EXCLUSIVE Adele’s biographer SEAN SMITH reveals how the girl from north London found global fame using toxic relationships to inspire her biggest hits.
Now happily settled in Los Angeles, Adele dropped by the 21st birthday party of her friend Harry Styles at a fashionable West Hollywood bar and gave him a signed copy of her iconic album, 21, with a note saying: “I did some pretty cool stuff when I was 21. Good luck!” Harry, who thought Adele was amazing, was thrilled.
It was February 2015 and her second album had already become the best-selling release of the 21st century. It was a triumph, rising from the ashes of yet another toxic relationship that inspired such classics as Rolling in the Deep, Rumour Has It and the heartbreaking Someone Like You – the song with which she held the audience at the 2011 Brit Awards spellbound.
Yet despite her success, in her landmark interview for next month’s Vogue magazine, she admits in typically outspoken Adele fashion: “I was drunk as a fart on 21. I really don’t remember much, I just remember being really sad.”
This wasn’t the first time she had channelled fury and regret into memorable music. She was literally lurching from one bad relationship to the next.
One of the most famous songs from her debut album, 19, came about when she was devastated to learn her first serious boyfriend had been cheating on her.
She marched into the West End bar where he was drinking, told him what she thought of him and “punched him in the face”. She was swiftly escorted from the premises.
Everything might have been different if the straying boyfriend had run after her and they had made up there and then but, thankfully for the creation of a great song, she was left alone to wander the wide and empty pavements of Oxford Street.
She recalled: “I got thrown out and as I was running away the phrase ‘Chasing Pavements’ came to me so I sang it into my phone.” When she got home to the flat she shared with her mum, Penny, over the Co-op in West Norwood, south London, she made straight for her room and grabbed her guitar.
The song was born that would provide Adele with her important breakthrough in the US. By sheer fluke she. “Brinkwire Summary News”.