Adele: How Chasing Pavements star rejected singing ultimatum from school teacher

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Adele Adkins, known as ‘Adele’, is widely considered to be one of Britain’s best vocal talents, having topped US and UK charts with her smoky voice and touching songs about heartbreak. Her second release ‘21’ made history after it was the longest running number one album of any female solo artist in both countries. The singer recently hit the headlines after revealing her incredible weight loss transformation – where she was reported to have lost seven stone from a low-carb diet. The London-born singer, who attended BRIT School in her teen years, revealed some of the difficulties she faced while she grew up. The challenges of breaking into the music industry and following her dreams of becoming a singer were revealed in unearthed accounts.

Adele’s talent for singing was first recognised by her mother’s friends when she used to put on performances and try to replicate the voices of her favourite artists. 

During those “little concerts”, where she impersonated The Spice Girls and Gabrielle, she was instilled with confidence, a 2008 Independent article reported.

She said: “My mum’s quite arty – she’d get all these lamps and shine them up to make one big spotlight. They would all sit on the bed.”

Far from the soulful ballads she croons today, back at school Adele considered herself to be a “goth princess” with a love for the metal band Slipknot.

She explained that despite her early ambitions to become a singer, her talents were not overly encouraged at school. 

Instead, she claimed, when she tried to enroll in her secondary school choir at 11 years old she was given an ultimatum. 

Adele said: “The teacher was a bit rubbish. They gave me a really hard time, trying to bribe me, saying that if I wanted to sing, I had to play clarinet to sing in the choir. So I left.”

Two years later, she would pick-up her first R&B albums – greatest hits by Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James – in an attempt to impress her friends.

But it would be a few years later before she listened to them, which later influenced her love for soul music. 

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Many of the multi-award winning artist’s songs focus on the difficulties of young love and heartache.

Her debut album ‘19’ was a huge success – leading to her being nominated for the Mercury Prize and receiving a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. 

Despite the success, she admitted that her songs may not be to everyone’s taste, adding: “It’s like a child’s view on love, which I think is really interesting. 

“Some people might find my music boring as it’s quite slow and ballady, but I’m not a trendsetter – I’m a singer.”

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