Adele recently stopped by Beats 1 to chat with Zane Lowe on the eve of her hotly anticipated third album, 25. Apple Music shared a clip from the interview — where Adele shot down rumors that she nixed a collaboration with Beyoncé — but aired the hour-long conversation, which ranges from recording 25 to motherhood to possible touring plans, in full Wednesday afternoon.
“I started a couple years before I actually started, and I clearly wasn’t ready,” Adele said when asked about the four-year delay since 2011’s 21. “I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time. I had nothing to write about. I had no chord ideas. I wasn’t ready. My mind was with my kids. If I don’t care, I’m not going to sing.”
The singer says her creative tide turned when she recorded 25‘s “Remedy” with Ryan Tedder in New York. After that collaborations came quickly — Greg Kurstin (“Hello”), Tobias Jesso, Jr. (“When We Were Young”), Danger Mouse (“River Lea”), Bruno Mars (“All I Ask”) — and Adele shared stories about most of them with Lowe.
“He’s like a sponge,” she said of Danger Mouse, who has worked with artists from Beck to CeeLo Green. “He just soaks up everything. He’s lovely. Next time I think I’ll spend a month to six weeks working with him.” Adele told an anecdote about talking for five hours with Jesso before recording “When We Were Young” — and leaving a recorder on her phone to capture the entire creative process. “I didn’t want to make him feel awkward or nervous,” she said. “I will write with him for the rest of my career, I think.” While 25 is stacked with all-star tag teams, Adele explained why she turned down invitations to appear on the work of other musicians: “I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone. I don’t want to be on someone’s record and it’s shit.”
The conversation inevitably addressed Adele’s struggles with performing and the paparazzi, and how those struggles relate to her new life as a parent. “I found [the paparazzi] really difficult,” she told Lowe. “They were hiding — that’s what freaked me out. I was being followed. I didn’t think I was ever going to leave my house again.” To escape the scrutiny, she retreated to a countryside home where she spent her time “rambling around like a f–king weirdo.” Though Adele said she “wasn’t a recluse” she admitted to “wearing all white — like a ghost” and “being a bit bohemian by that point.”
“After a while I put my foot down, when [my son] was born,” Adele said of her relationship with the press. “They seem to be so respectful of me now.”
Despite the relaxed media scrutiny, Adele played her cards close to her chest when discussing touring. “I always wish I had the nerve to do a few more things,” she said. “I would love to tour, I really would.” But she listed anxiety on stage, vocal health, and her motherhood as reasons not to hit the road. “I went to Glastonbury to watch Kanye,” she told Lowe, explaining her anxiety surrounding addressing a crowd of thousands. “It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. I froze of fear.” As for her previous problems with her pipes, Adele criticized the modern music industry that throws singers “in out of nowhere to do this touring.” She added that, considering her history of vocal troubles, she’s wary about booking concerts, because “canceling those shows [in 2012] broke [her] heart.”
Adele also explained some of the inspirations for 25. One thing that didn’t inspire the songs? Parenthood, at least not directly. “It was boring for anyone who wasn’t his mum,” Adele told Lowe concerning songs she wrote, then scrapped, about becoming a mom. “A lot of my fans aren’t parents. A lot of my fans probably don’t want to be parents.” But she explained that her son gives her newfound purpose. “My kid makes me proud of myself,” she said. “I had no ambition before this album. I was never reaching for anything. Then when I had my kid … I want to show him what I manage to pull off.”
Although Adele isn’t on Twitter or watching Netflix in 2015, she did confirm some ways she’s still tapped in to the culture. When Lowe asked about her Instagram account, she modestly replied, “I need to make sure I don’t spam everyone.” But Lowe, like every listener, pressed Adele to post to the service when she told a story about her friends “secretly [filming her] doing Drake’s dance from “Hotline Bling” […] I get on my table and start doing it.”