Monday, June 25, 2012
The Adele Biography Syndrome in Publishing
I'm a huge fan of Adele, so when I read somewhere recently there was a new bio out about the relatively short life she's lived so far, I was curious. I have eclectic taste in music, as I've posted before, and my favorite genre is rap music. But I do like that fact that Adele is bringing music with a melody back into style. She seems to be able to reach all generations and that's something that doesn't happen very often. There's another young singer just coming up that I think will be very big someday, and he happens to share my name. Trust me, he's good!
I'm also a huge fan of good non-fiction books...from memoir, to roman a clef, to bios. If they are well done, there's nothing more entertaining. Books like this take me away from fiction, which I'm always writing. I posted about a memoir written by RoseMarie Terenzio, a young woman who worked as JFK Jr.'s personal assistant while he was getting his magazine "George" off the ground, that I still consider one of my favorite books this year. It was honest, it was sad, it was exciting, and it wasn't trashy or dishy. And, JFK Jr was pushing forty years old at the time of his death, he was the son of two of the most celebrated people in world history, and he'd lived a fascinating life. As a professional, Ms. Terenzio has an excellent reputation. I didn't have to vet much to know that I wanted to read that book.
But it's different with a bio by Adele. She's only 24 and she's relatively new. She's also gone on record stating she's a very private person. My first thought is how much information could there be about her? So I started to search around for comments about the new bio that was released last week. For one thing I was interested in how Adele felt about the book. The best I could come up with was this:
New Book Promises To Tell All About Adele:
A new book promises to delve into the private life of none other than the ultra-private Adele. We don’t think she’s going to like this too much!
The Daily Mail reports that Marc Shapiro wrote an unauthorized biography on the starlet, due out next month. The book details Adele’s life from growing up with a single mom (or, as she would say, “mum”) in North London to her meteoric rise to superstardom. The bio will also cover her vocal cord issues as well as the ups and downs of her love life, the latter of which has been the subject of massive speculation ever since ’21′ first hit shelves.
Adele reportedly turned down numerous requests to be interviewed for the book, but Shapiro insists it’s not a gossipy piece … sort of. “Adele has still remained largely that salt-of-the-earth girl from Tottenham,” Shapiro said. “I tend to tell my stories without overt sensationalism.” Note the key word here, PopCrushers: “overt!” That means there may still be some subtle embellishments here and there.
The ‘Someone Like You’ singer hasn’t commented on the biography directly, but she has made it clear that while she appreciates her success and her fans, fame isn’t necessarily her thing. “I don’t want to be a celebrity,” she told Matt Lauer. “I don’t want to be in people’s faces, you know, constantly on covers of magazines that I haven’t even known I’m on.” She added, “I just wanna make music. I don’t want anyone chatting about me, really. I still hope I have a little bit of clout in 10 years. All I’ve ever wanted to do is sing.”
While I was searching for information about this book, I discovered it's not the first bio written about Adele. I honestly had no idea. It surprised me because, as I said, she's so young. So far, I've come up with at least five different bios by five different authors. I don't know who published them and I know nothing about the authors because I ultimately decided I'm not reading any of them at this point. From the reviews I've seen on a few (there aren't many), I'm not all that impressed. And I'm not linking to any of them in this post because I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that.
As I said, I'm a huge fan of non-fiction when done well. But I'm not the biggest fan of trends that seem to pop up every now and then in the publishing world. It's that brainstorming mentality that irritates me the most. I've seen that in publishing, too. I have this feeling someone, somewhere sat down in a cheesy mess of an office in one of New York's outer boroughs and said, "Okay, let's brainstorm. What's hot? What's trending? What can make us a fast buck? Huzzah! Let's write a bio about Adele."