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Many are seized and recruited by force whereas others join to escape their circumstances.On surface, the logic behind using child soldiers seems puzzling.One of the underrated consolations of life in the Eighties was a peculiarly ritualised kind of dinner party where everyone ate chicken Kiev, wore “Coal, Not Dole” badges and bragged about how much their flats were worth, while the voice of Sade seeped slinkily from the bookshelf speakers. Last week, just as we were getting used to the idea that Adele was in with the chance of a decent career, we were reminded of who really reigns as the Queen of British Pop.Now the mines are gone, the Kievs, scorned by sophisticated hostesses, lurk in the foods-that-time-forgot sections of supermarkets, and house prices are on the conversational no-go list. Figures from Billboard, the music industry journal, revealed that Sade Adu earned £10.5 million last year in the US alone, easily out-grossing not only the quivery-lipped Tottenham blonde, but Paul Mc Cartney, Elton John and Coldplay.But the romance still collapsed, and in 1989 she married Carlos Pliego, a Spanish film-maker. In the music business, there was talk that she was “difficult” and not really interested in working, charges that Sade always denied.“It’s partly just because I don’t do what the others do,” she said.
In 2010, however, to the mild amazement of fans who thought they were stuck with listening to Diamond Life for ever, Sade produced a new album, Soldier of Love, and last year took it on a sold-out world tour with the band that shares her name.
Cutting-edge pop chroniclers felt obliged to remind their readers who Sade actually was (“a comfortable heritage act,” condescended The Guardian) and that her name should be pronounced “Shar-day”.
Even then, the collective scramble for up-to-date Sade information ran into a familiar obstacle in the shape of the lady herself.
Sade, nevertheless, grew up bright, attractive and with a brush of mixed-race exoticism, and after school headed to London in the vague hope of becoming a model.
Instead, she was roped into a band by fashion college friends, and in 1983 recorded her first single, Your Love Is King, followed by the blockbuster album Diamond Life.