Sade Adu, the reclusive "quiet storm" soul signer who takes notoriously long breaks between releases, has regrouped with the band that bears her name and is recording her first album of new material since 2000's "Lovers Rock," Billboard.com sources confirm. The group is in the studio through June and Sony hopes to put the record out by the end of 2009 though, despite rumors, there is no set release date on the calendar.
"She is in the studio and the album will come when it is ready," a source at Sony tells Billboard. "You don't wait for years for one and then rush it."
Sade's longtime bandmate Stuart Matthewman, a.k.a. Cottonbelly, also confirms that new material is in progress, though he says the project is still in its "early days" and won't be close to finished until "later in the year."
Last week, rumors of a new Sade album surfaced when the official-looking website sade2009.com went live with a message claiming a release date of November 24, 2009 for a new album. However, the source at Sade's label denies any connection to that site. "We do not know where that fan site could have got that release date from, but it is 100% not true." Billboard contacted the site's owner and web developer, who insisted that the release date was "official;" since his response, however, the site's posting has been updated with a correction: "The date above has been changed, a representative from Sony confirmed the new date to be unknown. Please check back for the update on Sade's album release."
Though no details about Sade's new music have yet been revealed, one artist may have already heard snippets: Maxwell, a fellow Sony recording artist and longtime friend and collaborator with Matthewman, who will soon release a new record of his own ("BLACKsummer'snight," July 7) after a multi-year hiatus. The R&B singer sent a message to fans in March via his private Facebook page in which he indicated that he'd heard some of his labelmate's new recordings. "Trust me, it's so monolithic it'll shake you in your shoes!" he wrote.
Sade's 2000 release, "Lovers Rock," sold 3,881,000 copies in the U.S. and the prior album, 1992's "Love Deluxe," sold 3,407,000. Since 1985's "Diamond Life" debut, Sade has sold nearly 17 million units in the U.S. alone according to Nielsen SoundScan.