We’re a little over a week away from “Easy on Me,” Adele’s first new single in six years, but the cycle of Adele-ation has already begun. The British superstar graced the latest cover of Vogue, and in the accompanying cover story she spoke about her divorce, her son, and her upcoming album, which she said is about, “self-destruction, then self-reflection, and then sort of self-redemption.”
The album’s title hasn’t officially been announced. But billboards have been cropping up with the word “30,” that use an aesthetic matching her social media profiles. Since her previous albums were also named after her approximate age while making it (Adele is now 33), 30 has been all but confirmed.
“It’s sensitive for me, this record, just in how much I love it,” she said. “I always say that 21 doesn’t belong to me anymore. Everyone else took it into their hearts so much. I’m not letting go of this one. This is my album. I want to share myself with everyone, but I don’t think I’ll ever let this one go.”
She made the album with longtime collaborator Greg Kurstin, as well as Max Martin, Ludwig Göransson, and Inflo, a fast-rising producer best known for working with Little Simz and Sault. It contains no guest singers. “It’s not that I don’t want to,” Adele said. “It’s not calculated. It’s just never been right for some reason.”
The resulting record surprised Adele. “I assumed it would be about my divorce, but it’s kind of not.”
In part, that’s because she’s finally wrestling with issues that have dogged her for years, including her feelings around her estranged father. “Not being sure if someone who is supposed to love you loves you, and doesn’t prioritize you in any capacity when you’re little. You assume it and get used to it,” she explained. “So my relationship with men in general, my entire life, has always been: You’re going to hurt me, so I’ll hurt you first. It’s just toxic and prevents me from actually finding any happiness.”
But the divorce ultimately touched on every aspect of her life, from her album to her eight-year-old son Angelo. She said he asked, “Really good questions, really innocent questions, that I just don’t have an answer for,” such as, “‘Why can’t you still live together?’”
She and her ex-husband Simon Konecki divorced in 2021 after five years of marriage. He now lives across the street from Adele, in the hopes of providing the least possible interruption to their son’s life. The album contains a message for Angelo.
“I just felt like I wanted to explain to him, through this record, when he’s in his twenties or thirties, who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of my own happiness. It made him really unhappy sometimes. And that’s a real wound for me that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to heal.”
Finally, and with great reluctance, Adele spoke about the lifestyle changes that resulted in her losing 100 pounds in two years. She said she was working out two or even three times a day as a way to manage anxiety, become “strong,” and stay off her phone.
“I needed to get addicted to something to get my mind right,” she said. “It could have been knitting, but it wasn’t. People are shocked because I didn’t share my ‘journey.’ They’re used to people documenting everything on Instagram, and most people in my position would get a big deal with a diet brand. I couldn’t give a flying fuck. I did it for myself and not anyone else. So why would I ever share it? I don’t find it fascinating. It’s my body.”
Not for the first time in her career, millions of people have opinions on how Adele looks. “My body’s been objectified my entire career. It’s not just now. I understand why it’s a shock. I understand why some women especially were hurt.”
She continued, “Visually I represented a lot of women. But I’m still the same person. And the worst part of the whole thing was that the most brutal conversations were being had by other women about my body. I was very fucking disappointed with that. That hurt my feelings.”
But in the end, she’s done valuing other people’s opinions, and she’s finished with self-doubt. “I was drunk as a fart on 21; I really don’t remember much, I just remember being really sad. On 25, I was obviously sober as anything, because I was a new mum. That one, I was sort of more in tune with what I thought people might want or not want. With this one,” she said of her upcoming album, “I made the very conscious decision to be like, for the first time in my life, actually, ‘What do I want?’”
We’ll find out soon enough. “Easy on Me” arrives October 15th. And while it’s unclear if Adele plans to tour on 30, one report suggests she’s planning a 2022 Las Vegas residency.