British Nigerian-born Sade turned 60 just this week—but when you hear her music, it’s as though time has stopped. Her beauty, that delicate spray of freckles across her face, that long dark shock of a braid dangling down her back … these visions of her are indelibly etched across my mind.
Sade (whose birth name is Helen Folasade Adu) is talent personified. This singer, songwriter, and actress’ first album, Diamond Life, went platinum four times, heralding so many beloved singles, from her first “Love is King” in 1984 to “Smooth Operator” and “Hang On To Your Love,” segueing to “Sweetest Taboo” from her second album, Promise.
Sade: The Definition of Cool
This is no ordinary love. I don’t know if it was the bold, bright lipstick, the slicked-back dark hair, exotic sultry eyes, and hoop earrings or the cool jazz sounds of a sexy saxophone accompanying the mysterious love-fueled lyrics written and sung by Sade oozing out of my cassette tape deck during countless convertible-down road trips out west that first hooked me, way, way back. All I know is that it was the sweetest taboo, falling for a smooth operator who melded fashion, style, and that velvety voice. Her songs quickly became the soundtrack to my fashionable life in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
When you hear her music, it’s as though time has stopped.
It’s not such a far stretch for me to learn that fashion, not music, was first career choice to this stylish singer/songwriter, who listened to American soul legends Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers before studying at St. Martins School of Art in London (alumni include Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Stella McCartney). She turned to singing only to aid two friends with a band. The rest, as they say, is history.
Happy Birthday—in the most sultry smooth manner I know—to the Queen of Old School Pop and Soul.