Adele covers American Vogue in a Mert & Marcus shoot that turned out markedly better than a comparable shoot for British Vogue in October 2011 where the magazine attempted to hide the 23-year-old under styling and her own hair.
Here’s the interview in which she talks about her pop image, losing her voice, and the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart whom she now partially-credits with her success. Also below, Adele’s Grammys performance of Rollin’ In The Deep and her 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper.
On her personality: “I am quite loud and bolshie,” she says (British slang for unruly and clamorous). “I’m a big personality. I walk into a room, big and tall and loud.”
On her voice issues: “I’ve been singing properly every day since I was about fifteen or sixteen,” she says, “and I have never had any problems with my voice, ever. I’ve had a sore throat here and there, had a cold and sung through it, but that day it just went while I was onstage in Paris during a radio show. It was literally like someone had pulled a curtain over it.” She flew to London the next morning to see her doctor and was diagnosed with acute laryngitis. After a couple weeks’ rest, she continued her European tour, came to America, and then her voice went again in May. “That was a hemorrhage,” she says, “a burst blood vessel on my vocal cord. That healed, I did a tour, and then it happened again at my best friend’s wedding on October 1.”
More on her voice: “I knew my voice was in trouble,” she says, “and obviously I cried a lot. But crying is really bad for your vocal cords, too! Everyone thinks it’s worse than it is. I stopped for a bunch of builders today at the office who wanted a photograph, and they were like, ‘How’s your throat?’ Everyone is so worried.”
On the monster that is fame: “The novelty’s not worn off.” She takes a second to think about it. “That Julia Roberts thing [her saying she liked my music]? I was flabbergasted. I no longer buy papers or tabloids or magazines or read blogs. I used to. But it was just filling up my day with hatred. So, loads of friends e-mailed me the Julia Roberts link. And that was truly like… I can’t remember not knowing of her!”
On her job as a famous person: “I hate the red carpet. I don’t feel insecure, I just feel like, Oh, I don’t want to do this. I literally get a stomach cramp. At the VMA’s last year I felt really out of my comfort zone because there were so many superstars there. But that’s been the case from day one. I never feel like, Oh, yeah, I should be here. And I was missing my best friend’s hen night. So I was a bit bitter that I wasn’t there, to be perfectly honest.”
On her endearing vulnerability: “You can see the fear behind my eyes. The first TV show I ever did was Later With Jools Holland, when I was eighteen, and I was sandwiched between Björk and Paul McCartney. And the fear in my eyes is exactly the same fear that’s in my eyes when I come on singing now. The more records I sell and the bigger this all gets, the bigger the shows get. It’s like a vicious cycle.”
On not needing the smoke and mirrors: “I definitely think that less is more,” she says. “I don’t think I could pull it off, doing an elaborate show. There are a couple of songs that are worthy of a few explosions and dancing teams and stuff like that. But I would feel really uncomfortable displaying my music like that. I just want to sing it. I don’t want to perform with my body.”
More on her stage show: “I was always the joker at school,” she says. “But I didn’t really realize I had a natural sense of humor until I started telling stories onstage. You get the timing down. Also, people laugh when I open my mouth anyway, even if I don’t tell a joke, because they are laughing at my [THICK Cockney] accent.”
On the ex-boyfriend who inspired the 21 album: “Even though my emotions aren’t with my ex at all anymore,” she says, “it’s still like stepping back into that really painful time. So every show is pretty emotional. It takes a toll… You know, he was amazing. He was great. But it was never going to work. And for ages I was like, ‘As if he deserves any f**king kudos for inspiring my record.’ But now, after some time, it only seems right that the person who so far has had the biggest impact on me, has now changed my life for fucking ever with this album, deserves a little credit. I can do things that I never dreamed I’d be able to do. If I hadn’t met him, I think I’d still be that little girl I was when I was eighteen. And the best thing is, I now know what I want for myself and from someone else. I didn’t know what I wanted before.”
On what her exes would say about her: “Oh, my God! I love a bit of drama. That’s a bad thing. I can flip really quickly. I am not bipolar, but I go from ‘Oh, my God, I love you’ to ‘Get the f**k out of my house!’ really quickly. And I never sit there and talk about it. I give them the silent treatment. They’re like, ‘Tell me what I’ve done so I can say sorry!’ What else? It used to be that I loved a drink a bit too much. But I don’t drink no more. The good things: I am attentive. I will do anything for my man. I am a good cook. I’m funny. Always want to have sex. Well, most girls don’t.”
On being the misery chick: “People think that I’m f**king miserable,” she says. “They are really surprised when they meet me that I’m chatty and bubbly and kind of quite carefree really. I’m the total opposite of my records… There’s so much attention on how I’m feeling. But I think I have to be respectful of the fact that people are buying into me, which I think a lot of artists strive for and it doesn’t always happen. It gives me a boost that people like my music and seem to like me. On the other hand, I feel like I give so much that that boundary has been broken a little bit. I am not moaning about it, because it comes with the job, but I can’t go back to my London house, because the press are always there. After my first record, interviewers were like, ‘Are you going to be as sharing and as honest on your next record?’ And I was like, ‘No, I think I’ve learned my lesson.’ And then I did it again! But even more magnified! So as much as I’m like, ‘I want to be private! Don’t take my f**king picture!,’ I did ask for it.” - via Vogue Magazine.