When Adele sat for her Rolling Stone cover-story interviews in early October, the world had yet to hear 25. The album and its first single, “Hello,” were weeks away from breaking every available record, from video streams to first-week sales, but Adele wasn’t focused on those possibilities. “I don’t care if 10 people buy the album as long as those, like, 10 people believe me,” she said. “That’s the most important thing to me, is just being believed.” Here’s more from Adele on her life and music.
Along with Madonna’s Ray of Light, Moby’s Play was a hidden influence on 25.
“There’s something that I find really holy about that Play album,” Adele says. “The way it makes me feel. Even though there’s nothing holy or preachy about it. There’s just something about it — maybe the gospel samples. But it makes me feel alive, that album, still. And I remember my mom having that record.”
She doesn’t subscribe to any streaming services.
“It probably is the future, but, eh,” she says. “There are kids I know who are, like, nine who don’t even know what a fucking CD is! I’ve got my CDs out on display in my house just to prove a point. Maybe CDs will have a massive comeback like vinyl did. Actually I think cassettes, just to be a pain in the ass! [Laughs] I’ve got all my Destiny’s Child cassettes!” (That said, the decision not to stream 25 was made close to the last minute. “At the moment, no call is being made,” Adele’s manager Jonathan Dickins said in early October. “And that’s what I’m saying to you, that’s what I’m saying to the label, and that’s what I’m saying to the people I’m speaking to at various streaming services.”)
Seeing a recent Bette Midler concert helped shape her ideas about playing intimate shows in large venues.
“Bette Midler is just my absolute fucking hero,” says Adele. “I absolutely adore everything about her. I think she’s so talented. I felt like I was watching the last legend that’s left. Like, proper, old-school legend. And she was absolutely fucking amazing. Her voice was amazing, the show was amazing, the humor was amazing. It was, like, the best show I’ve ever, ever seen. And that was in an arena. Obviously she’s fucking Bette Midler; I’m not Bette Midler. But it does work. I’m obviously not going to put on a show like Bette Midler, because it’s almost musical theater, but the talking thing worked in that venue. You’re hanging on every word.”
She never got all that scared after suffering a vocal hemorrhage in 2011.
“It just felt like someone had pulled the curtain or closed the door in my throat,” she says. “And you could feel there was something in my throat stopping me from being able to talk or sing properly. My doctor was great, you know? He was like, ‘This is fine — you’ve got a very common singer’s injury.’ He was like, ‘I’ve seen this a million times; I’ve fixed it a million times,’ so I didn’t ever really feel frightened. … John Mayer had vocal troubles about the same time as me, and he was an angel. He reached out and really reassured me.”