OPINION: That time I got to interview Adele (because no one else wanted to) by Carmela Contarino
It is funny to think six years ago I was asked to go back late into the radio station on a Friday night to interview this ‘new’ artist, Adele.
The breakfast and drive shows weren’t interested, as her single Rolling In The Deep had only just started getting airplay in Australia.
“You just do it, and we’ll use a grab from it on Monday, so don’t talk over her too much,” they said. You can imagine now that any radio show in Australia would be coming in, even on the weekend, just to get their ‘Adele exclusive’. Especially since now she belongs to the elite club of artists, who don’t need to do press to sell records or sell out shows.
After being a part of a breakfast team on an opposing network for two years prior, I had only been at this particular radio station for a couple of weeks. I was the new workday announcer. I tried to play it cool, act like it was no big deal because that’s how everyone at this radio station acted, about everything, but secretly I was dying. I had been obsessed with Adele since her debut album, 19.
It had been a while since I had interviewed someone on my own, let alone someone whose album 21 I had on repeat from the moment the music department chucked it in my direction. I couldn’t believe it, my hands shaking as I pulled up the fader, waiting for the call from London to come through.
At first, it was awkward; to admit I was nervous would be an understatement. I felt like I was going to vomit at any given moment. I was only 24 years of age. I was young, green and thought to be funny was the answer to a good interview, so I made lame jokes about how I wanted to marry her and call my first child ‘Adele’ even if it was a boy, you could hear her iconic laugh, that she was tolerating me.
Thankfully after a few minutes, I warmed up, she relaxed, and it was like talking to your best friend after three bottles of red wine.
Adele was ridiculously open about her unfortunate love life, unpredictable rise to fame, her deep affection for cigarettes, champagne and how lonely she felt as things in her professional life started to take off in America. And by ‘take off’, her album going to #1, but the most alarming part was, she swore she’d never come to Australia.
“They’d have to give me a sleeping pill and tell me we’re going to Berlin.”
I was gutted. She continued about her fear of flying and stage fright and how the two things combined didn’t cater for her desired career choice.
The bit that resonated with me, though, was not just her unwavering passion for the opposite sex, considering she was promoting a break-up album but her admiration for pop music and women, especially Rihanna.
Yep, unlike most, I didn’t need to see her speech at the Grammys, to know Adele championed women. It was evident from 6 years ago that she was a cheerleader, a warrior, the leader of the pack when it came to supporting and honouring women.
Adele squealed at the thought of collaborating with Rihanna, gushed about when she saw her perform live with her girlfriends, even went on about wanting Rhianna’s thighs wrapped around her head. Adele absolutely refused to say her music was more superior, more important or more relevant than any other pop artist; it all infatuated her.
Fast forward a few years later and here I was, in the car with my Mum, both of us on our way to Domain Stadium in Perth.
It was not only Adele’s first show in Australia but her first stadium show. I had goose bumps; all those feelings from that eerie cold night in the studio came back. Was this happening? Is she bloody here? I felt nostalgic, wanting to listen back to my interview with her but knew that it was no longer on that radio station’s website and that I never got around to saving it. I thought how damn lucky I was to have the chance to speak to her; the chance no one else deemed was significant enough for themselves.
It made me also think how much can change. Adele wasn’t 22 anymore; she was now 28, a mother, an icon, a multi-award winning, platinum selling artist – the kind of artist that now jumped on planes and saw various parts of the world.
But the one thing you could tell was the still same, as she swanned around the stage in Subiaco that night, dropping profanities every couple of minutes, was that she obviously in many ways was still the woman I spoke to on the phone that night. The woman, who before her music took over the world, was filled with incredible gusto, vigour and honesty.
A woman that continues to remind all women of all ages that no matter what you look like, sound like, that no matter where you’re from or where you’re going that, we all need to band together.
Men are wonderful, glorious creatures that we couldn’t do without, but we are only as strong as the women around us, and the women we choose to surround ourselves with.
These women make us better women. Adele, thank you for making me a better woman and thank you to the woman who decided to put my Adele interview on her YouTube channel, so I can now relive that magical first night with her, over and over again.
Hear Carmela on Triple M Southwest weekdays between 9am and 2pm.