Sade is a singer who struck a cord around with world in the 1980s with sultry, soul-inspired songs like ‘Smooth Operator.’
Musician and singer, Helen Folasade Adu, was born on January 16, 1959 in Ibadan, Nigeria. Raised in London by her English mother, Sade developed several interests as a teen, including singing, fashion design and modeling. She sang with a few local bands before signing with Epic Records and recording her first album, Diamond Life, in 1984.
A huge hit in her native England, the album also had mass appeal across the pond thanks to such singles as “Smooth Operator.” In 1986, she won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Sade's subsequent multi-platinum albums, Promise, Stronger Than Pride and Love Deluxe, established her as a top-selling soul and pop artist. She took a new route with her 2000 album, Lovers Rock, which was released eight years after Love Deluxe and incorporated a more mainstream sound.
The record, and particularly the chart-topping single, “By Your Side,” helped her win over new audiences. Two years later, the album and ensuing tour inspired her first live recording, Lovers Live. Sade returned to the studio and released her sixth album In February 2010, Soldier of Love. Upon release, the album received positive reviews and became a success. Soldier of Love became the band's first album to debut at number-one and the band's second album to peak at number-one on the chart. The album also had the best sales week by a group since Australian band AC/DC released their album Black Ice and entered the Billboard 200 at number-one in November 2008.
In April 2011, the band began their Sade Live tour (also known as the “Once in a Lifetime Tour” or the “Soldier of Love Tour”). In March 2018, she (and the reunited band that also bears her name) released the acoustic ballad “Flower of the Universe” for the soundtrack to the Disney film A Wrinkle In Time. About asking Sade to contribute to the album, director Ava DuVernay wrote “I never thought she'd say yes, but asked anyway.”
Later that year, Sade released “The Big Unknown” for the soundtrack to the 20th Century Fox film Widows. That film's director, Steve McQueen stated that Sade agreed to write the song for the film, because “the original series of Widows had deeply resonated with her.” The successor to Soldier of Love is in the works.
Sade married Spanish filmmaker Carlos Scola in 1989; the couple divorced three years later. In 1996, she and Jamaican record producer Bobby Morgan had a daughter, Ila Morgan.
January 16, 1959
- Nigerian-born English singer of “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” who was ranked #30 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women In Music list.
- She was discovered because of her rendition of “Smooth Operator,” which helped her get a deal with Epic Records.
- Her song “By Your Side” was nominated for a 2002 Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, but Nelly Furtado received the award for her song “I'm Like a Bird.”
- In 2001, Sade embarked on a highly successful world tour, excerpts of which were featured on Lovers Live. Sade’s first album of original material in a decade found the band wrapping new instrumentation and rhythms around the smooth vocals that had defined it since the 1980s. The Grammy-winning title track of Soldier of Love incorporated martial beats and harsh guitars, and critics praised the trip-hop and reggae influences that coloured Sade’s trademark soulful melodies.
- Following another hiatus, Sade contributed the song “Flower of the Universe” to the film soundtrack for Disney's A Wrinkle in Time. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002 and promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2018.