❚ SADE IS TALKING FRANKLY AND REFLECTIVELY. It’s a rare treat from a singer who rarely ever breaks cover. Ten years on from her last album, Lovers Rock, she is said to be the most successful solo female artist Britain has ever produced – more than 50m albums sold over 26 years, valued at £30m in The Sunday Times Rich List. She is the first to acknowledge that Sade is a band, and together they have won a Brit Award for Best British Album of 1984 (view award speech) plus nine other Brit nominations, three Grammies (for 1985, 1993, 2001, plus two other nominations) and Sade herself was appointed an OBE, an order of chivalry, by the Queen (2002).
In yesterday’s Sunday Times Magazine, according to the writer Robert Sandall whom Sade knows of old, the Blitz clubbing veteran was giving the only face-to-face interview to coincide with this month’s release of her new album, titled Soldier of Love.
Sandall delivers full value as Sade really does let her guard down, surprisingly further than most of us who used to know her might have expected, especially about her “complicated” inter-racial family background. (She was born Helen Folasade Adu in Nigeria, raised in the UK at Clacton-on-Sea, and took a fashion BA at St Martin’s School of Art). She also talks about motherhood with a 13-year-old daughter and her several romances – “I’ve paid some rugged dues,” she observes. Highlights among many soundbites…
❏ On being a black singer in a white soul outfit: “I didn’t have any confidence as a singer, but I found that I liked writing songs.”
❏ The same band of clubbing wags from 1983 is reunited for the album – Paul Denman, Andrew Hale and Stuart Matthewman. They remain one tight unit on the new album, we’re told, under the control of a matriarch who likes the nickname “Auntie Sade”. [Note for newbies: say it Shah-day /ʃɑːˈdeɪ/. Only friends are allowed to use the nickname Shard.]
❏ On her new man, Ian Watts, who has been in turn Royal Marine, fireman and scientist: “I always said that if I could just find a guy who could chop wood and had a nice smile it didn’t bother me if he was an aristocrat or a thug as long as he was a good guy. I’ve ended up with an educated thug!”
❏ The old charge that Sade was the backdrop of the yuppie era still rankles: “With my family history, that really irks me. And it so annoyed me at the time, when we were secretly giving money we didn’t even have yet to Arthur Scargill and the striking miners.”
➢➢ For links to new video documentary and tracks see Sade box in sidebar, right