Ian Watts – ➢➢ Shapers of the 80s ➣➣ (2024)

Launching her album in Feb 2010: Sade meets US TV host David Letterman. (Videograb from his Late Show on CBS)

➢ Sade proves to be highest-earning British musical act in America last year — read Caspar Llewellyn Smith in today’s Guardian…

Viewers of the 2012 Grammys awards last month watched Adele, the 23-year old girl from Tottenham, north London, walk away with six awards, but the top-earning act from the UK in America last year was an artist who fans back home have to some extent forgotten.

1 Taylor Swift: $35.7m
2 U2: $32.1m
3 Kenny Chesney: $29.8m
4 Lady Gaga: $25.4m
5 Lil Wayne: $23.2m
6 Sade $16.4m
7 Bon Jovi: $15.8m
8 Celine Dion: $14.3m
9 Jason Aldean: $13.4m
10 Adele: $13.1m
[Touring and record sales 2011]

Sade raked in $16.4m (£10.5m) in 2011 on the back of her first tour in North America for a decade and the release of The Ultimate Collection. The 53-year-old singer came sixth on a list of the biggest-earning acts of last year, compiled by the American trade publication Billboard, eclipsing Adele, the only other Brit in the top 10, who earned $13.1m.

Sade [say it “Zhah-Day”] is the most successful solo female artist Britain has ever produced, selling more than 50m records in a career that stretches back to her 1984 hit Your Love Is King. Famously reclusive — nicknamed Howie by her friends, after millionaire hermit Howard Hughes — she toured the world for eight months last year, but the bulk of the tour was devoted to North America, where she played 59 shows. The tour started 18 months after the release of her US No 1 album Soldier of Love, a record that reached No 4 in the UK… / continued at Guardian Online

➢ Smooth Operator Sade is surprise US smash,
beating Adele and Take That to be Britain’s biggest music export
— today’s Daily Mail feature

➢ Billboard’s Top 40 Money Makers 2012


Rolling Stone described Sade’s studio album, Soldier of Love, as “unimpeachably excellent” … Billboard said: “It’s been 10 years since Sade released an album, but be forewarned – the giant has awoken” … People magazine said Sade’s enduring appeal was as “the voice of comfort to the wounded heart”

❏ In her American fan forums black guys are besotted with Sade, and here in an audience for a live TV performance we see doting female fans for whom she is a role model. On Jimmy Kimmel’s show in February 2010 (above), Sade performed Soldier of Love live as her eponymous album hit No 1 in the US (502,000 copies sold there in its first week — the best sales week for an album by a group since AC/DC in October 2008). Susan Boyle, the finalist from the Britain’s Got Talent contest, was holding steady at No 9.

❏ Backstage video interview with Sade by The Insider, June 2011 (above) — “I’m really a country girl. I don’t give too much of myself away. When I go in a studio I lose all my shyness.”

➢ Read Sade: The Billboard Cover Story by Mitchell Peters, August 19, 2011 — Preparing for a 100-plus-date international concert tour is daunting for even the most seasoned musical acts… “I do the opposite and pretend it’s not going to happen, immersing myself in the details of production as a way of distracting myself from reality,” says English singer Sade Adu. “When the time comes, I don’t test the waters — I just jump straight in.”

❏ Listen to The Moon and the Sky (remix featuring Jay Z):


Sade’s debut with her own band in Aug 1983 at the Yow club, London, Paul Denman to the fore. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

➢ 1981 — Pix of fashion designer Sade’s Demob outfits during the first Blitz invasion of the US

➢ 1982 — Pix of Sade helping backstage during Steve Strange’s fashion show by Londoners in Paris

➢ 2010 — Her first interview in 10 years finds comeback Shard comfy as ‘Auntie Sade’ — 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!”


Ian Watts – ➢➢ Shapers of the 80s ➣➣ (2024)
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