“As everyone knows by now, the adorable Adele won big at the Grammys last night, scooping up six awards, including the big one, Album of the Year. The British chanteuse won every single award she was nominated for last night, made an adorable acceptance speech referring to her “rubbish relationship” (and snot), and she also turned in one of the best vocal performances of the night. And here’s one more reason to love her: She writes her own songs.
Ok, to be precise, Adele co-writes her own songs, working with songwriters including Ryan Tedder and Dan Wilson. But unlike pop stars like Katy Perry and Rihanna, Adele doesn’t pick a ready-made song that someone else has written from start to finish. She initiated the writing session for the song “Rolling in the Deep” after a breakup, for example, wanting to capture her roiling emotions in a song.
Paul Epworth, who produced two of the songs on the album and co-wrote three of them, spoke with The New York Times about Adele’s writing process. He called her very focused and professional and an absolute joy to work with. He said:
“I had all these chords I thought would be perfect for her. You know, little musical riffs or themes. I tried all these out on her for about two hours. She literally sat there with a pen in her hand staring blankly, and she just went, “I’m not feeling anything.” And then she went, “I’ve got this riff, this idea, that’s going round and round my head,” and I went, “Go on then, what is it?” And she went, [sings] “There’s a fire.””
Because of Adele’s astonishing voice, however, her songwriting skills are rarely the focus of the attention she receives. In an interview a few years ago with a newspaper in Denver, she said most listeners don’t focus primarily on her songwriting ability. “Most people don’t think I write my own songs,” she said. “They must just think I’m like everyone else. But I don’t mind, really. As long as I’m getting noticed for something.” After last night, there’s no doubt about that.