Adele covers the September issue of ELLE, which is a big get for the magazine. And for Adele, the timing is perfect…because Adele is on a reset right now having recently announced her new Las Vegas residency dates so we’re watching a superstar do the work of turning around what she calls the sh-ttiest professional situation of her career. A big part of this ELLE feature is Adele explaining what happened, what led to the cancellation of her residency just one day before it was supposed to start.
Adele tells ELLE that in the end, the decision was a creative one, an artistic necessity. That wasn’t the show that best represented her and her music.
“There was just no soul in it,” she says. “The stage setup wasn’t right. It was very disconnected from me and my band, and it lacked intimacy. And maybe I tried too hard to give it those things in such a controlled environment.”
The piece goes on to describe the massive staging that took away the intimacy Adele wanted to achieve, how the scale of the initial setup compromised the authenticity that she’s known for. Contrast that with the details later on about how the new plans are taking shape, very much informed by Adele’s ideas, her imagination, and her fireplace.
Adele says that in the aftermath of the cancellation, she was embarrassed, she knew she’d disappointed people, but ultimately she knows that it was the right move, because what she’s been able to do since, having experienced the wrong version of what the show is, is figure out what the best version of the show can be. And she’s definitely building up what that version will look like come November.
As far as popstar pivots go, this is a good one. For me, as a fan, it doesn’t mean that the communication about the cancellation wasn’t all kinds of f-cked up and the way that was handled was amateur hour, but now, after all this time has passed, and after two successful shows at home in London this summer, Adele is rewriting the headline and building anticipation for her residency. Will it work? Is it working?
Everyone I know who wanted to go the first time around still wants to go. We rebooked our tickets last week – and it just happens that we got ours for January 20th, which will be the exact one year anniversary of the day she announced the cancellation. Will that, ironically, make for an even better show?
The takeaway here then is the Show Your Work of Adele’s re-messaging and so far, the work is solid. She’s doing it in a fashion magazine, dressing up her explanation in pretty clothes and great hair and makeup and also serving up some personal details so that the attention isn’t entirely on what happened last January with the residency, revealing that she is “madly in love” with Rich Paul:
“I’ve never been in love like this. I’m obsessed with him.”
They live together now. She’s renovating their new home and have blended their families. She coyly says she’s not engaged but also confirms she does indeed want to be married again and definitely wants more children. These will be the dominant headlines coming out of this ELLE feature and so, to return to the point about how Team Adele is running this media play ahead to reframe the coverage leading up to her Vegas residency – so far so good.