Today In Music History (July 16) - The world meets Sade and "Diamond Life"

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    July 16, 1984 – Sade releases Diamond Life

    It is the album that introduced the world to a new force in popular music, and helped shepherd a wave of talented new artists who straddled the line between soul and jazz. The album was Diamond Life and the singer was Helen Folasade Adu, who went by the simple moniker Sade.

    Born in Nigeria and brought up in England, Sade showed talent in many areas of arts and design from a young age, and with her statuesque beauty was also a model. In her early 20s, she began a songwriting partnership with Stuart Matthewman, and one of their compositions, “Smooth Operator,” caught the attention of Epic Records, which signed Sade to a recording contract. She and Matthewman brought together a band, confusingly also called Sade, and they recorded what would become Diamond Life over the next year.

    July 16, 1984 – Sade releases Diamond Life

    It is the album that introduced the world to a new force in popular music, and helped shepherd a wave of talented new artists who straddled the line between soul and jazz. The album was Diamond Life and the singer was Helen Folasade Adu, who went by the simple moniker Sade.

    Born in Nigeria and brought up in England, Sade showed talent in many areas of arts and design from a young age, and with her statuesque beauty was also a model. In her early 20s, she began a songwriting partnership with Stuart Matthewman, and one of their compositions, “Smooth Operator,” caught the attention of Epic Records, which signed Sade to a recording contract. She and Matthewman brought together a band, confusingly also called Sade, and they recorded what would become Diamond Life over the next year.

    “Smooth Operator” was a revelation, like nothing else on the radio, and it was just a slice of the brilliance of Diamond Life, an album that smoothed out elements of 70s jazz, and added breezy slices of both R&B and island music to create a sophisticated sound that felt as comfortable on a yacht as it did in a club.

    Diamond Life helped to create the wave that would become the popular Smooth Jazz format over the next decade, and still stands today as one of the great albums of the 1980s. And it hit the world on this day in 1984.