Adele’s success as a musician has many important lessons for others in her line of work. Here are some of them.
Be comfortable in your own skin
When you hear the name Adele, what comes to your mind? Her weight? Of course not! Adele’s weight has never been an issue for her. In fact, she has always maintained that she is happy with her weight and would only change if it affected her health or sex life. In a 2009 interview, Adele stated: “I like looking nice, but I always put comfort over fashion. I don’t find thin girls attractive; be happy and healthy. I’ve never had a problem with the way I look. I’d rather have lunch with my friends than go to a gym.” This stance of hers has gained her more respect and fans from around the world. Even when the likes of Karl Lagerfield and the late Joan Rivers criticised her, Adele always maintains that she is happy. This does not mean you should gorge yourself on everything edible while claiming to be healthy. If you do not like your weight, work on reducing it. If you are okay with your appearance, do not let words or people’s actions affect you.
Get the right team
Most Nigerian musicians are guilty of this. Just because you and Segun grew up in the hood doesn’t mean he should become your manager or publicist. Every right thinking musician should recognise the need to have the right people handling their career. Adele was discovered after a friend of hers posted a demo of her music on Myspace. Did she in return make that friend her manager? No! Instead with the help of her record label she realised that as a newcomer, only someone with experience could help her attain the heights she and her music aimed for. Coming closer to home, Wizkid has also had his own share of managerial problems. But like everyone in the know will attest, joining forces with the experienced and highly respected Sunday Are has done more good than harm for his career.
Keep your private life PRIVATE!
Being a celebrity automatically means that every facet of your life will be under scrutiny. We get that. But at the same time, not everyone needs to know what you and your wife or vice versa had for breakfast. Or where you guys will be spending your vacation, or the sex of your child before he/she is born. When Adele got engaged to her current boyfriend Simon Konecki, who is the father of her son, that was all we knew about them: the fact that they were a couple. The next we heard about them was when their son Angelo was born. Adele and Simon even sued a UK photo agency for publishing photos of their son without their permission. If you must reveal details from your private life, let it be from you or your publicist. Bottom line, be in control of information about your life. It’s a shame that some of our musicians even go as far as faking their own deaths to put themselves out there (I no mention name o).
Be in control
The way the music industry is structured sometimes does not allow the artiste to have full control over his or her song-making process. This is understandable. But at the same time, make conscious efforts not to be the only voice in your own career. Learn every aspect of the business, from song writing to producing and even distribution. While making 25, her soon to be released album, Adele was in charge of everything. She chose the producers she wanted to work with, the video directors, song writers, instrumentalists and even the studio she recorded in.
Talent, sometimes, is everything
Most musicians in this part of the world go into music because they are attracted to the fame and trappings they think music offers, without realising that before anyone can succeed in the music world, your talent should not be in question. Yes, some musicians are successful not because they are the best singers, but because they know how to take advantage of the opportunities that come their way. Therein lies their true talent. Talent is the fodder for a successful career even if your first two or three songs are hits. Nothing guarantees a long and fulfilling career more than talent. Musicians have come and gone, and while some say it is the harsh environment that led to the demise of their career, the truth remains that they found it hard to cope with the changing times; a trivial thing if they were talented. Adele’s talent has never been in doubt, even after her long break from music.
Timing is important
It has been four years since Adele last released an album. Four years! It seems unbelievable. In that time, she did not release any song or video (except the James Bond sound track) and she made very few press appearances. All this worked in her favour when her latest single Hello hit the airwaves. Everyone remembered with nostalgia the feelings her songs gave them, so when the news broke that she was set to release a new record, everyone, including her non-fans, all bought her music. While I’m not advising our acts to go on a long hiatus, it’ll do you good if you plan your career well.
Once you recognise a winning formula, stick with it
Ever since Adele’s first album came out with almost all emotional songs, all her other musical efforts have toed the same line, even in an age where techno/dance songs have become the norm. Moral of the story: once you find that winning style or genre, stick with it, versatility be damned. Although a move like this may backfire, it is up to you to read the handwriting on the wall and do the right thing.
Collaborations may not be your best option
The news recently broke that Beyonce – the Almighty Beyonce, had asked Adele to duet on a song with her but she refused. Jay Z also allegedly chased Sade Adu for years before she agreed to collaborate with him. Since no one knows why these two musicians refused to collaborate with Bey and Jay, it is safe to assume that they did not need the star power and added attention a collaboration with Beyonce or Jigga would offer them. They could blow their own trumpet and still get the world to dance. Yet examples abound of Nigerian musicians who have done more harm than good to their career because of ill-advised remixes or collabos with so called ‘stars.’