Multiple Grammy Award winner. Global platinum seller. Now Adele can add one more title to her esteemed list: electronic dance diva.
The songstress reaches her highest mark on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart with “Skyfall,” which jumps 16-13. That bests her previous peak on the chart, “Rolling in the Deep,” which hit No. 14 in May 2011.
“Skyfall,” the platinum-selling title song from the James Bond film soundtrack, is a torchy, minor-key ballad — not the stuff that dancefloor hits are made of. And it doesn’t have any official remixes, at least not stateside: XL Recordings released a set in Germany only. But that didn’t stop Billboard’s DJ panel. Many reporting members created their own club-ready versions, driving it up the chart.
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It’s not the first time Adele has seduced remixers with her powerful alto and singalong songcraft — far from it. During the last few years, she’s become one of dance music’s most prominent voices, thanks to a flood of remixes in every conceivable genre, from dubstep to downtempo. As with “Skyfall,” many are unofficial projects, although some were commissioned through XL and released only overseas.
“Adele has that once-in-a-generation sound that fits perfectly with nearly all genres of music,” says Geronimo, director of electronic/dance programming for SiriusXM. “Most of today’s EDM producers are great musicians, so with the right beat behind it, it creates almost an entirely new song as compared to the original.”
Take German DJ/producer Thomas Gold’s remix of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” which ups the song’s original pathos to rave level, adding massive synth chords and breakdowns. The remix helped fuel the song’s 11-week run on Dance Club Songs, where it peaked at No. 18.
“XL requested it via my management,” Gold says. “I was up for it immediately, as I loved the original track so much. Even Adele herself approved it.”
The mix was so omnipresent on the EDM festival circuit last summer that it could frequently be heard coming from multiple stages at the same time, from Electric Daisy Carnival to Ultra Music Festival. It was even a hit on SiriusXM station BPM.
“Our listeners don’t embrace every dance mix of pop songs,” Geronimo says. “However, the Thomas Gold [remix] is one that stands out and was a huge success for BPM.”
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But Gold’s mix was never released stateside, nor was any remix, commissioned or otherwise, of any Adele track after her 2007 debut album, 19. Gold’s “Fire” was released in the United Kingdom, along with another version by venerable British house outfit Moto Blanco and a quirky breakbeat take on “Rolling in the Deep” by Jamie xx (of the xx). Adele’s team seems loathe to link her with the young, neon-donning ravers who typify the American EDM audience, preferring instead to stick with European fans whose take on dance might be considered more mature, and therefore more in tune with her elegant brand.
But it doesn’t really matter. “Fire” set fire to Gold’s career in the States, with or without an official release.
“It was one of the most important remixes I’ve done so far and marked a breakthrough in my career, especially in North America, after it gained over [14 million] views on YouTube,” he says. “It is still one of my signature tracks in all my DJ sets.”
And whether it’s “Fire,” “Skyfall” or any of Adele’s future works, DJs will still find a way to get her voice radiating across a field of thousands, or a dancefloor of 50, during their sets.
“There are artists whose music just fits,” Geronimo says. “How many EDM DJs squeeze Red Hot Chili Peppers into their set? It’s those vocals from Anthony Kiedis, much like Adele’s, that work perfectly with a tight EDM production.”
“Adele’s voice is unique and simply magical,” Gold says. “One of the reasons it works well in EDM is that it’s a perfect contrast to artificial sounds and beats. Her voice always adds so much life and soul to a track.”