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SADE: The Enigma

In the history of the world there has always been mysteries. Researchers battle to decipher the unknown. People often enjoy trying to figure out crossword puzzles and trivia. In the Music Industry, there are a few rare individuals who quietly crept into our consciousness and never left. The entertainment industry can be a circus and if you aren’t careful, your life will end up being food for tabloids. The obsession of celebrity from Hollywood vultures can literally eat at your very existence. Self-Awareness is the magic key to sanity and Helen Folasade Adu is the poster child for the unknown, almost like a UFO or ancient hieroglyphics.

Back in my Junior High School years I was still watching my favorite childhood pastime, professional wrestling. I remember watching “Ravishing” Rick Rude a lot. He was hilarious and would always insult the men in the arena before he took his robe off. He would say something like “I want the fat truck drivers to shut up while I take off my robe and listen to your women scream at my beautiful body”. I swear this always made me laugh. During his entrance to the ring a song titled “Smooth Operator” would blast from the sound system. I remember immediately loving it and being mesmerized by a voice that I'd never heard before. It was unique. One day I was flipping channels and heard the song again but this time it was the music video for “Smooth Operator”, and the singer went by the name Sade. My life would never be the same. No seriously, my life would never be the same. If you know me, you know I'm the biggest Sade fan.

Helen Folasade Adu, professionally known as Sade was born in Nigeria on January 16, 1959. On a quick side note, Sade is also the name of the actual band whenever Adu performs with them and when they perform without her, they are called Sweetback. At any rate, before singing Adu completed a three-year course in fashion designing and modeled for a brief period of time. At some point Sade started as a back-up singer with a British Group called Pride after obviously leaving Africa for Europe. During this time, she formed a songwriting partnership with Pride's guitarist/saxophonist Stuart Matthewman; an extremely talented individual in his own right. Seeing him perform live is a treat as well, but I digress. In 1983 the band Sade was formed with Adu, Matthewman and several other members from Pride. Their first single, the aforementioned "Smooth Operator" became a smash hit in Europe and their 1984 debut album Diamond Life saw massive success. The debut initially sold 1.2 million and ended up being one of the bigger albums in the 80's, with over 6 million in sales.

During my High School years my appreciation for Sade went to another level because I was old enough to truly appreciate this amazing band and singer. By the time I was in 10th grade I owned Diamond Life, Promise and Stronger than Pride albums. Well, I had the tapes. I didn’t have her 4th album Love Deluxe until the 1993 movie Indecent Proposal hit theaters. The song “No Ordinary Love” played during a love scene between Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson. The song was perfect. Of course Demi Moore was beautiful in the movie but that goes without saying. The song also fit the theme and passion of the movie. I was in love with this song. I was in love with Sade. I went to the store and purchased Love Deluxe with no hesitation.

After Love Deluxe the band went on a 7-year hiatus. Rumors started to spread about Sade being depressed, having an addiction and also during this time she became a mother. It took years for her to talk about motherhood. Remember what I said about Hollywood Vultures? Yes, they tried to feed off of Sade but regardless of any rumors, she stayed away from the press and Hollywood. Sade would become notorious for keeping her privacy out of public consumption. The truth is we only know rumors about her personal life because she definitely wasn’t sharing anything. You would have to guess and figure out the puzzle called Sade. Eventually she talked about her child, relationships and things of that nature but it was on her own time. This is a valuable lesson we can all absorb. Sade released more great music and Sweetback did as well. The loyal fans such as myself were fortunate enough to see her perform live and I often reminisce on the experience. In life we should leave some things sacred. In life we should be aware of our circle and practice loyalty. Several members of the band Sade are still together from it's inception in 1983 to the present year of 2021. There is comfort in trust, longevity and elusiveness. As I sit here listening to “Nothing Can Come Between Us”, I surely cherish the day that I heard “Smooth Operator”.


Tony Hanes, Da Dome


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