Adele had a monumental fourth quarter, but what does the future have in store?
The queen of album sales opens up to Time about her decision to leave 25 off music streaming platforms, how motherhood changed her, why she prefers to be labeled as a package, a potential collaboration on her next studio album and the upcoming tour.
Here are some highlights:
“I believe music should be an event. For me, all albums that come out, I’m excited about leading up to release day. I don’t use streaming. I buy my music. I download it, and I buy a physical [copy] just to make up for the fact that someone else somewhere isn’t. It’s a bit disposable, streaming. I know that streaming music is the future, but it’s not the only way to consume music,” she said. “I can’t pledge allegiance to something that I don’t know how I feel about yet.”
Her decision to leave 25 off music streaming platforms:
“I’m proud of my decision,” she said. “I would have been proud even if the album flopped. I would have been proud because I stuck to my guns, and I think it’s really important as an artist that you do that.”
Swift’s stance on streaming:
“It was amazing,” she says of Swift’s stand. “I love her—how powerful she is. We’ll get lumped together now because of it, but I think we would both feel the ability to say yes or no to things even if we weren’t successful.”
People relating to her vulnerability:
“The fact that I’m not shy or embarrassed to be falling apart,” she says when asked. “Everyone falls apart, I think. A lot of people try to be brave and not shed a tear. Sometimes when you know someone else feels as s— as you do, or approaches things in a certain way just like you do, it makes you feel better about yourself. Even though my music is melancholy, there’s also joy in that. I hope I do bring joy to people’s lives, and not just sadness, but I think there’s there’s a comfort in it. But I honestly don’t know. If I knew, I would bottle it, and sell it to everyone else.”
She prefers to be a “package,” not a “brand.”
“I don’t like that word,” she says of “brand.” “It makes me sound like a fabric softener, or a packet of crisps. I’m not that. But there’s personality in an artist, and if you’re expecting people to let you in and give themselves to you, you have to be a whole package. I feel like some artists—and this isn’t shading any artist, just me trying to come up with my own explanation—the bigger they get, the more horrible they get, and the more unlikable. And I don’t care if you make an amazing album—if I don’t like you, I ain’t getting your record. I don’t want you being played in my house if I think you’re a bastard.”
How motherhood changed her:
“The other day I was saying, ‘Oh God, I’m finding this really hard again with a kid,’” she says. “I have no time for myself because in between doing this, all my spare time is with him. But then I realized, he’s been keeping me totally cool and calm about the whole thing… He makes me so proud of myself, and he makes me like myself so much. And I’ve always liked myself. I’ve never not liked myself. I don’t have hangups like that. But I’m so proud of myself that I made him in my belly. Cooked him in my belly and then he came out of me! This human who’s suddenly walking around and doing his own thing. I can’t wait to know who his best friends are going to be, who his girlfriend or his boyfriend is going to be or what movies he likes… Whatever my kid wants to do or be I will always support him no matter what.”
Possible collaboration on her next album:
“Whoever started that rumor must have been having a laugh because anyone who knows me knows that my main priority in life outside of my child is Beyoncé,” she says. “I really wanted to do a duet on this album. I spoke to someone about it who I wanted to do it with, and we got on like a house on fire, and then we just couldn’t logistically really get it to work. I can’t say who it is because I want to do it in the future. That’s the only reason. It wasn’t Beyoncé!”
Removing social media to focus on the album:
“Privacy is key to being able to write a real record, whether people like it or not,” she says. “My life has changed so much, but I’ve made the realest record I can make, and it’s the real part of me. How am I supposed to write a real record if I’m waiting for half a million likes on a f—ing photo? That ain’t real.”
Artists that are overexposed:
“I’m not throwing shade at anybody,” she says, “but when you have a six-month build up, don’t expect me to be there the day your album comes out, because I’m bored. It doesn’t matter how amazing it is. You put seven songs out. I’ve heard the album. I’ve heard everything you want to say about it. I’ve heard it all over radio. Don’t expect me to not lose interest before it’s even happened.”
The upcoming tour:
“I’m not just going to stand there!” she laughs. “I really would like to fly through the arena for the beginning, but no one’s having it.”
Read Adele’s full Time interview here.