When singer Sade and her band of the same name were establishing themselves, their record company, Epic, made a point of printing “Pronounced Shar-day” on the record labels of their releases. Soon enough, the music had no problem with the correct pronunciation. With the breakthrough Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten single “Smooth Operator” propelling the debut Sade album, Diamond Life, to the same spot on the Billboard 200 chart in 1985, the band fast came to epitomize soulful, adult-oriented, sophisti-pop. Though only five more studio albums would follow in the next 25 years, the band’s following abated only slightly, and each release was treated like a long-awaited public return of a mysterious yet beloved diva.
Born Helen Folasade Adu in Ibadan, Nigeria, about 50 miles from Lagos,Sade was the daughter of an African father and an English mother. After her mother returned to England, Adu grew up on the North End of London. Developing a good singing voice in her teens, Adu worked part-time jobs in and outside of the music business. She listened to Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, and Billie Holiday, and studied fashion design at St. Martin’s School of Art in London while also doing some modeling on the side. Continue Reading..