Adele covers I-D: ‘The way that I feel when I’m not in England is… desperation’

adele id

Adele has given her first print interview in more than three years. And it’s a GREAT read. She loads so much into the conversation that I don’t even have the space to pull all of the amazing quotes – you can (and should!) read the full piece here. The details are killing me – she uses a Macbook Pro, she carried an “iPhone 6 and a Bob The Builder bag.” She wears black leggings and black Nike 5.0+ Shields. She plays most of her album to the reporter and the reporter admits throughout the piece that Adele has brought her to tears with music and words. She also name-checks Taylor Swift specifically, but in an unexpected way – Adele was deep in conversation about her struggles to pull it together to work on this album when she and Ryan Tedder heard Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” and Adele says: “I was like, ‘I love this song, who did this?’ and he’s like ‘Max,’ and I’m like, ‘Oo’s Max?’ and he’s like ‘Max Martin!’ and I’m like, ‘Oo’s Max Martin?'” As in, she was more interested in Taylor’s cowriter and producer. Cough. Some other highlights:

She misses her youth: “I think the album is about trying to clear out the past. Becoming a parent and moving past my mid-twenties, I simply don’t have the capacity to worry about as many things that I used to really enjoy worrying about.” She loved worrying? “Oh yeah, I used to f–king love the drama of all of it, but now I’m a mum I only have so much head space. I’ve got to clear a lot of stuff the f–k out, which is really therapeutic, ’cause I can really hold a grudge. Life is so much easier when you don’t hoard your past.”

She doesn’t want to make ‘21’ again: “I was very conscious not to make 21 again. I definitely wasn’t going to write a heartbreak record ’cause I’m not heartbroken, but I probably won’t be able to better the one I did, so what’s the point? Bit cliché, innit? Also, how I felt when I wrote 21, it ain’t worth feeling like that again. I was very sad and very lonely. Regardless of being a mum or a girlfriend, I didn’t want to feel like that again.”

Being a mum: “It’s f–king hard. I thought it would be easy. ‘Everyone f–king does it, how hard can it be?’ Ohhhhh… I had no idea. It is hard but it’s phenomenal. It’s the greatest thing I ever did. He makes me be a dickhead, and he makes me feel young and there’s nothing more grounding than a kid kicking off and refusing to do what you’re asking of them. It used to be that my own world revolved around me, but now it has to revolve around him.”

She’s all about living in England: “When I’m away, I really, really miss my life at home. The way that I feel when I’m not in England, is… desperation. I can’t breathe anywhere else.” Why? “I dunno. I’m so attached to my whole life here. I get worked up that I’m missing out on things. So Hello is about wanting to be at home and wanting to reach out to everyone I’ve ever hurt – including myself – and apologise for it… I feel like everyone thinks I’m so far away and I’m not. Everyone thinks I live in f–king America, I don’t. Sometimes I think people worry about chatting to me, that I’ve changed. But I like to think I haven’t. I don’t feel like I have.”

Why she didn’t promote “Skyfall” that much: “I gave birth a few nights before the Skyfall premiere, that’s why I didn’t do anything for it. He was about to drop out my fanny at, like, any moment.”

Pop culture stuff: She’s not on Facebook and doesn’t do Netflix or podcasts, but she’s obsessed with MTV’s Teen Mom, the Walking Dead and American Horror Story.

Does she dislike fame? “I’m just frightened of it, you know? Frightened of it destroying me and it ruining me, and me getting lost and turning into some of the people that I love with my whole musical heart. I get frightened. And I get frightened for the people that I love, feeling like they’ve lost me… It’s a bit toxic, fame. I’ve got enough toxins in me body, I don’t need any of that! It’s definitely harder to avoid it than it is to give into it. I think most people tend to give into it because it is easier, but I just can’t. I’m uncomfortable with giving into that kind of thing. Me being photographed in Waitrose is being famous for no reason and that is something that I am not up for and I will not stand for, for myself.” She avoids pap hot-spots like Bond Street and Soho. “It’s not me trying to be like f–king anti-famous c-nt-y, I just want to have a real life so I can write records. No one wants to listen to a record from someone that’s lost touch with reality. So I live a low-key life for my fans.”

[From I-D]

There’s a lengthy conversation about Amy Winehouse and how much Adele loved Amy from a distance. They barely knew each other in real life, but Adele talks openly about what Amy’s music meant to her. I get the feeling that Adele uses Amy as a personal cautionary tale too – as in, this might happen to me if I lose the thread. This might happen to me if I don’t stay grounded, if I don’t focus on my family and the music. Anyway, great read.


Photos courtesy of i-D Magazine, Fame/Flynet.

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56 Responses to “Adele covers I-D: ‘The way that I feel when I’m not in England is… desperation’”

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  1. kri says:

    I love her. So brilliant and so funny. What a woman!

  2. mimif says:

    Love what she said about fame. It’s quite a thin line to walk and it sounds like she is treading very carefully.

  3. QQ says:

    Love love love love her, her face is just a dream!

  4. emmyb1608 says:

    She is, without a doubt, insanely talented, but I hate the way she comes across in interviews… constantly swearing and people saying “she’s so normal” because of it.

    • Sara says:

      She’s British, that’s how my family talks, even in front of kids. I guess it’s normal in Manchester.

      • emmyb1608 says:

        I’m British, and I live 30 minutes away from Manchester (Adele is a Londoner)… I’m not saying people don’t swear, I just don’t see why she needs to do it so frequently in interviews?

      • Sara says:

        Hey, where do you live if I’m not being indiscrete? A big lot of my family are Prestonians, so we’re all Northeners.
        I hear what you’re saying, I guess we should all mind our language a bit more at home.

      • Sixer says:

        I hate to say it, but everyone I know swears like that, including me. And I’ve got a pretty good vocabulary, even if I do say it myself, so it can’t be that. I enjoy swearing. Not sure it’s something to be proud of – it just is – but I’d say your average Brit swears quite lot. Except Sixlet Minor, who takes a very dim view. “Use your WORDS, mother, use your WORDS” – I must have said this to him at some point, and it’s come back to bite me on the arse – sorry, bottom (insert tongue-poking emoticon here).

  5. Santia says:

    The more I learn about Adele, the more I like her. I can see her doing a few more albums and then walking off into the sunset with her kid(s).

    It always kills me when the truly talented ones (like Amy Winehouse), start to buy into their own hype and it destroys them.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      I really don’t think Amy Winehouse died because she bought into her own hype. She was a troubled person who came from a troubled family and unfortunately she lost that battle. She seemed like a sweet chick to me.

    • WinnieCoopersMom says:

      Amy had been battling depression and addiction for years, even before her fame. Fame only brought out more enablers and money to feed into the habit. She was too insecure to buy into her own hype.

  6. lower-case deb says:

    i love reading tidbits about Adele, and perhaps it’s because she has been away from the Scene like a total radio silence, everything sounds very new information.

    a journalist of the Irish Times reminisced about the first time he met Adele at a junket for 19, the one where you only get 15 minutes of interview before a publicist rushes you out. apparently Adele made the journalists cups of tea! he wondered if the 25 junket would be the same.

    anyway, in the i-D article, the journalist mentioned Tyler the Creator calling Adele a bowl of sunshine in a previous interview.

    here is the context:
    I saw Adele at the Marshall [Eminem, Wembley] show and she ran up to me and was like, ‘Tyler, it’s me!’ And I was like, ‘Who the fuck are you?!’ cos it was dark, and then she was like, ‘It’s me, Adele’, and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ and we hugged. She was like, ‘How is everything, how’s your mum?’ And I was like, ‘Fine, how are you?’ I think she met my mum at the VMAs and they spoke a bit. That’s what happened, she rules. Me and Adele played Grand Theft Auto at the XL office a couple of years ago. We were killing people and it was so tight.

  7. Mimz says:

    Loved this interview!!! She seems nice, opinionated. But certain of who she is and what she wants.
    I, for one, am glad she didn’t do 21 again. I’m excited for 25 🙂

  8. dr mantis toboggan says:

    She’s one of the many artists I don’t like as a person, but I like her music.

    • Naddie says:

      dr mantis, why? No intention to argue, I’m just very curious.

    • Franca says:

      Withe me it’s the opposite. Love her as a person, don’t get the hype around her music.

    • V4Real says:

      “I was like, ‘I love this song, who did this?’ and he’s like ‘Max,’ and I’m like, ‘Oo’s Max?’ and he’s like ‘Max Martin!’ and I’m like, ‘Oo’s Max Martin?’” As in, she was more interested in Taylor’s cowriter and producer.”

      No, as in, Haha Taylor doesn’t write her own songs as she claims she does. I see what she did there. Subtle jab at Tay Tay.

      I don’t like Adele’s music but I never thought about her one way or the other. This site seems to love her and fawn over how great she is and how beautiful she is. Beauty is subjective but I don’t see beauty when I look at Adele.

      • perplexed says:

        I don’t listen to all of her songs regularly (well, not the slow ones anyway), but objectively speaking I do think she’s talented.

        I do think Adele is amusing in her acceptance speeches.

        If Adele were thin, I tend to think she’d probably be hailed by the media as being quite beautiful (her face doesn’t have any flaws that jump out at me in an obvious way), but the media seems to prefer the body over the face.

  9. Naddie says:

    I feel this way too when I remmember I can’t afford going to England. *sigh*

  10. LAK says:

    The way she talks about England is how I feel about it.

    I have a very strong attachment to my African heritage, BUT my attachment to England is greater. I feel lost away from England.

    • Truthful says:

      I am not british… but that’s the way I feel too about England… hence the monthly eurostar trip even for just a day…I might have been british in an other life, quite ironic for a french :D!

      • antipodean says:

        It amuses me to read of people who wish they lived in England. I always say, England is a lovely place to visit, but you really wouldn’t want to live there. I did live there for many, many years, and I have to say seventy five percent of the years I did were absolutely miserable. While there are many good aspects to life there, there are more that amount to high-density, stressful, inconvenient, and time sucking misery. The cure for wanting to live in England, is to live in England, if you will. When I moved to the US I truly thought I had died and gone to heaven. The quality of life here is second to none. We have made more progress here in the relatively short time we have been here, than all the years we spent in England, and it has become an attainable goal that we will be able to afford to retire.
        Just one example, try going to the grocery store to pick up a few bits and bobs. First of all you have to drive there, that can take a good thirty minutes or more. Then, horror of horrors, you have to find a car park, you usually have to circle the lot a few times before you can find one, and usually have a dust up or two with other shoppers jockeying for the same park. When/if you do get one, it is usually a good walk to the store. So, you navigate crowded, close together aisles to get your groceries, usually having to queue to get to the shelves, or worse the refrigerated items. When you have your shopping you then have to queue for the check out, sometimes it can be half way done the aisles of the shop, and people are climbing over you to get to the shelves, and ramming your ankles with their trolleys. When you get to the check out you have to wildly throw your shopping into your own bags, there are no packers usually, while those queued behind you are champing at the bit. Then you have to find your car, put your shopping in the boot, and return your cart to retrieve the coin you have to pay to get it in the first place. Try doing this with a baby, and a screaming toddler in tow, and you get a tiny glimpse of how pleasant it all is. Can you imagine how much fun Christmas shopping is when you multiply the experience by a hundred and eleventy?
        As I say, there are many good aspects to living in England, but be very careful what you wish for. We can’t all be whisked about in helicopters, or escorted by police cyclists, a la the BRF. As far as I am concerned the USA is the land of milk and honey, and I am grateful every day to be here.

      • Truthful says:

        @Antipodean: As the saying goes “to each their own”… for having lived in both (US and Britain) a few years I would pick England all the way… As I try to define goals and life expectations a little bit more complex than juts finding easy parking lots….

        As a French if it would be just for conveniences, advantages and quality of life my country is the land of milk and honey compared to the US on so many aspects.

        I love England and I love english people on so many levels that to me it’s England all the way!!!

      • LAK says:

        Antipodean: i’ve lived in 3 different states at one time or another and I visit quite frequently for work purposes, and I wouldn’t trade my life in England for life in the USA.

        I’m glad you found a home and are happy there, but it wasn’t and isn’t my cup of tea.

        Truthful: Funny, I quite love Paris and the south of France. If I had to choose a non European city to settle in, it would be Mumbai. Love that city too.

  11. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Life gets so complicated. I do look back sometimes and miss that girl who had no responsibility or great losses or illnesses or disappointments in her life. I was so light then. But everything that weighed me down also taught me something important. I wouldn’t be that girl again, but I do miss her at times. Sometimes I wish I could just be her for a little vacation.

    • Christin says:

      This reminds me of something my mother would say when I was a teen/20s. — Oh, to be young again, but only if I knew what I know now. She always used that disclaimer at the end.

      The hard roads in life are the best lessons and ‘exercises’ to build strength of character, I think. The last year has caused me to grow more than I have in the past decade or more, but it has come at a high price.

  12. Pat says:

    The way that I feel when I’m in England, is… desperation.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I think she just meant that her home sustains her in a deep way and she’s not comfortable anywhere else. I can understand that. I thought the “fing America” was unnecessary but I don’t think she meant anything other than its so far away.

      • We Are All Made of Stars says:

        Well I think sometimes the Brits assume that everyone abandons them after being successful in the US, even though I think desiring success in the states is rather common. It’s the push and pull of perceived traitordom.

      • Sixer says:

        It was just typical bad syntax from a Brit, GNAT. (We are very bad at word order and clauses). She didn’t mean f*cking as a descriptor of “America”; she meant it as an emphasis that she hasn’t run away from Britain.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        That’s what I thought, too – people think she’s so fing far way. I didn’t think she was trashing the US, just saying she needs to be at home. I get that.

  13. Lucy says:

    AMAZING. You keep doing you, baby girl.
    EDIT: You know who she reminds me of a little bit? Sade. Massive talent and extremely low profile.

  14. CarrieUK says:

    I must admit her language does have me a little ‘oh stop swearing luv’ but then I remember hat away from my kid I’m pretty much the same, it’s a British thing lol

    I feel he sane when away from home, I love the UK I really do, it’s my favorite time of year at the moment and so pretty, I can’t imagine living anywhere else!

    I like Adele but I do t get emotional over her music, I have no heart lol

  15. ladysussex says:

    Why are singers and actors always doing the “cover one eye” pose?

    • lower-case deb says:

      according to Joanna Lumley on Graham Norton, they have some standard poses like babydoll, bride to be, laughing at fruit, and surprised by fruit.

      nowadays on the red carpet there’s also the standard need the bathroom pose.

      not sure why, either. would love to know why the need for these stock poses.

    • LAK says:

      I-D magazine always does that with it’s cover subjects. It’s their signature and brand logo.

    • Zombie Shortcake says:

      As a salute to their Illuminati brothers and sisters.

  16. TeresaMaria says:

    As much as I enjoy this interview I can not understand one thing. Why does a beautiful intelligent and overall quite well-spoken woman use so much F-word? It seems to be like a norm these days, I can not find an interview without someone saying f… this or f… that. It is really vulgar when you start to think of it.

    • Jay says:

      Meh, the F word is just a word. Don’t get why people get so pearl clutchy about it.

      • TeresaMaria says:

        Nothing pearl clutchy about it, just feels vulgar and uneducated. Like a person is uncapable of expressing herself in any other way. There are so many adjectives to use instead of “f…king great” or ”f…king difficult”

  17. Louise says:

    I love her but rolling my eyes at most people giving her a pass for cursing CONSTANTLY – and using the most profane words – yet when Kristen Stewart curses she’s uneducated, crass, trying to be a badass etc. I already know i’m going to get ‘but ADELE IS SO LIKEABLE!!!!!!!!!! AND KSTEW IS THE WORST PERSON EVER!!!!!’ – whatever, it’s bullsh#t – it’s so hypocritical.

    I think the best thing about her being so done up (she had to get up at 3am to get her hair and face done for her breakfast radio slot at 8/9am!!) is that when she is not wearing make up and isn’t wearing her wigs/weaves she is unrecognizable to most people. There has to be a reason why there are no selfies of her if she goes to the local shop and park. Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran etc all are asked for selfies constantly.

    • perplexed says:

      Maybe context makes a difference. Whenever Kristen Stewart says something, I have no idea what point she’s trying to make in-between the F-Words, other than it’s probably something pretentious. With Adele (and Noel Gallagher — one of the biggest swearers of all time) I get what point they’re trying to make. In Noel Gallagher’s case, he makes me laugh with his humour. And Adele overall seems well-meaning underneath the swearing. I don’t get any of that from Krsten when she’s swearing.

      Mind you, I don’t think swearing is necessary and I think it’s annoying in real life but I do think some people pull it off better than others (I’m not one of those people).

      • Louise says:

        The context is the same – she’s being interviewed, she’s airing her opinions, she’s sprinkling her conversation with swear words (none of which are as profane as Adele’s). And this thing of not being able to understand what she’s saying…. i’m starting to think that Kristen isn’t the problem, because most people understand her just fine the majority of the time – either people just want an excuse to have a rant about her or they are not very bright themselves. You can agree or disagree with her, but the way people on this site act as if she is talking a foreign language seems disingenuous. If she was that hard to understand she wouldn’t have a career. She might not give ‘easy’ answers but she’s not talking a different language like some pretend. And Adele is ‘well-meaning’ underneath the swearing… as opposed to Kristen who is not?

        It just reeks of hypocrisy and double standards and as Kristen would say ‘fk that!!’

      • perplexed says:

        Maybe I mis-used the word context, but I what I mean is that I understand the context of what Adele is saying when she says she misses England or Noel Gallagher is making fun of the latest craze. In Kristen’s case, however, someone needs to translate to me what Kristen’s main point is because a lot of the time I don’t understand what point she’s trying her hardest to convey, except for the pretentious bits, which can be quite off-putting.

        Nothing Adele has said her has put me off. Most of what Noel Gallagher says doesn’t put me off, because there’s usually quite a bit of truth to what he’s saying (like when he makes fun of the person who said he’d never make it and he wants to show off his American Express gold-card to prove his point while swearing). Whereas what I do understand of what Kristen is saying does put me off. So maybe the swearing isn’t actually offending me, so much as what she’s actually saying (of what I do understand).

        I’m also only talking in relation to myself. I don’t think others have claimed they don’t understand what Kristen is saying — but for me, I often do have a hard time trying to understand her main point until everyone else on the site has explained it for me. I’ve literally had to ask “What is she trying to say?” And somebody helpfully clears it up for me. And then usually what it turns out she meant to say is kind of annoying (like the stuff she said about her movie in relation to Alzheimer’s disease).

        And perhaps it does reek of hypocrisy, but some people simply are more annoying. I count Kristen Stewart as one of those people from time to time. Maybe she’ll be less annoying when she’s 30.

  18. Miran says:

    She’s making me homesick for my own country, albeit it’s not England. As much as I enjoy and an invested in America I still sometimes get that feeling of not belonging.

    • vilebody says:

      She’s making me homesick for England when it’s not even my home haha! Off to Trader Joe’s to get some crumpets . . .

      Anyway, I hope you feel better about belonging, since I know it’s hard and never completely the same.

    • hmph says:

      Man, I wish I felt like I belonged somewhere. I have never felt like “This is home!!” anywhere, not in any place, or any person…I must be an alien. That would explain so much!

      • Christin says:

        I have felt that way at times, but found it can be mind over matter. Where I live (US), if your family doesn’t have 10 generations who lived in the town or end of the county, you don’t belong as easily.

        My parents moved just a county and a state line away from where our ancestors lived for generations, so it isn’t like we moved cross-country. I would like to think it’s changing, but time will tell.

  19. Mop top says:

    In my neck of the woods, we say “she’s just a good girl.”

  20. Snarky says:

    Desperation is what I feel when the radio overplays her music. If I never heard “Rolling in the Deep” or “Set Fire to the Rain” again, it would be too soon.