Helen Folasade Adu, known as Sade (pronounced shar-day), was born in January 1959 in Ibadan, Nigeria. Her father, Bisi Adu, was a Nigerian lecturer in economics and her mother, Anee Hayes, was an English nurse. When Sade was four, her parents marriage faced tension and her mother moved back to England with Sade and her older brother Banji.
In 1977, Sade went to London and took a three-year course on fashion design at St. Martin's College. Afterwards, she set up her own fashion company which made mens clothes. She also did work as a photographic model.
At the same time, Sade became a member of a Latin soul group named Arriva. In this group, Sade sang the song 'Smooth Operator' which would become her first hit in the US. Sade then joined a band known as Pride, which was oriented around the concept of having sub-bands that would act as openers for the entire group. Sade and several members were offered record deals which they continued to reject as they wanted to get a deal for the entire group. However, they eventually gave up on this and splintered into the group called 'Sade.'
Sade's debut album, Diamond Life, came out in 1994.The album immediately set Sade up as it scored several hits. 'Your Love Is King' reached #54 on the Hot 100 and #35 on the R&B charts. 'Smooth Operator' reached #5 on the Hot 100 and reached #5 on the R&B charts, bringing Sade to the public eye. The album's third single, 'Hang On To Your Love,' reached #14 on the R&B charts. The album rode on the success of its singles and over time it eventually went 4X platinum.
Promise, Sade's sophomore album, continued the success with the singles 'The Sweetest Taboo,' and 'Never As Good As The First time.' The single 'The Sweetest Taboo,' was another top 5 hit for Sade on the Hot 100 and reached #3 on the R&B charts. 'Never As Good As The First Time' scored comparable success, reaching #20 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the R&B charts. Promise was Sade's first album to go 2X platinum.
1988 saw the release of Sade's third album, Stronger Than Pride. The album scored Sade her first #1 hit on the R&B charts with 'Paradise' and had hits with 'Nothing Can Come Between Us' which reached #3 on the R&B charts, and 'Turn My Back On You' which reached #12. Once again, Sade scored an album that went 3X platinum.
Despite another four year break between albums, Sade's fourth album, Love Deluxe, which came out in 1992, also scored tremendous success, going 4X platinum. The album did well because of its well-known single, 'No Ordinary Love' which reached #28 on the Hot 100 and #9 on the R&B charts. It's second single 'Kiss Of Life,' had strong success as well, reaching #10 on the R&B charts.
In 2000, Sade released her final album, Lovers Rock, and continued her past success. The album quickly went 2X platinum and eventually went 3X platinum. The album's biggest single, 'By Your Side' was a dance hit but didn't really make an impact on the other charts.
Sade moved to Madrid, Spain in 1986. In a castle in Madrid, Sade married a Spanish film-maker, Carlos Scola, in 1989. The marriage was short-lived however and Sade moved back to London.
Sade then moved to Jamaica in the mid 1990s where she lived with Bob Morgan, a Jamaican producer. She had a daughter in 1996.