Helen Folasade Adu, OBE (Yoruba: Fọláṣadé Adú; born 16 January 1959), professionally known as Sade Adu or simply Sade (/ʃɑːˈdeɪ/ shah-day), is an English singer-songwriter, composer, arranger, and record producer. With Paul S. Denman, Andrew Hale, and Stuart Matthewman, she gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of the English band Sade. Following a brief stint as a fashion designer of men’s clothing and part-time model Adu began backup singing for the band Pride. Growing attention from record labels led her, along with other fellow band members, to separate from Pride and form the band Sade. Following a record deal with Epic Records the band released their debut album Diamond Life (1984). The album sold over six million copies, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the ’80s, and the best-selling debut ever by a British female vocalist.
Following the release of the band’s debut album they went on to release a string of multi-platinum selling albums. Their follow up Promise was released in 1985 and peaked at number-one in the UK Albums Chart, the US Billboard 200, and went on to sell four million copies in the United States. Sade would later go on to make her acting debut in the British film, Absolute Beginners (1986), before the release of the band’s albums, Stronger Than Pride (1988) and Love Deluxe (1992). After the release of the fifth album, Lovers Rock (2000), the band embarked on a ten-year hiatus in which Sade raised her daughter. Following the hiatus the band returned with their sixth album, Soldier of Love (2010) which became a commercial success and won a Grammy award.
Sade’s US certified sales so far stand at 23.5 million units according to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) web site and have sold more than 50 million units worldwide to date. The band were ranked at number 50 on VH1’s list of the “100 greatest artists of all time”. In 2002, Adu was awarded an OBE for services to music, and stated her award was “a great gesture to me and all black women in England”. In 2010, The Sunday Times named her the most successful solo British female artist in history. In 2012, Sade was listed at number 30 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Women In Music”.