Adele Battles Vocal Issues

Superstar is resting her voice for 2012 arena tour, sources say

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Adele performs at the MTV Video Music Awards.
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Claiming serious vocal problems, Adele – the bestselling artist of 2011 – canceled her second run of U.S. dates this year on October 4th. The soul superstar has yet to announce when she'll return. "If I continue to pick up everything before I have properly conquered these problems and nipped them in the bud, I will be totally and utterly fucked," she wrote on her website. "Singing is literally my life, it's my hobby, my love, my freedom and now my job. I have absolutely no choice but to recuperate properly and fully, or I risk damaging my voice forever."

The condition she's suffering from, a vocal hemorrhage, generally doesn't require the extensive break Adele is taking, according to several top throat surgeons. But because Adele has suffered repeat injuries, she could need the kind of throat surgery Aerosmith's Steven Tyler underwent in 2006. (He was singing again within five months. Graham Nash and Elton John have had similar issues.) "It's very fixable, basically," says Tyler's doctor, Steven Zeitels, a Harvard professor and director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital. "This is not something that's a deal breaker, even remotely."

Given that Adele's 21 has sold more than 4 million copies this year in the U.S. and she's barely toured here, promoters say demand for a major tour is enormous. The good news? Concert-industry sources tell Rolling Stone Adele is planning to return to the road by next year. "She's holding arenas," says a source with knowledge of her schedule. Adds another, "For a while, they were hopeful of arenas this fall, and then it started moving into next year."

Fans who can't wait will have to make do with the live DVD Adele is releasing November 29th, shot at a recent Royal Albert Hall performance. "We felt it was important to capture and document a show in what has turned out to be a record-breaking year," says manager Jonathan Dickins, who declined to comment on Adele's vocal issues. "There was no better place to do this than in London, her hometown."

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This story is from the November 10, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 1143: November 10, 2011