Welcome back, Adele.
After what feels like an eternity away from the spotlight, the British singer has returned — and undoubtedly smashed the competition — with a new single and a highly anticipated album due in November. So, where has she been?
Speaking with i-D in her first interview in three years, the 27-year-old opens up about becoming a mother, working on 25, and who “Hello” is really about. (Spoiler alert: It’s not an ex-boyfriend.)
Without further adieu, here are 13 things to know about Adele, according to her.
1. She wanted to be a heart surgeon after her grandfather died when she was 10. She gave up the dream when she discovered “fun — and boys” and her “heart wasn’t in it anymore.”
“My grampy and my nana had always been my ideal relationship — ideal friendship, companionship, everything. Even though I’m sure there’s loads of shit I don’t know about, as their granddaughter it was bliss, just heaven. I was so, so sad.
2. She’s been buying a new notebook for her song ideas ever since 19.
I do it every album. I buy a new pad, sniff it – ’cause smell is important – and then I get a big, fat sharpie and write my age on the front page. 25 has five exclamation marks after it ’cause I was like, ‘How the fuck did that happen?!’ 21 to 25.
3. The new album is about nostalgia and looking back at her younger years.
“I think the album is about trying to clear out the past. Becoming a parent and moving past my mid-twenties, I simply don’t have the capacity to worry about as many things that I used to really enjoy worrying about.”
“But now I’m a mum I only have so much head space. I’ve got to clear a lot of stuff the fuck out, which is really therapeutic, ’cause I can really hold a grudge. Life is so much easier when you don’t hoard your past.”
4. She doesn’t want to make a record that sounds like 21 again.
“I was very conscious not to make 21 again. I definitely wasn’t going to write a heartbreak record ’cause I’m not heartbroken, but I probably won’t be able to better the one I did, so what’s the point? Bit cliché, innit?”
“Also, how I felt when I wrote 21, it ain’t worth feeling like that again. I was very sad and very lonely. Regardless of being a mum or a girlfriend, I didn’t want to feel like that again.”
5. Being a mom is hard.
“It was the most exhausting thing ever, being without my baby. It’s fucking hard. I thought it would be easy. ‘Everyone fucking does it, how hard can it be?’ Ohhhhh…”
“I had no idea. It is hard but it’s phenomenal. It’s the greatest thing I ever did. He makes me be a dickhead, and he makes me feel young and there’s nothing more grounding than a kid kicking off and refusing to do what you’re asking of them. It used to be that my own world revolved around me, but now it has to revolve around him.”
6. “Hello,” the first single off the new album, is — surprise, surprise — about heartbreak.
“The song is about hurting someone’s feelings but it’s also about trying to stay in touch with myself, which sometimes can be a little bit hard to do.”
“It’s about a yearning for the other side of me. When I’m away, I really, really miss my life at home. The way that I feel when I’m not in England, is… desperation. I can’t breathe anywhere else. I dunno. I’m so attached to my whole life here. I get worked up that I’m missing out on things. So ‘Hello‘ is about wanting to be at home and wanting to reach out to everyone I’ve ever hurt — including myself — and apologize for it.”
7. But it’s not about an ex-boyfriend or the guy behind “Someone Like You.”
“That’s over and done with, thank fuck. That’s been over and done with for fucking years. No, it’s not about anyone specifically. It’s about friends, ex-boyfriends, it’s about myself, it’s about my family. It’s also about my fans as well. I feel like everyone thinks I’m so far away and I’m not.”
8. There’s a song on her new record, titled “I Miss You,” that’s about sex.
“It’s about intimacy on every level. It’s about sex, it’s about arguing, one of the most intimate moments in my life. ‘Cause you just blurt it out. It’s a bit like, a drunk tongue is an honest one. That’s definitely my motto, in life. That’s why I don’t really like drinking no more. The panic you get when you wake up the next morning.”
9. She wouldn’t have gotten into music and songwriting if it weren’t for Amy Winehouse.
“If it wasn’t for Amy and Frank, one hundred per cent I wouldn’t have picked up a guitar, I wouldn’t have written “Daydreamer” or “Hometown” and I wrote “Someone Like You” on the guitar too. Contrary to reports, me and Amy didn’t really know each other, we weren’t friends or anything like that. I went to Brit School and she went for a little while. But a million per cent if I hadn’t heard Frank this wouldn’t have happened. I adored her.
10. She didn’t attend the Skyfall premiere because she gave birth a few days before.
“I gave birth a few nights before the Skyfall premiere, that’s why I didn’t do anything for it. He was about to drop out my fanny at, like, any moment.
11. She likes to keep her family life private because she’s afraid of what her fame may do to it.
“I’m just frightened of it, you know? Frightened of it destroying me and it ruining me, and me getting lost and turning into some of the people that I love with my whole musical heart. I get frightened. And I get frightened for the people that I love, feeling like they’ve lost me.”
12. She doesn’t care much for fame overall.
“It’s not me trying to be like fucking anti-famous c**t-y, I just want to have a real life so I can write records. No one wants to listen to a record from someone that’s lost touch with reality. So I live a low-key life for my fans.”
13. She plans to tour (so she an see a certain singer perform in Las Vegas).
“I’d like to tour properly. I’d like to see Britney [Spears] in Vegas. Dunno about more kids.”
“I’d like to be able to stand the test of time and the speed that the world is moving. I’d like to make records forever with the time I’ve been given for this one. If I can do that I’ll be really fucking happy.”