The world was blessed on January 16, 1959, by the birth of Helen Folasade Adu. Simply put, her music shaped the sounds of NeoSoul. Sade’s effortless grace, elegance, and chill are a vibe in and of themselves. She weaves her lilting contra-alto from a round full lower register to whispered rasp in iconic soaring fashion. She is truly timeless, uncontained by musical category and possibly the most reliable listen that you can select. Each of her six albums, spanning four decades, are fully vested works.
There are no filler tracks, throw away songs, or need to hit the fast forward button. I had the blessing of seeing Sade when she headlined a show which saw the up and coming John Legend as the opener. There are two things I can tell you about Sade from her live concert performances. One, Sade, in addition to being the singer, is actually the band. The bass, keys, guitar/sax, and of course, Sade herself have been making music as together as a band since 1982. You get the fullness of the band Sade when you see them deliver their masterclass performance in person. If you’ve ever heard Softly, Softly by Sweetback, you heard the band featuring Maxwell on the lead, but that’s a story for a different time.
This article is dedicated to the Mother of NeoSoul. Aaliyah, another legend born on January 16, once said of Sade, “she stays true to her style no matter what… she’s an amazing artist, an amazing performer.” The second thing I’ll tell you about Sade live concert performances is, I hope you get to see one. (I may do a mix as well).