Hello, Thank You, Adele

Adele Hello

Screen grab of Adele’s new music video for Hello

By Luo Zhao Mo

After a three-year hiatus, Adele is back.

This is what the Crossover Project should have bankrolled, but never did. Too busy with their financial shenanigans, the backers couldn’t tell a good voice from a feeble one. Scantiness versus substance: there was never a choice. They had just one woman bent on going to California. That was the only crossover they’ve ever got. And, yes, a Singaporean Chinese woman assuming the role of a geisha, that too.

Adele’s new single Hello is a reminder that in singing, you really start with the voice. And a star sings alone, not as a chorus part. And it is the singing, rather than skin, that shows flair and capacity. Adele is, of course, nowhere near Ms Crossover Project. She sings big, unhindered by the coverings—or lack of them—beneath her neck. Her voice commands and she does not pull back from its dominance. You hear her loud, and you hear her clearly, the musical accompaniment the rolling hills, above which the firmament of voice soars.

Truth be told, I have never really paid much attention to Adele until Karl Lagerfeld, in 2012, said she “is a little too fat”. Then I saw her performing Rolling in the Deep at the Grammy’s and winning 6 awards that night. And I told myself that she’s not more heavy-set than some American singers (Rebel Wilson, I’m thinking of you). Then came Skyfall, and the body is really secondary to the voice.

It has to be said that despite the body-shaming she has received, Adele has mostly dressed appropriately to her size. In the Hello video, she took a risk in donning a shaggy coat, but it’s one Carine Roitfeld would have approved, and it contrasted nicely with the printed scarf, worn without any fuss around her neck. There’s nothing edgy about them, just like the flip phone she used. The combo is a nice change from her usual all-back outfits and affirms that unstructured elegance and great voice can be a perfect pair.

Adele’s much-awaited new album 25 will be released globally on 20 November