Someone like Adele: The story of her success

For music lovers everywhere, Adele’s return was hotly anticipated. Last month ITV aired an understated advert with her unmistakable voice singing the intro to ‘Hello’ with the lyrics appearing on screen. The advert quickly went viral, and with that the powerhouse who has dominated the charts since 2008 was back. 

Chasing Pavements, not fame

Adele is one artist who does not court the limelight. Her second album 21, which became one of the best-selling records of all time, achieved such phenomenal success that she considered giving up music completely. Adele admitted that she felt overwhelmed by the success of her follow-up album, as it “grew limbs of its own and did marathon runs”.

Talking to Graham Norton on Adele at the BBC, she made apologies for her return by saying “sorry to make your ears bleed again.” Her vulnerability contrasts with her powerful vocals making her more and more charming each time she makes an ever-rare appearance on our television screens.

She may have the voice to rival some of pop’s greatest divas – such as Diana Ross and Mariah Carey – but she certainly doesn’t share their entitled personalities.  

Hello, 25, and welcome back, Adele.

For me, 25 is the most inspiring Adele album to date. The angst that featured so prominently on the first two albums has faded, and in its place is melancholic nostalgia and hopefulness. Adele has finally donned her rose-tinted glasses and boy, do they suit her. Paradoxical as it may sound, 25 is overall more positive than its predecessors – even if the tone is softly funereal and the lyrics longing and sentimental. It’s a return to early Adele; certain songs have the head-held-high passion of ‘Hometown Glory’.

So down-to-earth is Adele, she feared that her astronomical success would alienate her from the people that related to her the most – and contemplated giving up music completely – as she wondered, “how am I supposed to write and record an album that people relate to?”

Despite her fears, Adele knows exactly how to connect with her audience. When you think about her accounts of loss and heartbreak, it’s easy to forget that she’s still only 27. Her gratitude is so humbling to behold that it’s as if she doesn’t realise just how good an artist she is, something that comes across in her casual, “girl-next-door” approach to fame.

25 is so much more personal, for both Adele and her listeners. Oozing maturity, it nostalgically namechecks places from her childhood, allowing an insight into her own journey, but the contents are general enough for us all to relate to it.

A national treasure?

Adele is wonderfully British. She joined Graham Norton for BBC and it was almost too quintessential. In the show she treated us to an exclusive first live performance of the first track from new album 25, ‘Hello’.


Endearing is just one word to describe Adele. She’s often heard in interviews explaining how her life could be so much different to how it is now. Growing up in south London, Adele had a difficult start to life with an alcoholic father and a struggling mother.

It’s perhaps the tough childhood that makes Adele never take her success for granted. She couldn’t fathom that so many people wanted to buy her album, telling Graham Norton that “people must have kept losing it and rebuying it”.

Adele explains that she has been “lucky”. She’s incredibly self-aware for such a successful artist. Telling Graham Norton that her success in the US was largely down to a former vice-presidential candidate, it was clear that she knew part of the discovery of her was down to being in the right place at the right time. A scheduling change in 2008 saw Adele appear on Saturday Night Live with Sarah Palin. The show happened to air two weeks before the Grammy Awards nomination ballot and, because of Palin’s appearance on the talk show, the episode became one of SNL’s highest-rated episodes ever.

That year she won Best New Artist at the Grammys.

With the ability to tell stories that appeal to everyone, Adele is undoubtedly one of the greatest songwriters of this generation. Her voice is like no other artist in the charts today, something that’s helped by the fact that her live performances are of the same – if not better – quality as the recordings. The incredible success that the British teenager with an old soul went on to enjoy is one tale that could never have been foretold.

Despite her global success, critics will do what they do best and, well, criticise. But Adele’s success shows no sign of slowing down, and it looks as if she will have the last laugh. Well, cackle.

Are you a fan of Adele? Let us know in the comments below!