Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is born in the hardscrabble North London community of Tottenham to art student Penny Adkins and Welsh plumber Mark Evans. Her father chooses the middle name Blue for his baby girl because of his love of blues music. When her parents split in the '90s, Adele settles in South London's West Norwood neighborhood, where she develops an eclectic taste for music, from the Spice Girls to Slipknot and Ella Fitzgerald to Etta James.
Adele is accepted to the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, a high school that has turned out musical superstars like Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis and Jessie J. In 2006, she records three songs for a class project and sends them to a friend, who then uploads the tracks to MySpace. The songs become an Internet sensation and land her a deal with XL Records.
Adele releases her debut album, 19, which boasts the soulful singles "Chasing Pavements" and "Hometown Glory." Rolling Stone raves that her voice is "a voluptuous, slightly parched alto that swooped and fluttered like a Dusty Springfield student trying to upstage her teacher, or at least update the rules."
At the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, the 20-year-old newcomer takes home the Grammy for best female pop vocal performance for her hit "Chasing Pavements" and the coveted best new artist trophy. "Thank you so much. I'm going to cry," she says during her acceptance speech.
On the strength of her first No. 1 U.S. single, "Rolling in the Deep," Adele skips the sophomore slump with her follow-up album, 21. Adele writes most of the songs over an intense three-week period. "It took a breakup to get me going. When I'm happy, I don't have much to write about," she says. The CD becomes the best-selling album of 2011.
Damage to her vocal cords forces Adele to cancel the remainder of her tour as she undergoes throat surgery. "I have absolutely no choice but to recuperate properly and fully, or I risk damaging my voice forever," she says of taking a break from performing.
After receiving six Grammy nominations for 21, Adele, 23, graces the cover of PEOPLE and steps out with new love Simon Konecki, 36, whom she meets over the summer. "Everyone in our lives separately and together wish us nothing but the best, and vice versa," she writes of her new romance.
Adele nails her first post-surgery performance at the Grammy Awards – and becomes the evening's big winner, collecting six awards. "It's been the most life-changing year," an emotional Adele says after picking up the night's biggest prize, album of the year.
Adele, 24, announces she's expecting her first child with boyfriend Simon Konecki on her website. "I wanted you to hear the news direct from me, obviously we’re over the moon and very excited but please respect our privacy at this precious time. Yours always, Adele xx," the singer writes.
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