Wednesday, February 1, 2012

World's Most Adorable & Desirable Woman (updated)

Every time I think of her my soul lets out a long bittersweet sigh. Why bittersweet? Well, bitter because it's unlikely I'll ever get to meet her - what more woo her? - so I'll just have to live in perpetual hope that someday through pure serendipity she'll stumble on my blog and leave a friendly comment (and her email address :-).

Sweet, of course, because she never fails to make me smile from ear to ear like the village idiot. Her earthy - yet somehow ethereal - beauty is almost too good to be true, but I know it's absolutely real. No botox, no photoshop, nosirree. On stage she moves like a cat, her grace so natural it almost hurts to watch. She's SEXY without even trying. She's one of a kind, in a class of her own, incomparable.

Sade Adu is a natural-born incarnation of Aphrodite. I've adored her from the very first moment I laid eyes on her video image, singing Smooth Operator. That was way back in the 1980s, when she first burst upon the scene from out of nowhere.

Born Helen Folasade Adu on 16 January, 1959, in Ibadan, Nigeria, to Bisi Adu (a Nigerian economics lecturer) and Anne Hayes (an English nurse), Sade moved to England at age 4 with her mother and brother after the marriage broke up. She studied fashion design in London between 1977 and 1980, and opened a men's boutique with a friend, Gioia Mellor, who still designs many of Sade's stage outfits. She also worked part time as a photographic model during that period, which explains her amazing posture and poise. Friends asked her to do a bit of singing with a Latin-soul group named Arriva - and that's when Sade's talent as a songwriter first emerged. Smooth Operator was among her first attempts and I bet there's hardly a person on Earth who hasn't fallen in love with her slinky, sultry vocals on this unforgettable tune.

Sade subsequently joined a group called Pride - where she met Stuart Matthewman (saxophone, guitar, programming), Paul Spencer Denman (bass), and Paul Anthony Cook (drums). They got on really well and decided to form a splinter group called... Sade. Keyboardist Andrew Hale came aboard in 1983, Paul Cook was replaced, and this has been the core band that propelled Sade Adu to worldwide iconic status overnight.

In 1986 Sade moved to Madrid, Spain, and three years later she married Carlos Pliego, a Spanish filmmaker, but the partnership proved shortlived. She moved back to London for a few years before relocating in the mid-1990s to Jamaica, where she moved in with a producer named Bob Morgan. A daughter, Ila, was born to them on 21 July 1996 - but domestic bliss eluded her, and Sade once again returned to London, where she shares a Victorian mansion with her older brother Banji. It would appear that the world's most adorable and desirable woman has never been lucky in love, even though she's adulated by millions - men as well as women. However, Sade recently met a former British soldier named Ian Watts and love blossomed again for her, leading to a new album release (Soldier of Love) in early 2010.

Sade seems indifferent to her celebrity status, rarely granting interviews ("I'm not shy or reclusive... I just spend my time with people rather than journalists."). Rumor has it that she became depressed and dropped out of the music business. However, in September 2001, Sade thrilled her loyal fans by going on tour with her Lovers Live concert, backed by veteran musician friends from the old days - and she was in absolutely superb form, winsomely fetching in a gold cheongsam, every inch the fully mature diva. Lovers Live is my all-time favorite concert DVD, impeccably directed by Sophie Muller. You can view a few numbers from this exciting tour on YouTube (just search Sade Adu and run through the list of offerings). Sade performed at the Royal Albert Hall on 8 December 2004, when she sang a new song, Mum, specially written for the "Voices For Darfur" charity concert. Then she disappeared again, re-emerging only in early 2010 to promote Soldier of Love. Well, Sade, if you ever chance upon this... pop me an email, please. I promise you, I'm not like any man you've ever met... I'll give you THE Kiss of Life!

Muuuaaaaaaaah! (How can you put up with such unmitigated ADUlation, Sade?)

[First published 30 March 2007 ~  forgot to repost on Sade's birthday, 16 January!]