20 Facts About Sade Adu


Helen Folasade Adu, known professionally as Sade Adu or simply Sade, is a Nigerian-born British singer, known as the lead singer of her eponymous band.


Sade Adu studied at Saint Martin's School of Art in London and gained modest recognition as a fashion designer and part-time model, prior to joining the band Pride in the early 1980s.


In July 1985, Sade Adu was among the performers at the Live Aid charity concert at Wembley Stadium, and the following year she appeared in the film Absolute Beginners.


Helen Folasade Adu was born on 16 January 1959 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, but is a native of Ekiti State.


Sade Adu's parents are Adebisi Adu, a Nigerian lecturer in economics of Yoruba background, and Anne Hayes, an English district nurse; they met in London, married in 1955, and moved to Nigeria.


When Sade Adu was 11 years old, she moved to Holland-on-Sea, Essex, to live with her mother.


In May 1983, Sade Adu performed their first US show at the Danceteria nightclub in New York City.


On 18 October 1983, Sade Adu signed with Epic Records, while the rest of the band signed in 1984.


Sade Adu was so popular that some radio stations reinstated the '70s practice of playing album tracks, adding "Is It a Crime" and "Tar Baby" to their playlists.


In 1986, Sade Adu made her acting debut in Absolute Beginners, a film adapted from the Colin MacInnes book of the same name about life in late-1950s London.


Sade Adu played the role of Athene Duncannon and lent her vocals to the film's accompanying soundtrack.


Sade Adu recorded a remix of her hit single "By Your Side" for the album and was billed as a co-producer.


Sade Adu's voice was described by the BBC as "husky and restrained" and compared to singer Billie Holiday.


Sade Adu's work has influenced and been recognised by many singers and hip hop artists.


Sade Adu squatted in Tottenham in the 1980s, with her boyfriend Robert Elms.


Sade Adu moved briefly to the Caribbean to live with Jamaican music producer Bob Morgan in the late 1990s and gave birth on 21 July 1996 to her first child, who later sang on Sade Adu's song "Babyfather" in 2010.


In 2005, Sade Adu moved to the Gloucestershire countryside, where she bought a run-down cottage to renovate.


Sade Adu was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2002 for services to music, and stated her award was "a great gesture to me and all black women in England".


Sade Adu was promoted to Commander of the same Order in the 2017 Birthday Honours, for services to music.


In 2023, Sade Adu was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.