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Why someone like Adele is so popular

With just hours to go until superstar Adele wows the crowds in Belfast, Kerry McKittrick finds out from well-known fans why they love her

Published 29/02/2016

Adele
Adele

Since the release of her first album, 19, in 2008 Adele has taken the world of pop - indeed the world - by storm. She won numerous BRIT awards - including a record-equalling four last Wednesday night - Grammys and even an Oscar for the theme song of Bond film, Skyfall.

Her particularly brand of husky, soulful songs about broken hearts and failed relationships have won over millions of fans.

After a three-year break to focus on motherhood, Adele's recent comeback has been stratospheric. Her new album, 25, went straight to number one in 25 countries breaking many first-week sales records, a remarkable feat in a rapidly contracting marketplace.

The album sold 900,000 copies on iTunes on its first day and in the US was selling 1,000 copies a minute. Since then Adele has continued to go from strength to strength with her single Hello becoming a smash hit worldwide.

In November last year Adele announced she would be taking to the road again and would be kicking off her tour in Belfast.

The tickets for the concert taking place in the SSE Arena tonight sold out in just 20 minutes with touts offering them for sale for more than £3,000.

Ahead of Adele's eagerly-awaited appearance tonight a range of local fans tell us their favourite Adele song.

Paula Bradley: One and only

The DUP MLA (46) lives in Belfast with her fiance Alan. She has two children; Jess (26) and Josh (24). She says:

I have a play list which I listen to when I’m cooking, cleaning or pottering around the house and that has three Adele songs on it; Someone Like You, Make You Feel My Love and One And Only.

But my favourite is One And Only. I like the words to it and I like having it on in the background.

Mind you, my fiance has played Hello over and over again until I can’t listen to it any more.

For every mood you could be in there is something of Adele’s for you to listen to.

I also think she’s for everyone — I like Adele and my children like her, too.

She is the complete package — I think her voice is fabulous but her music is amazing too. She flies in the face of what a music star is supposed to be and lives her life the way she wants to. She does things like taking three years off music and it shows the strength of the talent that she can do that and then come straight back with a number one album.”

Niamh Perry: Don’t You Remember

The 25-year-old is a West End star and has just finished touring with the international production of Mamma Mia! She is from Bangor and says:

As I’m a huge fan of hers, I would have done anything to see Adele play Belfast, but, unfortunately, I’m not going to be around for the concert.

I love the albums 19, 21 and 25, but I think 25 has a new vibe to it and she’s started moving in a new direction so I love it even more.

It’s hard to choose a favourite Adele song, but if I’d to pick one from the new album, then it’s Million Years Ago.

It has a wonderfully simple arrangement and the lyrics are beautiful.

Overall my favourite Adele song is Don’t You Remember — the lyrics are honest and relatable and I’ve cried a lot listening to that song.

I think Adele appeals to so many people because she always comes across as “one of us”.

I think her success is due to the brilliant combination of amazing songs, her very individual singing voice and her down to earth, humble and private outlook on her life.”

Naomi Long: Set Fire To The Rain

The deputy leader of the Alliance Party (44) lives in Belfast with her husband Michael. She says:

We tried and tried to get tickets for the Adele concert but they were sold out in minutes so we didn’t stand a chance. I like Adele’s music and have her albums on my iPod. It’s great driving music, you can sing along to it as long as no-one catches you out at the traffic lights.

There’s a Sixties vibe to some of her stuff which I quite like and there’s a strong rhythm to her music that works well, too.

Above everything though is her voice. She’s a really good singer and doesn’t need tricks or gimmicks to make her sound better.

My favourite of all her songs is Set Fire To The Rain. I really like the song and the change in tempo halfway through.

When I’m in the car it’s one of the first ones I’ll play to listen to while I’m driving.

It’s a great song to sing along to.

Her new album 25 has been hugely popular and I think part of that is because she hasn’t released anything in such a long time. Her first two albums were so good that people built up their expectations and now she’s managed to live up to them.

It must be incredible to live in Adele’s shoes because she’s become such a global success.

You can go anywhere in the world, any cafe or restaurant and Adele will be playing.

She comes across as a really normal, grounded person in comparison to a lot of people in the music business.

I think people relate to the fact that she hasn’t been changed by her success.

She just gets on and does the music”

Carolyn Stewart: Someone Like You

The Bangor woman is a presenter on U105 Radio each weekday lunchtime. She says:

personally, I like Adele but I do feel sometimes she could lighten up — her music can be quite downbeat. I want her to stop talking about her past — at some point she needs to get over it.

Her songs are great on the radio but I just can’t listen to her all the time. Someone Like You stands out as my favourite of all of her songs.

At least she’s real and I think that’s part of the reason for her popularity.

She hasn’t lost her sense of self and I love that she knows who she is.

She just won four BRIT awards and she cried when she did it — no-one wants to do that in front of so many people, so you can see that she was overwhelmed at the reception she received.

Adele is an ordinary person who has been successful off the fact that she sings so well.

When she sings she really lets go and sings from the soul.

You could see how much she put into her performance at the BRITS and how much she enjoyed doing that.

Her next album should be in about four years — called 28 or 29 — and I hope she’ll have gotten over the ex lover and cheered up a bit.”

Ralph McLean: Rolling In The Deep

The 46-year-old presents a variety of programmes on Radio Ulster and BBC NI. He lives in Ballymoney with his wife Kerry and their children Tara (9), Dan (7) and newborn Eve. He says:

My favourite Adele song is Rolling In The Deep. I think that song showed her in a different light and showed off what a wonderful soulful voice she has. It’s still a brilliant single.

I’ve always admired Adele. In the world of popular music most things are fake and feel fake and give the impression they’ve been manufactured by record companies. Adele is real and that’s the key thing, and I think it’s what has connected her with the public.

What connects with me is her voice.

She is an ordinary person with a great talent and that’s a rare thing in the music industry these days.

I love her voice — it has nothing to do with showbiz trappings. You can tell as soon as she opens her mouth that there’s nothing but talent there.

We cry out for real emotions in music. Adele has a deep personal story behind her songs and she lays that all bare.

I don’t think people have been able to make a connection with anyone like that since Amy Winehouse.

You’re listening to someone’s real heartfelt troubles on her terms. Even some of the best singers and bands in the world can appear detached

None of this would matter at all if she didn’t have that voice. I think people will react to a voice and Adele’s is amazingly soulful.”

Belfast Telegraph

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