Sade Adu is a Nigerian born English singer, songwriter, composer and record producer whose career has been a phenomenal success. She has sold 50million records worldwide with almost half in the US with a career spanning over four decades. As she experienced this much success, Sade kept herself out of the limelight, avoiding the usual press jaunt associated with releasing a new album.

Listen to Sweetest Taboo

This alone amazed people, how Sade could pull this through and yet still made her mark as an artiste. Robin Millar who produced the first two albums had revealed that when he met the group Sade belongs to in 1983 for the first time; they had not been to a proper studio. As at then, Sade had just finished studying Fashion Design and was working to improve her creative writing skills.

Millar was stunned when he listened to Sade’s voice for the first time. He felt there was this uniqueness in her voice that made people feel good. He further added that Sade’s personality placed a major role as she amazingly influenced people even in the studio where she recorded songs.

Sade Adu Sade Adu

You can now see why we paid a close attention to this woman who distinguished herself in the music industry. Please follow me as I share insights into the Sade Adu remarkable root to global success.

1. Sade’s Charisma Was Always Tuned On

The power of Charisma is one virtue every artiste should always turn on. Your personality and your charisma will draw people and opportunities to you. When Millar signed Sade, he had a limitation of not having computers in his studio. His studio could only record with a real piano and a Fender Rhodes piano, as he painstakingly synchs them up. This limitation was the same to most of the record label at that time.

The band manager took the demos to record companies and they all turned them down. Some of them complained that the “tracks were too long and too jazzy” while other gave diverse excuses. Meanwhile, Sade used her charisma to play the song to her boyfriend who in turns played the tracks to friends who worked at style-bible the Face.

Guess what they liked they liked both Sade and the music and put her on the cover with the headline: “Sade, the Face of 1984.”  This is where her journey into stardom started. As an artiste, you can also use your charisma to seize the opportunities around you. You need to know you are just a step away from the beginning of your stardom.

2. She Understood the Power of Perception

Immediately after the Face gave them this headline, the band lashed on this to quickly organise a gig at the club Heaven inviting journalist who witnessed 1,000 people being turned away at the door to the entrance of the event because the event hall couldn’t contain them. This was the move the band made to stimulate the demand for record labels. The next day, all the record companies tried to sign them. Most of the labels wanted to send her to the US to work with big producers such as Quincy Jones. The power of perception strategy was a checkmate that started her journey.

As an artiste, you need to play on the power of perception to move from one phase of your career to another.

3. Sade Had Her Clear Vision

Having a clear vision defines what you need against what you want. Most people go with what they want rather than what they need. Anything you go for what you want than what you need, it affects the quality of your decisions. Sade had a clear vision of what she wanted to do. When all the record labels were at her door waiting to sign her – instead of the biggest offer, she took the deal that allowed her to finish what she started.

Sade recorded 15 tracks in six weeks. She also insisted on cutting the album down to the nine tracks in which she most she believed.

Meanwhile, the label wanted to send a few tracks to the US for some “cool” mixes but Sade refused because she felt the album was how she wanted it. It was quite a battle, but she won. (Hearing remixes by Jay-Z and the Neptunes on her newly released greatest hits album, part of me wishes she’d continued to resist tampering with her music.)

4. She Worked with PR and Marketing Communication Departments

Sade was clear at realizing the big picture right from the start. While recording her albums, she worked with the label’s PR and marketing departments fusing her background in fashion and creative writing to create the right image that projected her to the public. Sade never allowed a copy to go out without sending the right message or snapshot of pictures without it being fitted. This made Sade hold the reins for every album – this was deliberate branding.

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