By Sabrina Ford
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sade fans have had to learn to be very patient.
After a decade-long hiatus, the soulful jazz band led by Nigerian-born British singer Sade Adu, 53, returned to the stage with their "Bring Me Home" tour last year. And for those who couldn't make it to a show, there is now an album and film.
This week, Sade released "Bring Me Home - Live 2011," a live CD and concert film directed by frequent collaborator Sophie Muller shot over several stops on the tour.
The film includes behind-the-scenes footage of Adu and her bandmates rehearsing, hanging out on their tour bus and goofing off. Reuters spoke with Adu about her music, life on the road and how she spends her time away from the spotlight.
Q: "Bring Me Home" director Sophie Muller has directed most of your videos over the last 20 years. How has that creative relationship lasted so long?
A: "We met many years ago when we were both at (Central) Saint Martins (college). We used to sit in the library throwing things at each other. We would write really weird abstract poetry. I would write a line and then she would write a line, and then I'd write the next line and we'd put it together.
"Sophie was in and out of the studio when we were making the album. We can trust each other. It's not enough just to like each other or love each other. It's like if you're climbing up a rock and someone's got your rope, you have to know that they're not going to let you go."
Q: How was it having your 15-year-old daughter accompany you on tour?
A: "She loved the show. I was amazed at how many times she watched it. She came out on the road with me the last time but she was always on the bus. She was so young, just four. I didn't want her to see me on stage. I felt it would be too much for her to grasp because to her, I'm just her mommy. I thought it would overwhelm her. A long time after that she asked, ‘Mom are you famous? Are you really famous?'"
Q: How do you spend your time between projects? Are you always working on new material?
A: "I always sing because I listen to music at home and I sing. I'll sometimes write things down - thoughts or feelings that might trigger a song later on. My life between the albums is a collection of experiences, which I will one day write about. It's not like I'm a prolific writer who just writes, and writes and writes."
Q: There is a clip of you dancing to Snoop Dogg in the "Bring Me Home" behind-the-scenes footage. Do you really listen to hip-hop?
A: "I love hip-hop. I love the beats, I love the lyrics and I love the fact that it's from the heart. It's real and not just commercial. I listen to Snoop Dogg and Drake - they're great. I listen to a lot of hip-hop, so I do dance a lot. I actually love going out. I haven't lately, but I love getting on the dance floor."
Q: It's interesting you say you enjoy going out because you are often described as reclusive, so is that fair?
A: "I don't think I'm reclusive but I do avoid celebrity. I will go out to dance where no one bothers you because they're all doing their own thing. I don't consider myself a celebrity, I consider myself a songwriter and a singer - a person who makes music. I don't see why that's necessarily synonymous with giving your whole world away."
Q: How do you handle your sex symbol status? I know several guys who want to marry you.
A: "What are their addresses? (laughs) I don't think of that. When I perform I'm just expressing elements of myself, and I don't really stop and think about that stuff. But I ain't complainin'! It could be worse."
Q: At 53, you're often described as age defying. How do you stay so young?
A: "I think it's an energy thing. Your physical language determines how young you look moreso than if you have plastic surgery. You have to keep that love for what you do and, even in the battleground, keep your head up. So many people let go of that. They get past a certain age and feel they no longer belong. I never really feel that way. I always have something to add. It's still a battle to be won."
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)