You are on page 1of 15

Shannon Griswold Music 1010 Professor Craig Ferrin Semester Project February 20, 2014

Adele Laurie Blue Adkins


BIOGRAPHY She was just a young English girl, sitting in her elementary school class with a bedazzled eye patch on. Although she was simply displaying her love for one of her musical idols, her peers scoffed at her dreams and ridiculed her impersonation of the famous Gabrielle (Grant-West). She had a passion that no one understood. Her family had no musical tenacity, yet she spent hours upon hours listening to songs that enlightened her soul. She became obsessed with observing the timbre, melody, and tones that artistically came together to create music. Numerous years later, she would become one of the most well-known music artists in the United Kingdom, the United States, and many other countries. Her full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, born on May 5, 1998 in Tottenham, North London. Her young, 18-year-old mother raised Adele without the support of her biological father, who stayed absent throughout Adeles childhood and adolescence. Adele remained an only child, as her mother worked several jobs while Adele attended school. However, the young girl thrived through a massive support of extended relatives that lived nearby. When Adele turned nine, she and her mother moved to Brighton, Great Britain, and then they returned to London two years later (Patterson). All the while, Adele nourished her love for music. Even as early as her preschool years, Adele and her relatives recall her progressive interest in music. She remembers being intrigued by the different tones singers use to express human emotion. In addition to Gabrielle, Adele was inspired by the Spice Girls, Pink, and Destinys Child when she was a young girl. As an adolescent, Adele researched and studied music that was produced in the 40s and

50s, including jazz music, which eventually influenced her own professional style. Adele discontinued attending her state school and enrolled at the BRIT School, located in Croyden, to pursue her passion for the performing arts. She graduated in May 2006, when she finally received some attention from record labels (Husband). Shortly after her graduation from BRIT, one of Adeles friends posted a video of Adele singing on Myspace, which became surprisingly popular. The music label XL Recordings asked her to have a meeting with them, and she signed a contract with XL in September 2006 (Collis). About a year later, in October 2007, Adele released her very first single, Hometown Glory. In 2008, she received the Brit Awards Critic Choice prize and Hometown Glory was recognized as the number-one breakthrough act of the year in the 2008 BBC poll. In addition, Adele released her debut album, named 19, in February 2008. The single to her new 19 album, Chasing Pavements, obtained a roaring popularity. Adeles album remained in the number one spot on UK charts for months. Due to her debut albums success, she received an Urban Music award for Best Jazz Act. Adele was also nominated for both the Mercury Prize and the Q Awards for Best Breakthrough Act in 2008 (The Biography Channel). This was only the start of Adeles success as an artist, as she soon became internationally recognized as a truly talented singer, songwriter, and composer. Adele signed with Columbia Records in an attempt to spread her music into the United States, and her album 19 was released in the U.S. in June 2008. She anticipated on touring the U.S. during 2008 and 2009 for her debut album, but she cancelled many of her concerts, due to a former boyfriend and supposed family issues. Alongside her boyfriend, Adele had taken on a lifestyle of alcoholism, which prompted her to cancel many tour dates. Today, Adele states that, We refer to that period as my E.L.C., my Early Life Crisis. Now *that+ I'm sober, I'm like, 'I can't believe I did that' (Contactmusic). Adeles chance of success in the United States seemed slim, but once she performed on the Saturday Night Live show with Sarah Palin, spirits were lifted. 17 million people watched Adele perform her songs

Chasing Pavements and Cold Shoulder on the popular Saturday show, and people seemed to immediately enjoy it. Her album 19 instantly hit number 11 on the Billboard Charts, which launched her American popularity. (The Biography Channel). In November 2009, Adele relocated to Notting Hill (all the while she had been living with her mother) and became completely sober. By the beginning of 2009, 2.2 million copies of 19 had been sold, which enabled Adele to win Grammys for Best Female Vocal Performance and Best New Artist in 2009. Adele continued to pursue her passion and created her second album, named 21 (appropriately named because of her age at the timethe same was true for her debut album). This time, with a slight influence of Western music, 21 gained even more attention when it was released in the U.S. in February 2011. Adeles second album featured two more popular singles, Rolling in the Deep and Someone Like You, which broke record sales. 21 has become the fifth best-selling album in the United Kingdom in all of history, and it hit number one on charts in more than 26 countries. This massive popularity impelled Adele to begin a worldwide tour in October 2011. However, the famous artist had developed vocal cord hemorrhage and underwent surgery, which unfortunately affected her ability to perform on some tour dates. Nevertheless, she has received six Grammy awards, five Brits, and three American Music Awards. In 2012, Adele tied the all-time record of a female receiving the most Grammy awards in one night (Telegraph). Among many others, Adele has continued to receive recognizable awards and has been a source of inspiration to many people across the world. Not only has Adeles soulful music inspired many people, but her self-image and confidence has also enlightened many individuals. Being a size 14/16 (and during some moments, size 18), her attention as a celebrity has not always been positive. She has been this size ever since she was in high schoolnot the average celebrity physique. However, she seems to be comfortable in her own skin and

has not allowed the media and fame influence her thus far. She jokes casually, If you ever see me rail thin, then you'll know there's something really wrong with me (Husband). Currently, Adele continues to be an international music sensation. She recently released a single called Skyfall for the 2013 James Bond movie, which she received a Golden Globe for that same year. However, most recently, Adele has been taking her music career at ease, as she gave birth to her first son in October 2012. She was 24 years old at the time and has been thrilled to be a mother ever since (Boucher). Although she has not produced much recent music, her jazzy records still leave imprints on millions of people. The uniqueness of Adeles musical style, personality, and voice has become historical; something that she hopes will reign on for centuries to come.

MUSIC COMPOSITIONS

Hometown Glory
Adeles single Hometown Glory kicked off her debut album, 19, with a bang. Simply written, with only four chords, Adele admits that Hometown Glory is the first song she wrote from the beginning to end on her own. It has been said that the theme of the track is a tribute to her hometown, which she has openly discussed. She recalls writing the song after a discourse of arguments with her mother about which university to attend. Adele and her mother disagreed about whether Adele should go to college in London (her hometown), or in Liverpool (a distance away). Therefore, Adele wrote Hometown Glory as a reflection of what London meant to her. She realized that even when she had a bad day, London still offered her comfort because she had experienced many memories there, whereas Liverpool did not mean much to her at all (Blues & Soul Magazine). Hometown Glory was released on October 22, 2007 under Pacemaker Recordings in the UK. As Adeles very first single, the track seemed to fail because it was unable to appear on UK charts. Once her debut album, 19, was released, the popularity of Hometown Glory skyrocketed and achieved high standings on the UK Singles Chart. The song was re-released after her second single, Cold Shoulder, came out, in July 2008. Adele performed Hometown Glory on both of her tours, An Evening with Adele and Adele Live. She has also performed the song as a duet with Alicia Keys and Hometown Glory has appeared on a variety of television shows, such as Teens, One Tree Hill, Holly Oaks, So You Think You Can Dance, The X Factor, Greys Anatomy, and many more (Adele Wikia).

Listening GuideHometown Glory 0:00Introduction begins. The piano begins slowly in B minor, mostly in triads. You hear a mezzo-piano dynamic. Texture is very thin and monophonic, as there is only the piano to occupy the silence. Timbre is very mellow, making the audience strain to understand the melody (established by 0:09). Melody is disjunct, as the intervals are large. Rhythm is slow, with a tempo of 60 beats per minute and in a 4/4 time signature. 0:24Piano continues playing the melody, but different notes are creatively inserted to add a variety to the melody; texture slightly increases. 0:46Piano stops playing completely. The dissonant harmony comes to a halt; Suspense builds in the silence. 0:51Resolution of the dissonant harmony. Piano suddenly begins to play again, creating a piercing timbre. Rhythm seems to get quicker, but it remains grave (slow and solemn). Accents on the first note of each beat create a conjunct melody. 1:06Verse 1 begins. Harmony occurs between the vocal and piano, creating a homophonic texture. Timbre is mellow again, like at the beginning of the song. The minor scale gives off a dark feeling. 1:14The first vocal harmonic phrase is completed for the first time in the song. At the end of the first verse, a diminuendo dynamic occurs, creating suspense yet again. 1:39Chorus begins. A sudden crescendo occurs as Adele begins the chorus with the words, round my hometown. Violins in the background begin to play in harmony with the piano and Adeles voice. The melodic phrase created for the prompting words round

my hometown is repeated twice. There is a homophonic texture and conjunct melody at this point. 1:56Although still part of the chorus, the harmonic phrase seems to change as Adele sings Are the wonders of this world. The harmony changes from consonance to dissonance. The violin and piano remain in consonant harmony together, while Adeles voice breaks it up when she says wonders. This creates a tone that makes the audience ponder what she is feeling. 2:11Verse 2 begins. The piano and violin continue to play the same chords, while Adeles voice softens and returns to the same melodic phrase from the first verse. The timbre is now mellow again. The texture appears to be fairly thin. Harmony returns to consonance. 2:28A slight crescendo occurs as the violins play an ascending contour when Adele sings the words, when two worlds collide. This creates an emphasis on the meaning of the song, adding some dramatization. 2:45Small bridge begins. The piano begins to play in a higher octave and the violins play an ascending contour again. The rhythm appears to increase, as the piano, violin, and voice fit in more notes in between beats. 2:58Chorus begins. Texture gets thicker. A crescendo occurs, leading into the bridge. Timbre is strident, as she repeats the chorus with more soul and in higher notes. 3:14Bridge. Massive crescendo. Discourse of vocals ranging from D3-A5. Violins play an arch contour, while the piano continues to play its normal melodic phrase. Texture is quite homophonic and thick, and timbre is heavy as the climax of the song occurs.

3:45Chorus begins again. Texture remains thick, because the violins are louder than they were during any of the other choruses. Emotions seem to be poured out and quickly exasperated. A diminuendo dynamic occurs as Adeles voice, piano, and violin decrease in intensity. 4:00You can hardly hear the violin anymore, and the timbre is finally mellow again. The texture is thin, and the melody seems disjunct with the final note of both Adeles voice and the piano. Coda--After the final note of the piano, the violins play a diminishing, long-lasting note that fades into silence. 4:31Song ends

Rolling In the Deep


Rolling In the Deep was released on November 29, 2010 as Adeles lead single to her second album, 21. It was written jointly by Adele and Paul Epworth, under the musical label XL Recordings. They recorded the track in London, but it travelled far very quickly. In as many as 11 different countries, Rolling In the Deep hit number one on music charts and broke a record by selling over 7 million copies (only in the United States!)the most a female artist had ever sold in the United States (Telegraph). However, the background and influence of the song was not so glamorous. Adele had just split up with a long-term boyfriend, one whom served as the reason behind Adele cancelling so many tour dates. Although there was a positive outcome afterwards, Adele recalls spilling out her angry emotions while writing Rolling in the Deep with Paul Epworth. She admits that the song was written as a kiss-off to her former boyfriend as well as anyone elso who did not have faith in her success in life (Sanderson). No matter what enticed her to write it, it was a huge hit in countries across the world. Specifically in the United States, Rolling in the Deep received Grammy awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Short Form Music Video in 2012. Adele performed her massively popular new single at a variety of places, such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, MTV Live, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Show with David Letterman, Dancing with the Stars, even the at the Royal Variety Performance. Listening GuideRolling in the Deep 0:00Introduction begins. An acoustic guitar sets the rhythm (playing in the key of C minor), with a tempo of 105 beats per minute and in 4/4 signature time. For only five seconds there is a monophonic texture.

0:05Verse 1 begins. Adele begins singing the first verse and the texture is thin. The audience anticipates a rise in intensity. 0:24Drums and bass are introduced. The drums play the exact tempo of the song, creating a homophonic texture. The mood seems grim because of the minor mode. 0:41Chorus begins. Percussion is added, as you can now hear cymbals and tambourines adding a thickness to the texture and variety to the harmony. A piano also begins to play, with a steady beat. The melodic phrases have a fast tempo but are long in overall length. 0:58A crescendo occurs, prompting Adeles to sing notes as high as D5, which adds to the range. All of the instruments increase in volume. A group of women chant difference sentences while Adele holds her high notes. You hear clapping to the beat, adding to the texture. The melody is conjunct, as the intervals are quite small. The timbre is piercing, with massive musical colors. The end of the chorus is defined by a descending contour and diminuendo dynamic (And you played it, to the beatan awesome lyrical and instrumental cohesion). 1:19Verse 2 begins. Some percussion instruments are eliminated, other instruments play more softly. The texture is thinner without so much variety. The timbre is now darker, with less commotion. 1:37Chorus beings. Background singers, more percussion, and harsher noises are introduced again. The texture thickens. The homophonic texture allows all elements of the song to sound harmonious.

1:56Another crescendo and ascending contour, indicating an emotional peak. Consonance harmony exists despite the minor mode. 2:16Half of the chorus is repeated. Texture, dynamics, melody, and rhythm remain the same until the bridge. All instruments ascend and suddenly reach the end of their chords simultaneously. 2:32Bridge. After an ascension, the clapping of hands is emphasized as the other instruments take on a role as the background. The drums offset the clapping hands and play beats in between the clapping. The texture is not thinner. Background singers enhance Adeles lyrical bridge. 2:50Ascending contour suddenly ends and the rhythm seems to freeze. All instruments except the piano and background singers are silent. Clapping begins, then the drums and guitar to follow. The drums lead the rest of the instruments into another ascending contour and crescendo dynamic. 3:08Chorus begins. Texture is homophonic, while the timbre is suddenly piercing again. All instruments play in harmony together. 3:26Half of the chorus repeats again, this time a male voice is featured and echoes Adeles held-out notes. The song comes to a climax as all of the sounds together create a loud, emotional outburst. 3:42Coda. The songs last sentence is repeated four times, and the instruments all cease together when Adele sings, beatthey literally all stop together on one beat, while Adeles voice quickly fades out. 3:48Song ends

Someone Like You


Following the success of Adeles single, Rolling in the Deep, Someone Like You soon became well-known throughout many countries. It was released on January 24, 2011 in the UK and then later in the United States on August 9, 2011. As the second single released for her album 21, Someone Like You offered some contrast to her new album. Adele wrote and composed the song with producer Dan Wilson, under XL Recordings. She performed this new hit-single on a variety of television shows as well as her Adele Live tour. In addition to many other nominations and awards, Someone Like You earned a 2012 Grammy award for Best Pop Solo Performance. Understandably so, the meaning of the song is very bittersweet, as she tries to come to terms with a heartbreaking relationship. The song was written about the same man that Adele had engaged in a serious relationship with during the times she cancelled many tour concerts. Although she had many angry emotions towards him, Someone Like You is actually written in a way that the audience can pity Adele in the midst of her heartbreak. She remembers being emotionally drained as she was writing this song with producer Dan Wilson. She wanted to come to terms with and become satisfied with the two years she had spent with her former boyfriend, despite the seemingly upsetting result. Nevertheless, Adeles bittersweet song has helped her develop as a professional and a person, all while connecting with many people around the world. (Montgomery).

Listening GuideSomeone Like You 0:00Introduction begins. The piano is the only thing to be heard, playing in A major. The piano sets a slow rhythm, a tempo of 67 beats per minute in 4/4 signature time. There is a monophonic texture. 0:14Verse 1 begins. Adele begins with an alluring voice that creates harmony with the piano. A homophonic texture is established and the timbre is very mellow. The melody sounds disjunct at this point. 0:42Verse 1 continues. The harmony is consonant, because it is relaxing. 1:13Chorus begins. A crescendo dynamic takes place, as Adeles voice becomes louder than it was during the verse. The pianos chords become more complex and the texture thickens and enhances the homophonic texture. In the middle of the chorus, Adele hits extremely high pitches but eventually descends and the rhythm slows. A diminuendo takes place to begin the second verse. 1:50Verse 2 begins. The piano plays a simpler chord, which thins the texture. The timbre is mellow again, and the music is softer. 2:18Both the piano and Adele prepare for the chorus. A crescendo is beginning to be established as the intensity rises. 2:38Chorus begins. Adeles intensity rises as she sings in an ascending contour. The homophonic texture creates a harmonious blend between instrument and vocal talent. Harmony remains consonant throughout. 3:05Bridge begins. After a crescendo that ended the chorus, Adeles voice and piano loudness softens. An echo of her voice briefly emphasizes the lyrics during the bridge.

3:24Both the piano and voice slow down dramatically after a descending contour. The texture is very thin as there becomes less and less sound to listen to. The piano only plays every other beat of the designated tempo in triads, which allows Adeles voice to be the center of attention. An emotional outpour begins, as it sounds as if she were to start sobbing. Right before the chorus starts up again, she sings an arch contour. 3:52Chorus begins. A dramatic crescendo is established; the piano and vocal together suddenly begin together in a discourse of a variety of notes. The texture thickens and timbre becomes light. The emotional climax takes place while there is consonant harmony. 3:27Coda. Adeles voice fades away while she says, instead (creating word painting --its a lingering emotion that she has that leaves her feeling bittersweet). The piano continues even when her voice is gone, and the piano ends in a descending contour with a solemn note. 4:45Song ends

Works Cited
"Adele Explains Booze & Love Meltdown" (8 June 2009). Contactmusic. 21 February 2014. "Adele New Single "Rolling in the Deep" New Album "21"" (1 November 2010). Adele.tv. 24 February 2014. Adele Wikia (2014). "Hometown Glory (song)". 23 Februrary 2014. Boucher, Phil (21 October 2012). "Adele Welcomes a Son". 22 Februrary 2014. Blues & Soul Magazine (2014). Adele: Up Close and Personal. 23 Februrary 2014. Collis, Clark (19 December 2008). "Spotlight on... Adele". Entertainment Weekly. 20 February 2014. "Grammy Awards 2012: Adele wins six awards tying with Beyonc for most trophies won in one night". Telegraph. 21 February 2014. Grant-West, Charlotte (4 July 2012). "Ten Things About...Adele". 20 Februrary 2014. Grein, Paul (18 April 2012). "Week Ending April 15, 2012. Songs: Gotye Beats Bieber" Yahoo! Music. 23 February 2014. Husband, Stuart (25 April 2008). Adele: young soul rebel". The Daily Telegraph (UK). 20 February 2014. Montgomery, James (18 February 2011). "Adele Says 21 Has People Thinking 'I'm Sort Of A ManicDepressive'". MTV Networks. 24 February 2014 Patterson, Sylvia (27 January 2008). Interview: Adele Atkins, singer. The Observer (UK). 20 February 2014. Sanderson, Caroline (30 March 2012). How Adele's heartbreak inspired Rolling in the Deep. 24 February 2014. The Biography Channel (2013). "Adele Biography". 21 February 2014.