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Oscar adds gloss to Adele's success

Adele's latest performance and her Oscar win have further cemented her worldwide stardom.

She has become a sales phenomenon around the world, topping the best-selling album list in the US for a second year - without even releasing any new material.

And as one of the biggest names - and voices - on the planet, she was a natural choice to sing the theme to the latest James Bond movie Skyfall.

The track, which missed out on a number one, marked her return to recording since she underwent major surgery to stop her losing her voice forever as a result of a vocal cord haemorrhage in late 2011.

Chas Newkey-Burden, the author of a biography of the star, said her win was a testament to her "international influence".

He said: "It's astonishing that after so long out of the limelight, Adele is still picking up top awards every few weeks. The rest of the pop world should take note: true, assured talent always trumps desperation.

"The question is what she will do next. Her fans have been patient in their wait for new material and concerts. What with surgery and motherhood, she's had plenty of reason to take a break and step outside the spotlight. But sooner or later she will need to prove to the world she is an ambitious artist with a future, not a retired diva who occasionally rolls up at award ceremonies."

Adele, 24, has now accumulated sales of more than 10 million for her second album 21 in the US alone. It was the biggest seller in America for a second year running - the first time since Michael Jackson's Thriller, almost three decades ago, that one album topped the sales in two consecutive years.

At home it still continues to sell apace and in December it became the fourth biggest selling album of all time, shifting more than 4.59 million copies.

The Tottenham-born singer has told how 21 was inspired by a "rubbish relationship", but in the past few months she has found love with partner Simon Konecki, with whom she now has a son, apparently called Angelo although she has still to officially confirm the name.

Earlier this month she unveiled a tattoo of the letter A behind her ear, thought to be in honour of her child.

Adele - whose full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins - was born when her mother was just 18, and to a father she says she "never knew".

From an early age she wanted to sing and her mother regularly arranged the lamps in her house to form a spotlight so Adele could perform to family and friends.

Adele was offered a recording contract with XL Recordings after a friend posted her demos on MySpace soon after she graduated from the performing arts Brits School in Croydon in 2006.

Her debut album 19, also inspired by heartache, went straight in at number one following its release in 2008.

She had already been tipped for success after becoming the first winner of the new Critics' Choice Award at the Brits.

Her success went stratospheric after a spine-tingling performance of her single Someone Like You at the 2011 Brit Awards, which became the launchpad for 21.

Adele also enjoyed the longest run ever by a female at the top of the UK album charts, surpassing Madonna.

And she became the first woman to have two singles and two albums in the UK top five at the same time.

She appears to have bounced back from her medical woes in late 2011 when her throat problems - which had threatened to permanently wreck her singing voice - forced her to cancel a string of concerts

Adele - who won a record six Grammy Awards in the US last year - has said she will never write another break-up record as she is "done being a bitter witch".

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