Driving along in my car one day with the radio on a while ago, I heard the lyrics of a song that captivated me. The name “Adele” flashed across my radio monitor. I’d never heard of her before (not surprising) but her song was amazing. Then when I was visiting my sister Steph at her apartment, she played me a couple of Adele videos and I was hooked. I asked Steph for the album “21” as a birthday present.
Steph told me that Adele wrote one of her biggest hits, “Rolling in the Deep” with her producer in about 15 minutes. She’d just come into the studio to record after a major break-up and the only way she could describe it was to say that she was feeling “a fire in my heart.” She took all the emotion, all the pain, all the sadness she was feeling right in the moment and channeled it into words and gave it a beating heart through her music.
Adele’s song began with words: that was how she expressed what she was feeling. The words came first and they gave rise to the music, just as the words in a screenplay give rise to the visual images that ultimately create a film. This just reminds me how magical and powerful words are, and how their effect can be intensified when they are joined to music.
So often now, music seems to be overshadowed by slick, high-tech production and delivery. But what I love about Adele is that she is all about the words: about song writing and singing, not glitz. To me, her appeal shows that words and stories really matter — and that people everywhere still respond to pure emotion captured in poetic, heartfelt lyrics. Just think, Adele has shared her moment of sorrow with millions of people using the same tool that we all have at our command: words. Write on, Adele!