- Debut studio album, Diamond Life (1984), reached number two on the UK Album Chart, selling over 1.2 million copies
- Second album Promise, peaked at number one in both the United Kingdom and the US.
- In 1986 Sade won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
- Sade have sold more than 75 million records worldwide to date.
Sade (/ʃɑːˈdeɪ/ shah-DAY) are an English band, formed in London in 1982 and named after their lead singer, Sade Adu. Three of their members were originally from Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Their music features elements of soul, quiet storm, smooth jazz and sophisti-pop.
The band’s debut studio album, Diamond Life (1984), reached number two on the UK Album Chart, selling over 1.2 million copies and won the Brit Award for Best British Album in 1985. The album was also a hit internationally, reaching number one in several countries and within the top-ten in the United States, where it has sold four million copies to date. In late 1985, the band released their second studio effort Promise, which peaked at number one in both the United Kingdom and the US. It was certified double-platinum in the UK and quadruple-platinum in the US. In 1986 Sade won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Their fifth studio album, Lovers Rock (2000), won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. Their sixth studio album, Soldier of Love (2010), peaked at number four in the UK and number one in the US. In 2011, the band won their fourth Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Sade’s US certified sales so far stand at 23.5 million units according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and have sold more than 75 million records worldwide to date. The band were ranked at No. 50 on VH1’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
The musical group Sade was formed in London in 1982, by members of a Latin soul band, Pride. Sade Adu, Stuart Matthewman, and Paul Denman, together with Paul Anthony Cook, formed the break-away group and began to write their own material. They named the band after lead singer Sade Adu, and made their debut performance in December 1982 at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London in support of Pride. In May 1983 the band performed their first US show at Danceteria Club in New York City. Andrew Hale joined the band in 1983; Cook left in 1984. Sade received more attention from the media and record companies than Pride had, and eventually separated from that group altogether. On 18 October 1983, the band signed with Portrait Records (which was absorbed by its parent label, Epic Records, in 1986). When singer Sade and her band of the same name were establishing themselves, their record company, Epic, printed “Pronounced Shar-day” on the record labels of their releases (which led to mispronunciation in rhotic North America).
In February 1984, Sade released their first single, “Your Love Is King“, which became a Top Ten hit. A second single, “When Am I Going to Make a Living” barely made the Top 40, but the band’s debut album, Diamond Life, was released in July 1984 and peaked at No. 2. It spent over six months in the UK Top Ten and was later certified 4x Platinum by the BPI. Diamond Life won the 1985 Brit Award for Best British Album. The band embarked on their first major UK tour, augmented by Dave Early (drums), Martin Ditcham (percussion), Terry Bailey (trumpet) and Gordon Matthewman (trombone). A third single, “Smooth Operator”, was released from the album with a video directed by Julien Temple. The single became their first US hit in Spring 1985, propelling the album in the US Top Ten. Also in 1985, the band were nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards—”Best Female Video” and “Best New Artist”. On 13 July 1985, Sade performed at the Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in London. Sade Adu became the only African-born artist to appear in front of the live audience of 75,000, and an estimated worldwide television audience of 1.4 billion in 170 countries.
In late 1985, Sade released their second album, Promise, which peaked at No. 1 in both the UK and the US. It was certified double platinum by the BPI in the UK, and quadruple platinum in the US. In 1986, Adu was nominated for an American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Video Artist, and the band won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. On 28 June 1986, after touring for the album, the band performed at the Artists Against Apartheid Concert in the Freedom Festival on Clapham Common in London. In 1987 the band was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for Promise.
Sade’s third album, Stronger Than Pride, was released in May 1988. The album peaked at No. 3 in the UK and has been certified platinum by the BPI. It was preceded by the single “Paradise”, which made the UK Top 30 and US Top 20. The band toured across the world again, augmented by Blair Cunningham (drums), Martin Ditcham (percussion), Leroy Osbourne (vocals), Gordon Hunte (guitar), James McMillan (trumpet) and Jake Jacas (trombone & vocals). In 1989, Sade Adu was nominated for an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist.
- Sade Adu – vocals, lyricist, songwriter (1982–present)
- Paul S. Denman – bass, songwriter (1982–present)
- Andrew Hale – keyboards, songwriter (1982–present)
- Stuart Matthewman – guitar, sax, songwriter (1982–present)
The band is credited with influencing the musical genre of neo soul and achieving success in the 1980s with songs that featured a sophisti-pop style, incorporating elements of soul, pop, smooth jazz and quiet storm. The band was part of a new wave of British R&B-oriented artists during the late-1980s and early-1990s that also included artists Soul II Soul, Caron Wheeler, The Brand New Heavies, Simply Red, Jamiroquai and Lisa Stansfield. AllMusic’s Alex Henderson writes that, “Many of the British artists who emerged during that period had a neo-soul outlook and were able to blend influences from different eras”. Following the coining of the term “quiet storm” by Smokey Robinson, Sade was credited for helping give the genre a worldwide audience.
The band’s work has influenced and been recognized by a number of musical artists. Rapper Rakim of Eric B. & Rakim stated he grew up listening to Sade’s music and was influenced by the singer’s voice and style. Rakim has also referenced their song “Smooth Operator” in his rap song “Paid in Full” (1987). Hip hop group Souls of Mischief stated they grew up listening to Sade’s music. Hip hop group Tanya Morgan also described Sade as one of their favorite artists. Frontman Chino Moreno of the alternative metal band Deftones has cited Love Deluxe as one of his top 13 favorite albums. In an interview with The Quietus, Moreno said, “I’ve always loved it, it was a big inspiration on me. It’s sort of classy, another cocktail and cityscape record.” The band also covered the lead single “No Ordinary Love” in collaboration with singer Jonah Matranga for the band’s 2005 compilation album, B-Sides & Rarities. Singer Keri Hilson said, “My Dad would whistle Sade melodies randomly all the time. As a kid, I used to try to whistle along to ‘Cherish the Day’ or ‘The Sweetest Taboo.’ He was a real Sade fan and made me one, too!” In reaction to the newly released album Soldier of Love, rapper Kanye West wrote, “This is why i still have a blog. To be a part of moments like this … new Sade … How much better this … than everything else?”. Rapper Rick Ross stated in an interview that “People may know my infatuation with Sade. There’s never been a bad Sade track. I love all different sides.”
- Diamond Life (1984)
- Promise (1985)
- Stronger Than Pride (1988)
- 1984: Diamond Life Tour
- 1986: Promise Tour
- 1988: Stronger Than Pride Tour