Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Why someone like Adele is an example of real success

Critics' favourite: Adele

Dynamic, award-winning and record-breaking' is how American Vogue described its cover girl's 'five-octave contralto' range. And this was before Adele Adkins won an Oscar for the James Bond Skyfall theme.

In just five years the girl who is anything but the norm in the fashion and entertainment industries has become a role model to a perfection-saddled generation.

Then she made the Sunday Times Rich List, which revealed Adele as the top music millionaire under 30 – with £30m.

That is not entirely shocking, given the contents of her trophy cabinet, where littered around the much-coveted golden statuette are four Brits, nine Grammys and a Golden Globe.

In half a decade, Adele's career has rocketed in spite of the demands of a veneer-obsessed music industry, having only released her debut album, 19, in 2008.

For a girl in her mid-20s to amass this much critical acclaim and wealth, while resisting the pressure to conform to the modern ideal of body beautiful and live a life like an open book, is truly astounding. Adele is a gorgeous-looking, full-figured woman. But, sadly, her weight has been the subject of controversy in the past year or so.

In addition to Joan Rivers's recent pops at the singer's silhouette, Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld, in 2012, commented that Adele was beautiful, but fat.

A worldwide gasp quickly developed into an all-out attack on the designer in her defence. In recovery from throat surgery, Adele remained silent – and not under doctor's orders.

In not engaging in size discussions, the young mother-of-one allows the debate to play itself out. Instead, Adele talks about how she self-trained with Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald CDs, rather than making excuses for her silhouette.

But the conversation surrounding Adele's profile isn't restricted to her dress size. Though she is affable and down-to-earth in interviews, giving details such as resenting being at the 2011 MTV awards to promote her second album, 21, as she was missing a friend's hen night, Adele strives to live her life in private.

A justified 'up yours' on stage at the 2012 Brit awards confirmed that this is one bolshie young lady.

However, with a personality and laugh louder than life, Adele fields queries about her upbringing and family with caution. In her American Vogue interview, she said she found it odd people wanted to know how she felt, but she understood the investment her fans had made in her work, which is mostly autobiographical.

Adele stands tall in her resolve to keep her personal and public life as separate as possible. Her infant son's name is still circulating as rumour, having never been officially confirmed.

A faith in her craft is a stark contrast to the Jolie-Pitts, Kardashians and Beckhams, who work what should be reserved as family moments into branding exercises with magazine deals.

So, what message does Adele Adkins send out to her fans and people growing up in a world obsessed with social media profiles, celebrities and being thin and beautiful at any cost?

Here we have an artist who has let her work do most of the talking. While Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow diversify their careers in the name of the mighty dollar, behold a woman who got to the top without gyrating on stage, or patronising the public with her 'effortlessly' fabulous lifestyle.

The point is not that, if you follow Adele's lead, you'll get rich. It's not about how you look and how you seem on your Facebook timeline.

It is that it is possible to live an authentic life – and be successful.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz