Blessed with a soulful, powerful voice, Adele credited a recording of Etta James she heard as a teenager with "awakening" the "Set Fire to the Rain" songstress to her calling.
Soon after enrolling in the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in London, the "Someone Like You" singer recorded a three-track demo for a class project that was later posted on MySpace. Her once-in-a-generation voice caught the ear of a web-surfing executive at XL Recordings, who signed her immediately.
Adele was only 19 when Adele Laurie Blue Adkins released her debut album in 2008 (appropriately titled, 19). The album went quadruple platinum in the UK and double platinum in the US, and by the 2009, the "Chasing Pavements" singer found Grammy awards chasing her: She picked up two tiny, shiny gramophones that year for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
There was no sophomore slump for the zaftig heartbreaker: Her second album, 21, (guess how old she was when she recorded it) earned six Grammys, including Album of the Year.
Garnering such celebrity fans as Julia Roberts and, well, everyone with working ear canals, Adele was on top of the world by 2011. But a sudden vocal chord hemorrhage forced the "Rolling in the Deep" belter to cancel her sold-out U.S. tour.
After a successful surgery, Adele returned to the stage at the 2012 Grammy Awards, where she not only showed off her healed cords but her slimmer physique.
The full-figured singer had long shrugged off criticism of her weight (fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld once calling her "fat") with the quip, "I'd rather weigh a ton and make an amazing album than look like Nicole Richie and do a s--t album."
Soon the "Skyfall" singer's waistline expanded a bit again, but that was understandable: The 2012 Billboard Artist of the Year and boyfriend Simon Konecki welcomed a baby boy in October 2012.
Here's hoping Simon proves to be a good father and great partner to the Oscar and Golden Globe Award winner. If not, he'll have to answer to Julia Roberts, who once told reporters that anyone dating her favorite singer better "watch out" for Adele's legion of fans.
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