In the span of less than two weeks, Adele has rocked the music world with the release of the first single off her upcoming third studio album, "25." Despite her immediate success, the singer remains cautious—fame terrifies her.
As the bare-faced damp-haired cover girl of the November issue of Rolling Stone, the Grammy-winning singer admits that the tragic end of music idol Amy Winehouse's life is a cautionary tale to her as she experiences this meteoric rise.
"People think I hate being famous and I don't. I'm really frightened of it," she said. "I think it's really toxic, and I think it's really easy to be dragged into it. Watching Amy [Winehouse] deteriorate is one of the reasons I'm a bit frightened. We were all very entertained by her being a mess. I was f----ing sad about it, but if someone showed me a picture of her looking bad, I'd look at it. If we hadn't looked, then they'd have stopped taking her picture. That level of attention is really frightening, especially if you don't live around all that showbiz stuff."
Adele is shaken by the repercussions of the spotlight, having escaped the glare of the cameras since the success of "Skyfall" in 2012 and finally reemerging with her first new single, "Hello." While her hiatus had little effect on the success of the first track, which has already beaten major records including most downloads in the first week of any song ever, her hideout has definitely affected her knowledge of what's "cool."
"I've lost touch with music. Not, like, all music...but I feel like I don't know what's going on in the charts and in popular culture."
Don't be too concerned, however. Adele clarifies she may not be up to date on the latest lingo, but she hasn't completely lost her mind. "I've not lost touch with, like, reality—just with what's current."
One modern marvel she has managed to acquire is her "squad."
"As 21 got bigger and bigger, I started getting back with all my old friends. I needed them big time," she said. "I've heard about a squad. I wish my squad was all supermodels. We are, in our brains. I guess I have my own squad."
While she's surrounded herself with people outside of the music industry, there is one special woman she would love to induct into her posse.
"It's not as interesting as some of the other squads that are around right now, but maybe Rihanna can be in my squad! That would be really cool. Oh, God. She's life itself, isn't she? I love her."
No matter who joins her team, Adele declares that she's a cheerleader for all women.
"I'm a feminist. I believe that everyone should be treated the same, including race and sexuality."
As for her music, she's purposely struck a different chord with her new set of tunes.
"It would be a bit tragic to do a heartbreak album again," she said. "A cliché, not even tragic! It'd be such a cliché. What if I was heartbroken? What the f--- would I write about? 'Cause I can't write a f----ing heartbreak record again! So, just flip and reverse it."
Despite the new direction, Adele admits she needed a bit of inspiration when working on the album, having just given birth to her first child, son Angelo, and figuring out her new life as a mother. She found her direction in Madonna's 1998 album "Ray of Light."
"You know what I found so amazing about that record? That's the record Madonna wrote after having her first child, and for me, it's her best. I was so all over the place after having a child, just because my chemicals were just hitting the f----ing roof and s--- like that. I was just drifting away, and I couldn't find that many examples for myself where I was like, 'F---, they truly came back to themselves,' until someone was like, 'Well, obviously, 'Ray of Light.'"
Three years after having her son, she is also speaking publicly about how he's changed her life.
"He's a little angel. All the things I really like about myself, he brings out in me, and he's the only person that tells me no. He completely rules me," she admitted. "He's the boss of me, and it's so funny for other people to watch, because I'm the boss of everything in my work life."
As for her partner, Simon Konecki, Adele is singing his praises.
"He's so supportive and that takes a very big man, because I'm very successful at what I do," she said. "My last boyfriend was uncomfortable with how successful I was and the fact that he had to share me with lots of people."
While their relationship is in a good place, the 27-year-old admits wedding bells will not be ringing any time soon for the couple.
"I have said a million times I'm not married and everyone still says we are. But, yeah, we're still together. We haven't broken up. We've never broken up. We've been together. We just haven't felt the need to get married. We've got a kid together. I feel like that's a big enough commitment."