Today marks the date that Sade fans have been waiting on with the release of their new DVD, Bring Me Home Live 2011. The captivating concert that thrilled worldwide audiences last year has been packaged up for the enjoyment of those who were in attendance to relive the magical memories and those who were unable to attend to feel as if they, too, were there. The larger-than-life production, produced by Sophie Muller, was a delight in sight and sound, but it was the amazing Sade Adu who was the focal point throughout. SoulBounce had the opportunity to ask Ms. Adu a few questions about this tour, and she graciously answered them all and spoke about much more during this intimate conversation with a living legend.
SoulBounce: Everyone who I know who saw you on tour last year, myself included, proclaimed that it was one of the best concerts they've seen in years and maybe even their favourite Sade tour yet. Aside from your albums, how did your live shows become such an important component of the Sade experience? Was that by design or divinity?
Sade Adu: We wanted people to walk away from the show having had an amazing memorable experience even if they weren't a particular fan. Like a great movie that you might see that effects you and leaves a lasting impression.
There's nothing quite like being there, being on stage, right there in front of the crowd, knowing that there are expectations. Whatever you feel that day, whatever's going on in your life, you have to leave it behind you, and let nothing come between you and that moment. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the eye of the storm, and then riding on a wave. It's always exciting and emotional, and it's the closest we'll ever be to the people who put us there in the first place.
SB: Bring Me Home Live 2011 is your third live concert video. How important is it to you for your fans to have this live show component so easily accessible to them? If Sade goes on tour, is it a given that there will later be a DVD of that tour produced?
SA: We felt the show far excelled anything we had ever done before. So initially I was against the idea of filming it, I thought we couldn't do it justice. But because of the positive response Sophie persuaded me to make the film. She said it would be crazy not to document our best work.
So for all the people who didn't make it to the show, and for those who went and wanted to relive it, the film is like a teleport device.
SB: Though your current persona paints you as this recluse, averse to splashy videos, big stage shows, and other trappings often described by culture snobs as distractions from songwriting substance, your last tour was a formidable production, and you're responsible for some of the most iconic, stylish music videos of the last two decades ("No Ordinary Love" and "Cherish the Day" come to mind). What is it about Sophie Muller that allows you to subvert this perception of yourself?
SA: I trust Sophie because she is good, she's brave, and independent, and doesn't concern herself with what's commercially acceptable and current. Knowing her like I do (we've known each other since we were teenagers), I'm not afraid to extend my boundaries and be bold. Sophie has a great love and feel for music and attaches to its emotion in her work.
We approached the production as if it were theatre, where the stage and sound radically transformed as each song told its own story. We played with the scale of the arena by diverting the focus of attention to adjust perception.
SB: Considering the fiercely loyal following you have in Nigeria, are you considering ever doing shows there?
SA: I would love to perform in Nigeria (I'm thinking of my Egusi Stew and Pounded Yam backstage rider right now), though it would have been impossible to take our production there this time.
SB: One thing that struck me since your return to the scene and when I saw you in concert last year in Baltimore is how good you look. Do you have a special health, fitness or beauty regiment? Other than possessing good genes, what is your secret?
SA: I do come from strong stock. My Nigerian grandma, Mama, was 80 and still pulling water from her well, schlepping the bucket to her kitchen. Ya Ya, my English grandma, walked with a major spring in her step into her 90s.
I've tried a few times to get fit but I don't like inflicting pain upon my self and I don't have the will. But I am active, I'm a physical person. I'd rather push a barrow than weights, and then somehow I don't feel the pain.
SB: Your daughter, Ila, sang on "Babyfather" from Soldier of Love. Does she want to follow in your footsteps and become a singer, and, more importantly, do you want her to follow in your footsteps?
SA: It's hard to be the child of someone famous, you're always judged and measured. It's true the saying "a big tree casts a big shadow." My daughter is a special girl, but I don't want her to grow up to be anything but a good person.
SB: Do you find that you and your daughter have overlapping musical tastes? Do you each influence what music the other listens to?
SA: We share our music. She's been influenced from birth, indoctrinated by the very best music of all kinds. But yes, now it's her turn.
SB: Who would people be surprised to find is on heavy rotation on your iPod?
SA: I listen to all genres of music, from Dolly Parton to Nirvana. I always gravitate towards people who have soul. You know their stories are genuine. They give you a bit of their life blood. That's why I love rap.
SB: How do you feel about the open letter that Beyoncé recently wrote in tribute to you and your music on her website?
SA: The music business usually tries to set all the girls against each other; it's so lovely when one woman openly appreciates another, but then Beyoncé is a Solider Girl. She's special.
SB: Robert Glasper Experiment has a cover of "Cherish the Day" featuring Lalah Hathaway on their new album, Black Radio. Have you heard the song, and how do you feel about other artists covering your music in general? Do you view your songs as untouchable or are you flattered when you hear a worthy remake?
SA: I've not yet heard this cover, but I love to hear interpretations of our songs. Anyway, I have a feeling that once a song is out there it belongs to the world. I like The Civil Wars version of "No Ordinary Love." I love when our songs are sampled because someone is reforming your work and giving it a new feeling.
SB: There was a 10-year gap between Lovers Rock and Soldier of Love. We're already two years out from that last album, so will we have to wait out the rest of this decade to get another studio album from you or will you surprise us with something sooner?
SA: It wouldn't be a surprise if I told you! And it would be a big surprise to me if I knew.
SB: What's next for Sade -- the band and the woman?
SA: I just bat the ball out there and wait for it to come back.
SB: What wisdom would Sade Adu of today share with Sade Adu of 1984?
SA: You were right having conviction and believing in music above the marketing and trust that people would understand.
But the leather glove didn't work.