Adele back bigger than ever

Updated: 2012-02-14 10:36

By Michael Thurston (Agencies/Agencies)

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Adele back bigger than ever

Singer Adele holds her six Grammy Awards at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California. [Lucy Nicholson / Reuters]

The performer who had to take a career break for four months won six gongs at the Grammys and was given a standing ovation after singing. Michael Thurston reports from Los Angeles.

British soul diva Adele made a storming comeback at the Grammys on Sunday (Monday, Beijing time), performing live for the first time in four months and winning a clean sweep of six prizes at the United States music awards.

The 23-year-old, who canceled all her shows in October to undergo throat surgery, was given a standing ovation after singing Rolling in the Deep to a star-studded audience at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The tune won the best song Grammy, to go along with wins in the five other categories in which she was nominated - best record, best album for her breakthrough 21, best short video, best pop album and best pop artist.

Speaking afterwards, she admitted she had been scared when told she had to have the surgery - but that ultimately it was good to be forced to silence her usual "mouthy" manner.

"It was a bit traumatic having to have the surgery ... being silent in such a noisy world - everything's so noisy in my world - it was actually a bit of a blessing in disguise," she told reporters, backstage.

"Thank god my voice healed, and I stuck to all the rules that they gave me. And I've actually never been happier I really enjoyed having to be quiet. I'm so mouthy, it was quite nice to be forced to be quiet."

During the show, Adele took to the stage with producer Paul Epworth, who she called "the best producer in the world", before launching into the worldwide hit from her breakthrough second album 21.

Her solo voice soared out of the darkness into the opening lyric, before a thumping drum kicked in, followed by a choir for the chorus. She earned a raucous standing ovation from the crowd and mouthed "Thank you" at the end.

Speaking before Sunday's show, Adele - known for her trademark bouffant hair, generous figure, liberal swearing and raucous Cockney laugh - said it was "an absolute honor" to perform, but also "of course nerve-racking".

Four months ago, the singer-songwriter had announced, "heartbroken", that she was canceling her sold-out US tour due to a hemorrhage she likened to a "black eye" on her vocal cord.

"Singing is literally my life," she wrote on her blog. "It's my hobby, my love, my freedom and now my job. I have absolutely no choice but to recuperate properly and fully, or I risk damaging my voice forever."

She is now the first living artist since The Beatles in 1964 to have had two top five hits in the British singles and albums charts simultaneously.

21 topped the 2011 year-end charts in Britain, the US Billboard 200 and lists in other countries, including Canada, Australia, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Despite her success, Adele remains unaffected and close to her roots.

She has been unflappable in the face of a controversy over her weight, after haute couture designer Karl Lagerfeld suggested that she's "a little too fat". He later backtracked on the comments.

The British singer's reply, to US television in an interview airing this weekend, is that she refuses to conform to the industry's standard of what a pop music diva should look like.

"I've never seen magazine covers ... music videos and been like 'I need to look like that to be a success'," the British singer said in an interview for CBS' 60 Minutes news program.

"I don't want to be some skinny Minnie ... I don't want people confusing what it is that I am about.

"I'm just writing love songs. I'm not trying to be pop. I'm not trying to be jazz. I'm not trying to be anything. I'm just writing love songs, and everyone loves a love song."

After Sunday's show, she was asked what she thought the man who broke her heart, inspiring her record-breaking records, would think.

"I think he'd be very happy for me," she said.

"I'm very very proud of myself ... it hasn't really sunk in. We all just keep laughing. It's incredible."