Sade Adu (1959- ), a British R & B singer from the 1980s, turns 50 today! Happy birthday, Sade! May you live to see many more and live to a ripe old age!
In America she is best remembered for singing two songs that came out there in 1985: “Smooth Operator” and “The Sweetest Taboo”. In Britain she is better remembered for “Your Love is King” (1984). She has sold nearly 40 million records worldwide and has won four Grammy Awards.
She is the ninth most beautiful black woman in the world according to this blog. She has an otherworldly look, like a princess from a storybook. That she got married in a castle in Spain does not seem out of place one bit. She has dark brown eyes, light brown skin and long black hair. Her face reminds me of the moon and its beauty for some reason.
She is not just a pretty face that can sing, she also writes songs. She wrote “Smooth Operator” with guitarist Ray St James, who was in her old band, Pride.
She was born Helen Folasade Adu. Her stage name is Sade Adu. Sade, said as “shah-day” or, as Epic Records likes to say, “shar-day”, comes from her middle name. Sade is also the name of her band.
She was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, not far from Lagos. Her father, a professor, is black African – Yoruba, in fact – and her mother, a nurse, is white British. They split up when she was four and her mother took her and her older brother back to England to live.
She grew up in the North End of London. She loved fashion, books, dancing, singing and American R & B: she listened to Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Ray Charles, Al Green, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. She also liked jazz singers Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.
In 1977 she went to St Martin’s College in London to study fashion design and designed men’s clothes for a time in London’s Chalk Farm. She designed the outfits that the band Spandau Ballet wore on their first American tour. She also got some work as a model.
In 1982 she joined Ray St James’s Latin funk band, Pride, as a backing singer. They sang at nightclubs in London. One of their songs was “Smooth Operator”.
In 1983 she signed a recording contract with Epic and took two of her band mates with her and formed the band Sade. They sometimes record under the name Sweetback. Their last record came out in 2004.
“Smooth Operator” has been covered many times, once as a bossa nova song (not hard to imagine) but even as a death metal song (by Ten Masked Men in 1999). The full video for the song is eight minutes long, showing the story the song tells.
The songs of hers I like the best are “Paradise” (1988 ) and “Feel No Pain” (1992).
She has one daughter, Ila Morgan, born in 1996 to her and Bob Morgan. She was married for a time to Spanish filmmaker Carlos Scola.