Helen Folasade Adu OBE (born 16 January 1959; better known as Sade), is a British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer. She first achieved success in the 1980s as the frontwoman and lead vocalist of the Brit and Grammy Award winning English group Sade.
Sade was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Her middle name, Folasade, means honour confers your crown. Her parents, Adebisi Adu, a Nigerian lecturer in economics of Yoruba background, and Anne Hayes, an English district nurse, met in London, married in 1955 and moved to Nigeria. Later, when the marriage ran into difficulties, Anne Hayes returned to England, taking four-year-old Sade and her older brother Banji to live with her parents. When Sade was 11, she moved to Holland-on-Sea to live with her mother, and after completing school at 18 she moved to London and studied at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
While at college, she joined a soul band, Pride, in which she sang backing vocals. Her solo performances of the song "Smooth Operator" attracted the attention of record companies and in 1983, she signed a solo deal with Epic Records taking three members of the band, Stuart Matthewman, Andrew Hale and Paul Denman, with her. Sade and her band produced the first of a string of hit albums. Their debut album Diamond Life was in 1984. She is the most successful solo female artist in British history, having sold over 110 million albums worldwide.
In 2002, she appeared on the Red Hot Organization's Red Hot and Riot, a compilation CD in tribute to the music of fellow Nigerian musician, Fela Kuti. She recorded a remix of her hit single, "By Your Side", for the album and was billed as a co-producer.
In her early twenties Adu was in a relationship with style journalist Robert Elms. In 1989, she married Spanish film director Carlos Pliego. Their marriage ended in 1995. She gave birth to a daughter, Ila Adu, in 1996 after a relationship with a Jamaican musician.
Adu currently resides in Stroud, United Kingdom, with her partner Ian, his son Jack and her daughter Ila. She keeps details of her personal life private.
In 2002, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to popular music. Prior to the release of Soldier of Love in 2010, the Daily Mail described her as "famously reclusive".
Sade went on her first tour in over a decade with Grammy nominated singer John Legend in Summer of 2011.
1984: Diamond Life
1988: Stronger Than Pride
1992: Love Deluxe
2000: Lovers Rock
2010: Soldier of Love
1992: Remix Deluxe
1994: The Best of Sade
2002: Lovers Live
2011: The Ultimate Collection
Absolute Beginners OST (Virgin, 1986)
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