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Sade

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London, United Kingdom (1982 – present)

Sade (pronounced “shah-day”) is a Grammy-winning British smooth jazz band named after their lead singer Sade Adu. The band’s music features elements of , , and .

Sade was formed in 1982, when members of a Latino-soul band PrideSade Adu, (real name Helen Folasade Adu - born 16 January 1959 in Ibadan, Nigeria) Stuart Matthewman and Paul Spencer Denman — together with Paul Cook formed a splinter group and began to write their own material. Sade made their debut in December 1982 at Ronnie Scott’s Club in London, England, in support of Pride. Later, in 1983, Andrew Hale joined Sade. In 1984 Paul Cook left the band.

Sade Adu, the band’s singer, is the daughter of a Nigerian father and an English mother. After her mother returned to England, Sade grew up on the North End of London. Developing a good singing voice in her teens, Sade worked part-time jobs in and outside of the music business. She listened to Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, and Billie Holliday. Sade studied fashion design at St. Martin’s School of Art in London while also doing some modeling on the side.

Around 1980, Adu started singing harmony with a group called Arriva. One of the more popular numbers that the group would perform was a Sade original co-written with bandmember Ray St. John, “Smooth Operator,” that would later become Sade’s first stateside hit. The following year Adu joined the eight-piece funk band Pride as a background singer. The band included future Sade band members guitarist/saxophonist Stuart Matthewman (a key player in ’90s urban soul singer Maxwell’s success) and bassist Paul Denman.

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