Photo credits: Rob Verhorst/Redferns
Helen Folasade Adu (known as Sade Adu) is an English singer, songwriter, and actress who is most known as the lead singer of Sade, her eponymous band.
Adu has been credited as one of the most successful English female artists in history. She is often recognized as a major influence on contemporary music. Her services to music were recognized in the UK with an award of the OBE in 2002, and a CBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours.
Over the course of her illustrious music career, Adu has become very popular in the US as well.
Adu was born on January 16, 1959, in Ibadan, Nigeria. She was brought up partly in Essex, England since the age of four. She gained modest recognition as a fashion designer and part-time model. This was prior to joining a band called Pride in the early 1980s.
After gaining attention as a performer, she formed the band Sade and secured a recording contract with Epic Records in 1983. A year later, the band released the album Diamond Life, which became one of the best-selling albums of the era.
It was also the best-selling debut by an English female vocalist in British history. In July 1985, Sade was among the performers at the Live Aid charity concert at Wembley Stadium. The following year, Adu appeared in the film Absolute Beginners.
According to the RIAA, Sade has sold over 75 million records in the UK, US, and all over the world since 1983.
*BlackThen.com writer and historian Victor Trammell edited and contributed to this report.