Helen Folasade Adu CBE (born 16 January 1959), known professionally as Sade Adu or simply Sade (shah-DAY), is a Nigerian-born British singer, songwriter, and actress, known as the lead singer of her eponymous band. One of the most successful British female artists in history, she is often recognised as an influence on contemporary music. Her influence on music was recognised in the UK with an award of the Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2002, and was made Commander in the 2017 Birthday Honours.
Sade was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, and brought up partly in Essex, England, from the age of four. She studied at Saint Martin's School of Art in London and gained modest recognition as a fashion designer and part-time model, prior to joining the band Pride in the early 1980s. After gaining attention as a performer, she formed the band Sade, and secured a recording contract with Epic Records in 1983. A year later the band released the album Diamond Life, which became one of the best-selling albums of the era, and the best-selling debut by a British female vocalist. In July 1985, Sade was among the performers at the Live Aid charity concert at Wembley Stadium, and the following year she appeared in the film Absolute Beginners. Following the band's third and fourth albums, Stronger Than Pride (1988) and Love Deluxe (1992), they went on hiatus after the birth of Sade's child, while the singer experienced widespread media coverage for unsubstantiated claims of mental health and addiction problems.
After a spell of eight years without an album, the band reunited in 1999, and released Lovers Rock in 2000. The album departed from the jazz-inspired inflections of their previous work, featuring mellower sounds and pop compositions. The band then underwent another hiatus, not producing music for another ten years until the release of Soldier of Love.