as a teenager, even in between part-time jobs as a waitress, a bike messenger, and later as a model.
At the peak of her fame, in the 1980's, Sade was a regular magazine cover girl. Soon the exposure became too much for her and a self-imposed exile got her off the tabloid pages.
Sade is a very private and shy person. She avoids the media and wishes that they respect her privacy so she may focus her attention solely on her music.
Sade: (explaining why she rarely grants interviews) I'm a diva, of course, but I'm not shy or reclusive. I just spend my time with people rather than journalists.
In 1983, Epic Records expressed interest in Sade, and in an inspired move to bring along her long-time collaborators, she convinced Epic that Sade was more than merely her name, but also the name of the group which included her, Stewart Matthewman, Andrew Hale and Paul Deman. Though the general public would be unaware that Sade was anything more than one woman throughout their entire career, the tactic did succeed in securing a contract for the entire band.
She was dubbed Sade by her racist Nigerian neighbors who refused to call her by her first name Helen because she was biracial.
Sade's smooth instrumental jazz track, "Siempre Hay Esperenza" appearing on the album, Stronger Than Pride was sampled by black political rapper, Paris for the song "Mellow Madness" on his 1990 album The Devil Made Me Do It.
Sade was sentenced in 1997 in absentia to jailtime in Jamaica for reckless driving.
Sade starred with David Bowie in the 1986 mod-stylish rock musical movie, Absolute Beginners, as Athene Duncannon, and also contributed to the soundtrack. Although it was a commercial disappointment during its release, the film has now gained cult status.
Sade entered the music business in 1980, joining a band called Arriva. At the same time she was working as a fashion designer, she also designed clothes for the 80's band Spandau Ballet.
She studied fashion design at St. Martins College in London.
Sade has sold close to forty million records worldwide.
Sade was ranked #66 on VH1's Greatest Women of Rock 'n' Roll.
Sade was the background singer for an eight piece jazz/funk band called Pride, in 1981. When Sade left, the band's guitarist/saxophonist Stuart Matthewman and bassist Paul Denman left with her to be part of her band.
Sade has a daughter named Ila with her boyfriend and producer Bob Morgan. Ila was born on July 21, 1996.
Her name is pronounced "Shah-day".
Official album discography:
Diamond Life (1984), Promise (1985), Stronger Than Pride (1988), Love Deluxe (1992), Best of Sade (1994), Lovers Rock (2000), Lovers Live (2002)
Other releases:
Absolute Beginners soundtrack (1986) featuring "Killer Blow"

 

 

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