Adele Admits She Was 'Frightened' by the Success of '21'

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartRadio
Adele performs onstage during iHeartRadio presents Adele's album premiere live at Joe's Pub on Nov. 20, 2015 in New York City. 

Adele has talked of how she came to fear her monster sophomore album 21.

The British singer-songwriter gave a candid interview for Australia’s 60 Minutes in which opened-up on parenthood, love, her struggles with fame, pre-show nerves, and her return to the spotlight with 25.

“There are, or were, elements of what happened with 21 that really frightened me,” she said in the interview, which aired Sunday night. “It got so out of control, and it got so big…it just grew limbs of its own and started doing marathon runs.” When prompted by the interviewer Liz Hayes, she added more context: “I mean, how is it possible that an album can keep getting bigger and bigger? The fact that I was frightened by it and distanced myself was for no other reason than to live a real life, to write a real record, that’s the only reason. How am I supposed to write a real record people can relate to if I’m doing un-relatable things? It’s impossible. So that’s why I backed off.”

Adele Performs 'Million Years Ago' and 'Hometown Glory' on BBC Special: Watch

Adele’s new album release is her first since 2011’s 21, which went on to sell more than 30 million units worldwide. Early signs would suggest 25 will be a beast in its own right, with first-week sales in the U.S. likely to surpass *NSYNC's benchmark one-week Nielsen-era sales feat of 2.42 million sold.

Adele told Australian fans her success had blindsided her. “I never in a million years thought this would happen to me.” And she admitted the four-year gap between albums created an element of self-doubt. “It’s incredible that people are letting me into their lives again,” she said. “But I was worried I missed my window and I was worried that the world had moved on so much and in so many different ways.”

What did shift in those years was the global muscle of social media. “I had no idea how powerful social media was until this week. I was like, (in her best comic impression of an older Londoner) ‘Oh, I don’t really get it. Nah, let’s go old school.’ And it’s like, actually you can’t be old school in a world where social media is in charge of pretty much the world."

Adele also revealed her tactic for avoiding the trappings of a life in the celebrity pages. She doesn’t attend everything, like the “opening of a letter, or a packet of crisps”. And she’d like to keep it that way.

The 10 Most Heartbreaking Lyrics From Adele's '25'

“I haven’t sold out yet,” she exclaimed. And don’t expect her to endorse a perfume. “I’ve got nothing against people who do it, it’s just the only thing people do it is for money and I’d rather not give in to that. Also you don’t want to become addicted to money like that, for doing shitty things. I don’t think I would ever do those things.” She added, “I wouldn’t wear my own perfume. That’s not me being in touch with my fans. I’ll always wear the same perfume I’ve always worn since I was 15.”

And which scent is that? Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison. 

Watch the interview here.


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.