Adele was interviewed on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show this morning on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.
Morning Adele. How are you feeling?
I’m feeling good, I’m feeling very ready and I had hoped it would have come out last year but here we are now and hopefully it’s perfect timing.
You’ve played a blinder of a build-up.
Oh, I’m so glad you think so. I really wanted to go for an old-school roll-out which ius hilarious because most of it’s relied on social media which isn’t so old schooo. But just that anticipation, I think it’s really important. I feel like a lot of newer, younger artists are just sort of told and taught to undervalue their own art, which does not sit right with me, so I’m also maybe trying to inspire some of them to not give it all away at once.
It’s been a lot of fun because, obviously, I’ve had a lot of these ideas for two years.
Obviously the album is called 30… You’ve been sharing over the last week in the incredible interview with Vogue, about what a journey putting this album together has been for you; and also what you’ve been through.
Absolutely. I definitely feel like I lost sight of and lost the appreciation of what a gift it is to be into music and be able to make it. I think I got a bit frightened of it for a while and it really really took care of me, big time. Not just making this record, my own record, but diving back into old records of other people’s that I loved; discovering new artists on Soundcloud or whatever. It brought so much joy to my life being able to listen to music and wail at the top of my lungs along to me own bloody songs as I was writing them.
I don’t know what my outlet would have been had I not had [music] and it made me feel like some people don’t have any bloody outlet, you know, which is why they never get to leap and jump and put themselves first.
But yeah, it was bloody hard work to make. I was singing things I didn’t even realise I was feeling or thinking. But I’m really, really proud of it and I feel like I can’t unlock a door for my own mental health and take the key with me. I’ve got to leave it in the door for everyone else and I’m in a strong place now where I feel like I can put that vulnerability out.
And also, I think your lyrics help other people – and just you sharing a bit about the experience you’ve been through will help so many other people who’ve been through similar stuff. And you sound like you’re in such a good place, which is joyous to hear.
I hope so.
You’ve worked with amazing people on the new album – Greg Kurstin, Max Martin, Shellback, Inflo
Who produced Little Simz and worked with Sault. What do these different producers bring to the energy of these songs?
Well first of all it’s about the connection that I have with them. I worked with way more people on 25 – whereas this was an incredibly sacred space for me because I had to communicate with producers and writers and really tell them everything in detail that’s going on in my life so that they can put it into the production side of it. So I had to have a very close circle of people that I trusted and I chose my friends.
So like I obviously have a very established relationship with Greg, because we worked together so much on my last album. I worked with Max and Johan / Shellback on the last album as well. But Max is like one of the best therapists in the world, even outside of music. As is Greg. Greg’s son and my son are very, very close so he knew what was going on.
And then Flo. I don’t even know how I got through life all these years without knowing Flo. We met in New York in April of 2019 and when we both realised that we were from North London and exactly the same age it was like “peow”. And I’d known a lot of stuff that he’d done, but not realising it was him. And we got on so well. For example, meeting Flo, the reason that we gelled together so well with this record is, first of all, he asked me questions that no-one would ever bloody dare… But it would start with five, six hour therapy sessions and he would get a feeling out of me that I had no idea was even in me; and then I’d leave at the end of the day with a song about that feeling. He would push me and say, “I don’t believe you,” or, “you can do better than that”. And just constantly sending me amazing music I’d never heard of, that wasn’t even out yet, or out-takes of things. And Cleo, his partner, together they’re the most heavenly supportive encouraging people that I’ve ever met and I’ve always been excited for him, even – we’ve been working together a couple of years – all the stuff that’s been coming out. I’m so excited to see where he goes from this year. The sweetest, loveliest… I could fall back and he’d catch me.
It was more just about. Obviously they all have different musical elements to them that they throw in for me, but it was more just the connection that we all had on a human level, to be honest.
It was hard work emotionally, but really lovely fun creatively, with all of them.
I could feel that buzz – and it makes me so excited to hear the whole album. Jordan, my producer, pointed out this morning that the release date of the album 19/11 – add them together, it makes 30. Was that a plan?
Oi oi! It wasn’t. My fans put all that together earlier. I had no idea. No idea. It was an accident but it’s great.
How do you decide which single goes first?
There were three options for the first single. Very different, all of them. There’s obviously Easy On Me, then there’s another one… I got very into Goldfrapp and I was like, “I can do this music too!”. I can do one song, I definitely couldn’t pull off what Alison [does], she’s the absolute Queen. And there’s another one that’s very 70s, piano singer-songwritery. Just very Carpenters, very Elton. And in the end, we went with Easy On Me because it’s got this soaring chorus which, you know, everyone’s going to hear now. It just felt like a “me” song. And after being away for so long, it felt like that was probably the biggest part of my songs that people were waiting for.
We all went back on forth on it for a little while. Me and my friends, me and my manager, me and my label. But last time, on 25, it was obvious, it was Hello. Like, hi, that should be the first single. But yeah, it took a while and it was actually the first song I wrote for the album so it’s really beautiful that it’s becoming the first single.
It’s such an emotional song to listen to. A lot of people are asking, Adele, will there be a tour?
I don’t have any solid plans because of Covid. It’s so hard to plan a global tour or a global thing, in person and stuff like that. We have a few options in the pipeline and we’re just trying to work out what is most do-able. Obviously I had to cancel my final 2 Wembley shows, which was fucking horrible – obviously for me, but probably more for other people with all the plans they had made. I was devastated and I don’t want to be cancelling anything again. Not that that would be my choice, obviously, if it was Covid-related. But I’m just trying to work out what is most do-able for all of us to be happy and satisfied. But I’ll be doing something or other. I think I’ll be busking in the tube.
Was there any truth in you having a conversation with Celine Dion?
No? What’s that?
That you’d taken advice from Celine Dion?
Oh no, that’s out of someone’s arse. I saw Celine when I went to go and see her for Alan and Paul’s wedding, to go and watch Celine afterwards – which was the night of my life. But no, I certainly wasn’t, “Hey, can I talk to you for a minute. I’m thinking about doing a Vegas residency.” No that’s not true - but I adore her, I love her. She can give me advice any time.