Sade are named after singer and songwriter Helen Folasade Adu. Born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, Adu moved with her mother and brother to southeast England outside Colchester at the age of four. A lover of early-'70s soul, Adu tentatively became involved with music after enrolling at Saint Martin's School of Art to study fashion, when friends asked her to help with their group's vocals. After she finished her course work in 1981, she joined the band Pride and into 1983 toured the U.K. with the act. Their gigs eventually featured a mini-set during which Adu was granted the spotlight, backed by some of her bandmates on intimate jazz-inspired material. These segments, specifically "Smooth Operator" -- composed by Adu and the band's Ray St. John -- drew attention from label representatives. Adu was pursued as a solo act, but she signed with Epic after demanding to bring along some of her partners in Pride: bassist Paul S. Denman, keyboardist Andrew Hale, and saxophonist and guitarist Stuart Matthewman.
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