Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 12:30 am
Credit Mari Sarii/Courtesy of XL Records
At 22 years old, Adele was inspired by the works of Etta James, Jeff Buckley and Jill Scott when she decided to enroll in the BRIT school. By the time of graduation she had perfected her sound and emerged as a soulful songbird and MySpace sensation in 2007 and 2008.
There's no one way to define a great voice: Genius might lie in the phrasing, the range, the power, the control, the words themselves, or some sort of indescribable something else. But one way to diagnose genius for sure is to have a singer walk into a crowded room with little to no accompaniment, open his or her mouth, and command breathless attention in a matter of seconds.
British singer Adele arrived on the world stage three years ago with her debut album, 19. Now, two Grammy Awards and millions of records sold later, she's out with her second release, 21. Adele herself is now 22, but her powerhouse voice and '60s glam look — hair sleek and teased up high, fake eyelashes out to there — belie her young age.