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What Working With Adele Taught Me About Anxiety & Reclaiming Your Power

Updated: Jun 22

Adele looking to Sharleen on the stage

Photo: A screenshot from a Youtube video - Adele - If it Hadn't Been for Love (Royal Albert Hall) (Extended)

I absolutely loved working with Adele. It was the easiest gig I've ever sung on, as she's so easy to get along with. That experience was really beautiful. I caught myself laughing my head off on stage as Adele is so hilarious.

Before the world knew that she had stage fright, those closest to her knew. I discovered how afraid Adele was the moment before we were due to go on stage in Utah in 2011. It was such a small gesture. We were backstage about to go on, and I looked at her and just gave her a small smile. She quickly looked away from me. At the time, I thought something was wrong. And I remember one of the other band members just said, “Oh, don't worry. She has stage fright.” And then I started to notice other things.

At the time, she would shy away from singing at large venues. If she was singing in a large venue to a large amount of people, she would request the lighting engineer to turn up the lights, so that she could see everybody. It seemed to settle her. I noticed how nervous she got before big shows, which she does a lot of. I developed a great deal of respect for her group. Even her comedy seemed to be an attempt to engage with the audience and to study her nerves to settle them.

My respect grew for her because she was doing that old thing of feeling the fear and doing it anyway. But the scale of her fear and the scale of her doing it anyway were both huge. Adele has always sung in huge venues around the world. She sells out her shows due to her penmanship, voice, and presence being magical.

Why I admire Adele the most is her ability to carry on, even as she has practiced being afraid and doing it anyway. The fear seems to have diminished as she starts to play in larger venues. I noticed that you can practice being at your most terrified and practice it over and over again. Running with scissors, jumping in the deep end. Being that terrified, but driven by something deeper. Driven by the love of self-expression, the desire, the compulsion, the need to voice your thoughts and sing. And this is the essence of thriving.

My question to you is: how determined are you to thrive even in the midst of your deepest fear?

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