Like synchronized schools of fish, musicians have a way of instinctually moving together as genre styles come and go. Perhaps the most significant trend in the past few years in the UK has been the resurgence of the sort of soulful, Motown style pop driven by the likes of Amy Winehouse and Duffy.
When the dust clears after the initial explosion of hype, there’s usually one or two who remain standing. After a whirlwind year and a half in which she saw her debut album “19” go to No. 1 at home and No. 10 in the States, won two Grammy’s including Best New Artist, and performed a career making performance on “Saturday Night Live,” it seems likely the survivor will be, or rather should be, twenty year old London born singer Adele.
“There’s certainly something going on in the UK with Motown and soul ’60s singers,” she says of the movement. “You know when you’re a teenager it’s really important to be involved in a certain kind of scene that’s going on? I was kind of listening to like Marvin Gaye and remember thinking I was really uncool.”
“I think it’s kind of a coincidence that all of us that are into it and … it ended up being released at the same time.” Adele says she also grew up listening to shameless pop like Spice Girls and Britney Spears, but she insists that’s not where she learned how to sing.
“When I was fourteen I discovered Ella Fitzgerald. And then I heard Etta James and it just changed my life.” Her appearance on “SNL” was a life-changer as well, coinciding as it did with the show’s highest rated episode ever. “Josh Brolin was the host, which I was so pleased with because I’m the biggest ‘Goonies’ fan!”
“And then Sarah Palin ended up being on the show. It was meant to be like another show, but it became this huge deal. In the back of my mind I remember thinking this could be a big deal. Thinking that ‘if you perform well, this could change your career.’ Lucky for me it was a week before the ballot for the Grammys!”
The Grammys appearance was another big deal. Her relative sincerity and honestly amidst a sea of predictable phoniness and bravado stood out. “I wasn’t expecting to get nominated at all. I felt really uncomfortable there. Where I come from and the reason I do music has nothing to do with that glamour side of life. So to be included in that when I never intended to be was the nicest thing ever. “
She certainly didn’t expect to win. “I was truly shocked,’ she says. “I had gum in my mouth, I took my shoes off and I undid my belt!”
If she can manage to replicate the heart-stirring soul and pop tunefulness on a second album she’s writing at the moment, it probably won’t be her last trip on stage to nab an award. She’ll just have to keep her shoes on till the end from now on.