Her middle name, Folasade, means “honor confers your crown”. She is Britain’s most successful solo female artist. She has sold over 50 million albums in her 27 year career. More than half of them were sold after 1990, when she had scaled back considerably on her singing and press engagements.
Sade (Helen Folasade Adu) was born January 16, 1959 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Her father was a professor of economics and her mother was a nurse. They met in London and moved to Nigeria after they married. Toward the end of the marriage, Sade and her mother moved back to England. She grew up there and studied fashion at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
While she was at school, she sang backup for a group called Pride. A song she wrote and sang lead on, Smooth Operator, attracted the attention of record companies. In 1983, she signed with the Epic label on the condition that she could bring along three of her bandmates. Their earnings from live and recorded work have always been evenly split.
She was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2002. She resides in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Her most recent album, Soldier of Love, was released on February 8, 2010.