Perfect Path With her mom along for support, Adele took the stage in front of the school’s leaders and renowned teachers. Shoving aside the nerves that simmered inside of her, ignoring the racing heartbeat, and not fully grasping how pivotal a moment this was in her young life, she was marvelous amid the suffocating pressure. She sang the StevieWonder ballad “Free” and played “Tumbledown Blues” on the clarinet, impressing the faculty who recognized her unique talents immediately and were thrilled to welcome her to their school. Soon, Adele was walking through the front doors as a student, and her learning and development accelerated. Surrounded by like-minded students with big dreams and immense talent, she quickly established herself as one of the best of the bunch. There were classes devoted to learning how to use a recording studio, legal contracts, budgets, and more. She loved all of them, and suddenly, she had a spring in her step, a smile on her face, and a warm feeling in her heart that she had found the perfect path for her life. While most teens love Fridays because it marks the weekend’s arrival with no school, Adele was different. She cherishedThursdays because that’s when the school devoted five straight hours to music. Even after school, music consumed her life. During a visit to a record store, she picked up a couple of albums by jazz singers Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James, well known for their vocal versatility. She listened, learned, and loved their music. Their sultry sounds cast a spell on the music-loving teenager, who was happy to find more amazing female voices that would help shape, mold, and define her upcoming music career. “There was no musical heritage in our family. Chart music was all I ever knew. So when I listened to the Etta James and the Ella Fitzgerald, it sounds so cheesy, but it was like an awakening. I was like, oh, right, some people have proper longevity and are legends. I was so inspired that as a 15-year-old, I was listening to music that had been made in the ‘40s.”



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