No surprise: Adele is Vogue's latest cover star.
The wickedly candid "Hello" songstress, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, landed the spot on the fashion bible exactly four years after she last appeared on the glossy and discussed her priorities since having her son, Angelo, and blasting back into the spotlight with her powerhouse record "25."
"My main thing is Mum, then it's me, then it's work," she told the magazine's Hamish Bowles. "I think I had to take the right amount of time off to let people miss me."
Though she didn't miss being in the spotlight, she was "a bit frightened that I was never going to get back."
Now 27 and months removed from the November release of "25," the singer is readying for her return to the Grammy Awards stage this Monday. She isn't nominated this year but is set to perform. The multiple Grammy winner last appeared at the awards ceremony in January 2014, when she collected her 10th gramophone with "Skyfall," which also earned her an Oscar that year.
"I suppose there was lots riding on what to follow '21' up with," she said. "Once 'Hello' came out, I felt like I'd got nothing to prove. I'm just going to sing now because I want to, and I'll make records when I want to and not because someone is forcing me to do it. Not that anyone ever has."
The ballad-maker welcomed her son with boyfriend Simon Konecki, an investment banker-turned-philanthropist, in October 2012, and son and beau have helped her shoo away the drama she once thrived on.
"I can't have any other junk in my head to worry about as well," she said.
And Angelo makes her feel good about and "very proud" of herself: "When I became a parent, I felt like I was truly living. I had purpose, where before I didn't."
But don't expect much about her two leading men to spill over into her music. The album is primarily about her: songs about Angelo were set aside because she worried fans couldn't relate, and songs about Konecki were too personal to share. However, Angelo can be heard on "Sweetest Devotion," and the singer said that "Water Under the Bridge" is about Konecki.
"I was just shocked that all of a sudden I was 25!," she said. "But actually, I like myself more than ever. I feel so comfortable in my own skin. I really like how I look, I like who I am, I like everyone that I surround myself with."
Much of that has to do with a few other life-altering changes she made: She's healthier than ever, is protecting her throat by quitting smoking and has almost completely given up alcohol. Still, she's not without her vices: Her trimmer figure has led to a love of shopping, which she gleefully did with Bowles during their interview.
"I was trying to get some stamina for my tour," she said, "so I lost a bit of weight. Now I fit into normal, off-the-shelf clothes — which is really a big problem for me!"
Another fun tidbit? She revealed where she keeps the ribboned MBE medal presented to her by Prince Charles in 2013: It's mounted in a 19th century giltwood frame and hangs above her powder room toilet "next to me Aesop poo drops!"
The March issue hits newsstands on Feb. 23.
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