Adele may be the toast of America with six Grammy awards and millions of sales, but the top earning British musician across the Atlantic last year was surprisingly a soft jazz veteran of more than 25 years.
Sade raked in $16.4 million last year after her first tour in North America for a decade and the release of the ultimate collection, eclipsing Adele, the only other brit in the top 10, who earned $13.1m.
Taylor Swift topped the list, according to trade publication Billboard’s calculations, with earnings of $35.7m. She was followed by Irish rockers, U2 on $32.1m and another country star, Kenny Chesnay, who earned $29.8m. Touring remained the biggest source of income for the top earners, although album sales saw Adele, The Beatles and Justin Bieber perform strongly.
Adele’s earnings would have been boosted had she not been forced to cancel 10 sold –out US shows after undergoing throat surgery. Yet, she broke records in the country as her album, ‘21’ spent 23 weeks at No.1, with album sales hitting 6.7million.
Sade, the sixth-highest earner in the list, is the name of the singer and songwriter behind the four-piece band of the same name. Their career has spanned more than a quarter of a century during which time they have sold more than 23 million albums.
The jazz singer was born Helen Folasade Adu in Ibadan, Nigeria and came to England at the age of 4 when her parents separated. She became a musician by chance, after friends approached her to sing while she was studying fashion.
She signed to Epic Records, bringing three members of the band, Pride with her, and had a top 10 hit with ‘Your love is King’ in 1984, followed by her first album ‘Diamond Life’. In 2008, after a hiatus of seven years, the band reformed to put together a new album, ‘Soldier of Love’. It was released worldwide in 2010 and deputed in the US at the top of the Billboard. The band won a Grammy for best R&B performance at last year’s ceremony, their fourth, and released ‘The Ultimate Collection’ in May.
The tour, opened by John Legend, raised a total of $45.7m in revenue, with the group taking home $15.4m. On Billboard’s top 40 music-money makers list, country singers had a particularly strong year with 11 artistes. Tailor Swift’s earnings came in at 17 per cent higher than the previous year’s winner, Lady Gaga. Last year, Lady Gaga who released ‘Born This Way’ in May, dropped to fourth with $25.4m.
The cast of hit TV show, ‘Glee’ proved the 11th highest musical earners in the US last year, thanks to a popular tour. The 23 arena concerts brought a close to 266,000 fans, as album sales hit 2.1million. The show also inspired the extraordinary revival of the band with the 12th –highest earnings, Journey, whose 1981 hit ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ saw an extraordinary revival going platinum in March. The band played 50 shows in the US last year and sold 703 thousand albums.
The only Briton to make the top 10 the previous year was McCartney, whose international tour saw him net $14.1m, although he was beaten by his old band, The Beatles. Sales soared after their back catalogue was re-mastered and made available on iTunes, with 1.2 million albums downloaded and 4.7 million individual tracks sold. Total US sales were valued at $6.7m.
• Culled from the Independent