Singer/songwriter and Grammy Award winner Adele returned to the stage at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall to perform in front of a live audience after nearly a three-year hiatus. (The pre-recorded event aired on NBC on December 14). The moment the curtain rose, adoring fans cheered her return. Decked out from head to toe in a sparkly full-length gown and crowned with a stunning retro up do, Adele didn’t disappoint. She started her first song, Hello, slowly, softly, then rising to her signature high notes with abandon.
When she finished the first song, something refreshing happened: She made a goofy face, one that fully described what she was feeling emotionally (“Thank God I made it through that first song!”). It was genuine and spontaneous. The audience loved her honesty.
It got me thinking. Could you stand in front of your peers if you had been out of the picture for almost three years? Pick up right where you left off? Never miss a beat? She was nervous, to be sure, as she performed in front of 6,000 fans in person and millions of television viewers. She pushed through each perfectly performed song.
You may not think often enough about who is on your side, your advocates and supporters, allies and angels…people who love you, adore you, want to see you succeed, stand on the sidelines and cheer for you when you need it the most. Your fan base is right there, today, in front of you, all around you. Take a moment to see who those people are and be grateful.
Watching and listening to Adele’s performance drove home an important message for all professionals: You can build your fan base too. Here are some lessons I learned from Adele:
Be authentic. Adele is real. When she sings, you can feel her emotional connection to the song. She doesn’t just sing the lyrics; she feels her lived experiences.
Create a compelling style. Adele doesn’t make excuses for her style. She embraces it. She loves who she is. Retro style suits her to a tee.
Be honest. Adele told the audience how nervous she was, how her life has changed since she recorded specific songs filled with longing and pain. She kicked off her shoes when her feet hurt. The NBC network even had to bleep her a few times. The audience appreciated her openness.
Deliver. Clearly, Adele delivers her best to the audience. She doesn’t just show up, sing a few songs and go home. She puts her entire being into her work. Fans can tell the difference.
Grow! Fans have watched Adele grow as an artist and mature into adulthood right before their eyes. She came into the music scene in her late teens; she is now 27. She reminds you that true success requires growth and positive change along the way.
Appreciate your fans. “Thank you,” “I love you” were repeated throughout her performance with humility and appreciation. How often do you let your advocates, supporters, allies and angels know how much you appreciate, value and respect them? How do you treat them? How will you stay connected to your fan base?
Whether you like Adele’s music or not, you must admire her genuine love for her fans. She consistently delivers high energy performances and quality albums to her fan base. You can learn a lot by watching her in action.
Note: Adele broke all U.S. album sales records the first week of the release of her latest album “25″ in November, according to Billboard Magazine.