21 is the second studio album by English recording artist Adele. Released on 24 January 2011 in most of Europe, and on 22 February 2011 in North America, it was named after the age of the singer during its production. The album shares thefolk and Motown soul influences of her 2008 debut album 19, but was further inspired by the American country and Southern blues music to which she had been exposed during her 2008–2009 North American tour An Evening with Adele. Composed in the aftermath of the singer's separation from her partner, the album explores themes of anger, revenge, heartbreak, self-examination, and forgiveness.
Adele began writing 21 in April 2009, while still involved in the relationship that subsequently inspired the record. Dissatisfied with once again portraying herself as the musical tragedian of her debut, she had intended to compose a more upbeat and contemporary follow-up. However, studio sessions ended prematurely due to a lack of inspiration. She resumed production immediately after the breakdown of her relationship, channeling her heartbreak and depression into her songs. Adele collaborated with various songwriters and producers, including Columbia Records co-president Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Jim Abbiss, and Dan Wilson.
Praised by critics for its understated production, vintage authenticity, and Adele's vocal performance, 21 defied the modest commercial expectations of her indie record label XL Recordings and became a sleeper hit in 2011. The album topped the charts in more than 30 countries and appeared in the 2012 edition of the Guinness World Records. The United Kingdom's best-selling album of the 21st century, its 23-week tenure atop the UK Albums Chart is the longest by a female solo artist. In the United States the album held the top position for 24 weeks, longer than any other album since 1985, and was certified Diamond. Singles "Rolling in the Deep", "Someone like You" and "Set Fire to the Rain" became worldwide number-one hits, while "Rumour Has It" and "Turning Tables" charted in the top 20 across Europe and North America.
Globally, 21 was the biggest selling musical release for both 2011 and 2012, and helped revitalise lagging sales of the United States and UK music industry.Critics hailed the album as a shift from the overtly sexual and sonically bombastic status quo, and attributed its success to its deeply autobiographical yet universal songs. As of December 2012, the album has sold over 26.5 million copies worldwide according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 21 was nominated for the 2011 Mercury Prize and the following year won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and the BRIT Award for British Album of the Year
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, better known simply as Adele, is an English singer-songwriter, musician and multi-instrumentalist. Adele was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on Myspace in 2006. Wikipedia
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Four of the five best-selling albums in the U.S. in 2012 were from U.K. artists, including Mumford & Sons.
LONDON – The global success of acts One Direction and Adele helped nudge British artists to a record worldwide album sale share of 13.3 percent in 2012, the highest on record.
In the U.S. – described by the music industry trade body the BPI as the world’s most competitive music market – British music staged "something of an invasion," accounting for one in seven (13.7 percent) of artist albums sold in 2012, the biggest share on record.
Adele, One Direction’s two albums and Mumford & Sons claimed four of the five biggest-selling artist albums stateside last year.
Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sandealso made the global top 20.
Adele's 21 topped the global best seller chart for the second year running, the first album to do so resulting in the fact that U.K. acts have taken the title of world's top-selling album for five of the past six years, only interrupted by Eminem in 2010 with his album Recovery.
One Direction had the third and fourth biggest global sellers last year in Up All Night and Take Me Home respectively.
The BPI said sales of albums by U.K. artists accounted for 13.3 percent of the worldwide total in 2012, up on 2011's tally of 12.6 percent.
The record-setting highs garnered the attention of British prime minister David Cameron, who noted the valuable contribution to the economy British artists and tunes make.
"We should be extremely proud of how our world-leading music industry continues to go from strength to strength," Cameron said. "British music is enjoyed across the world and we will keep backing our creative industries that support jobs, create opportunities and contribute to the economy."
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor described music as being "fundamental to Britain's identity as a nation" noting that "the world is singing with us."
Said Taylor: "As music goes digital, Britain has the potential to be even more successful, connecting instantly with fans who love our music wherever they may live. The time is right for government to back innovative businesses like music that can lead the economy back to growth."
In the U.K. 52 percent of all albums sold were by British acts, with Emeli Sande's debut Our Version of Events the biggest seller of 2012.
Best selling albums globally, 2007-12
2012 Adele 21
2011 Adele 21
2010 Eminem Recovery
2009 Susan Boyle I Dreamed A Dream
2008 Coldplay Viva La Vida
2007 Amy Winehouse Back To Black.