The entertainment industry can be particularly brutal when it comes to physical attributes and how strategically placed each feature is in comparison to what is deemed the “industry standard”.

But do those standards apply in the music industry? Some may argue that it depends on the genre. Adele is an international superstar thanks to her sultry voice and pop infused jazzy numbers. She is definitely not a size 2 or 4, nor does she have the kind of figure that would get her the kind of attention that her other counterparts like Beyonce, Kelly Rowland or Taylor Swift garner on a daily basis. But she still manages to woo audiences across the globe without relying heavily on her physical appeal. Could she have found such success if she were trying to break into the pop music genre? Probably not. Music executives would have had a hard time convincing the record labels that despite her size, she could be a viable artist.

So much about the music industry revolves around selling an image; we see how well that has worked out for Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and even Nicki Minaj. The music of course has to be laced with a catchy hook and clever verses but most importantly, the artist especially if she is a female, has to have some level of sexual prowess that will undoubtedly captivate her audience and guarantee her legions of fans.

Adele has been lucky enough to create a niche for herself that allows her to escape the public scrutiny of her figure which in turn has encouraged more appreciation for her music and her staggering wealth of talent. Former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, is the most successful Idol winner to date and even with the chart topping hits, she was still battling criticism from her record label who never stopped pressuring her about the extra pounds. After parting ways with her management company, she received offers from Jive Records and Interscope Records which she promptly turned down, proving that she was determined not to be re-tooled and re-vamped to please even the bigger and more successful record companies. Obviously her confidence level leaves her no room for self-doubt or low self-esteem. But not everyone can fight through the hale of judgments and come out on top. Christina Aguilera was flying high almost a decade ago but her career has dipped sharply, and her album sales have left a lot to be desired. Her growing figure has also made headlines as well as her ill-fated marriage. As of now she could easily be branded a “has been”. With the arrival of Lady Gaga all bets were off and the thin sleek template with flexibility and grace is remaining the staple for all wannabe stars to follow.

Fame is definitely not for the faint at heart but should only be reserved for the physically endowed, talent be damned?

  • Perverted Alchemist

    Has anyone ever noticed that when they talk about the whole weight issue in the entertainment industry, Adele’s name always comes up in reference to breaking that glass ceiling for full figured singers? Sorry, but Kelly Price should get the credit for that. Without her, there would be no Adele. I’m just making an observation…

  • NY’s Finest

    Fame should have nothing at all to do with a person’s appearance, it should be based solely on talent. We have too many pretty untalented “entertainers” already.

  • anon

    Hasn’t Adele recently lost a lot of weight tough?

  • Penny Silvia

    Uh I wouldnt say that Kelly Price deserves it either but Adele has gotten alot further than any artist who isnt a size 6 or less.

  • Mimi

    What I’ve noticed is that whenver I see a picture of Adele, it’s only her face. It’s never her entire body. Personally, when it comes to my music, I don’t care if you look like the Elephant Man, if you move my spirit, I’ll support you.

  • ThisIshRightHere

    so…ya’ll aren’t familiar with Jill Scott? Also, even when she was larger I do believe that Jilly was a legitimate sex symbol.

  • ThisIshRightHere

    Marsha Ambrosius, too.

  • Gigi Young

    You neglect to mention that this article focuses on white artists. Sure, overweight black singers aren’t usually pop/crossover stars, but they can break into the biz easier than overweight white singers.

    And Christina Aguilera has had multiple hits over the past ten years. It was just her 2010 release, Bionic, that underwhelmed the critics and the public (due in part to the illogical Lady Gaga comparisons, which you just indulged in), and her five year marriage was not “ill-fated”.

  • Jamilah

    I am sure the author focused on Adele – because she has had MAJOR success in the failing music industry and has outsold all other artist in her genre. And Adele has succeeded in a very body conscious industry. At this time, that is just not happening for almost anyone.

  • http://citygirlusa.blogspot.com/ Adrienne

    I wouldn’t say that Adele has totally escaped scrutiny about her weight. It’s more that her image is carefully crafted so that people see her full figure less often. For instance, with the exception of her recent Cosmo cover, publicity and editorial magazine shots are always focused on her bust or higher. Even her CD covers only feature her face. And her videos usually do the same, where shots of her full body are rare.

  • bosslady

    Chrisitna Aguliera?! She put on abit of weight of recently but she is by no means big. But yes, there have been many larger black singers, Aretha, Jill Scott, etc. To be honest although the enterntainment industry is fickle, as long as an artist has actual talent and is marketed well people will support them.

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    Really? Of all the artists to use for the subject of this article, and on this site no less, Adele was chosen? With a long and rich history of successful black singers who were/are “plus” sized? It would have been better off talking about if she was getting a pass because of her race on here. This comes off as a promo spot, just go ahead and say what you really want to say, “I love Adele’s music and you should check it out.”

  • CaliDreaming86

    Without Kelly price, there would be no Adele? Are you serious? There are more people who know about and listen to Adele’s music than Kelly Price. I would have to say that your observation is very skewed.

  • bosslady

    Haha, I agree!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alexandra-Dona-Romain/1193683548 Alexandra Dona Romain

    I had to google Kelly Price.
    Soo yeaaa

  • sweetpisces

    too much on appearance and too little on talent. that’s how the industry is.

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    I had to google Adele……….soooooooo

  • http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2011/11/do-overweight-stars-get-to-shine-in-the-music-industry/?replytocom=179424#respond Mimi

    Preach!

  • http://LesBoom.Tumblr.Com LesBoom

    The Kelly Price comment LOL!!!!

    Wow…Ok.

    I like Adele. I don’t care about her weight. I like her music. I especially love what she said in her Rolling Stone interview:

    “I love seeing Katy Perry’s boobs and bum. Love it. But that’s not what my music is about. I don’t make music for eyes. I make music for ears.”

    That low key read. Welcome to class girls. Lol.

    And for the record there would be no Adele if there were no Amy Jade Winehouse. Get into all of that.

  • isolde

    X-tina shouldn’t even be mentioned in this article at all, because she wasn’t putting on weight until after Bionic flopped. So, it’s not like her weight gain affected her brand marketability or her sales. Fat X-tina also managed to do something that skinny X-tina couldn’t do last year . . . score a #1 with Moves Like Jagger. That song wouldn’t have gone to #1 without her, and that just proves that people are still here for her, no matter what shady sh*t Messy Monster and her freakshow minions try to pull.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    Christina Aguilera’s voice is SUPERIOR and will always take precedence over all women in this article. No sense comparing her talent to theirs.

    As for Adele, she sells her voice, not so much her image. And I think the team behind her has done a great job with presenting her as an artist, rather than a commodity fetish that “leaves much to be desired.”

  • isolde

    Actually, it was

    “I love seeing Lady Gaga’s boobs and bum. I love seeing Katy Perry’s boobs and bum. Love it. But that’s not what my music is about . . .”

    And yeah, I remember that down low shade that Adele threw at Gaga and Katy. That’s how all that drama started between Adele and Gaga’s stans (the whole “Born this Weight” controversey),and I know that I’m not the only person that was sad to see Amy pass before finishing that third album, so Adele’s wig could get snatched clean off.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    THIS ISH RIGHT HERE EXACTLY!!

    What really irks me is that Adele’s talent stretches only so far and she’s become a household name in less than a year. Philly Jilly is a writer, actress, and musician and has been grinding in the game for like OVER 10 YEARS!! And I’m afraid many Adele listeners never heard of her.

    #teamtrueneosoul

  • B

    Lol @Clnmike. Nicely played. :) For the record, I don’t think the glass ceiling is broken so I don’t think either Adele or Kelly deserve credit.

  • B

    +1. I agree.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    I’m sooo into it Les Boom. You remember that Duffy chick? Who is that?? Yeah…the white british soul singer has been done and standardized. Everyone else is a follower.

  • bosslady

    @ isolde, I’m by no means a Lady Gaga fan (actually, I outright don’t get the hype) but I agree, what Adele said was definitely shade, and quite unnecessary…I think showing a little flesh is fine and I’m sure if she was slimmer she would too, so far as you can back it up with talent (eg. Beyonce) I know speaking for myself, as a women who is confident in their body I occasionally show a little flesh, but it’s when you are a little lacking in the talent department and thus compensate by selling your body (Rihanna) that is a bigger issue.

  • African Mami

    The ugly truth is that image is everything, weight is part of it. Look at Rihanna, she makes my voice look like Aretha Franklin’s and Whitney Houston’s in her glory days. That girl CANNOT sing! (Brit, I know you’s a STAN but girrrrrrrrrrrl, uh uh dis girl right hurrrrrrr is a mess). But because she has an IT body and a hypersexualized image, she can sell arenas. Trust and believe if this Bajan girl was a size Adele, or Aretha Franklin at the moment, she would not be selling nothing. Ugly truth but it needs to be told.

    Adele is my girl!!!!!!! 2012 should be her year! I love when international artistes get shine!!!!!!!!

    Your voice only takes you so far, but your image (weight, sexuality) takes you the extra mile. cue Jazmine Sullivan.

  • CaliDreaming86

    Marlowe, it sounds as if you know nothing really about Adele. She writes her own music and she can actually sing! Adele and Jill Scott don’t necessarily share the same fan base, which is why people who listen to Adele may not have heard of Jill Scott. Not only that, but Jill Scott doesn’t have the crossover appeal that Adele does.

  • CaliDreaming86

    Marlowe, again, you seem to know nothing about the artists you speak of. Duffy and Adele are both from the UK. While Duffy may not have reached the same amount of popularity as other singers, singers like her are still very popular in their home country.

  • CaliDreaming86

    Say what you want, but Adele is a way bigger star than Kelly Price.

  • damidwif

    maybe in floetry but not now

  • damidwif

    adele is played on urban, hip hop and r& b stations ( at least in a major u.s. city with which i am affiliated). even i was shocked because normally, i would turn to a mixed station (pop, hip hop) to hear something like that

    other plus sized black singers in reverse, not so much

    but it could easily be a sign of the times

  • isolde

    @bosslady

    Actually, both Adele and I are in the “navy,” and Rihanna’s use of sexuality isn’t all that different from her contemporaries. Rihanna may be an inconsistent live performer, but suggesting that all she has to rely on is her body as a selling point is inaccurate because you can’t see Rihanna when her songs play on the radio, and yet, they smash anyway over and over and over again. Beyonce’s had quite a few garter belts and lingerie sets on display this era, yet 4 isn’t selling well. All the top pop women in the industry bring something unique to the market. That’s the only way to stay afloat in this age, and the ones that do have staying power are bringing more to the table than just sex.

    What fascinates me about those who make this assertion about Rihanna only selling sex is that they seem to completely overlook what she achieved over the last year with LOUD. If I had a dollar for every person that said that Lady Gaga was going to topple RIhanna’s career or that Rihanna was gonna be put on mute in 2011 because Britney, Gaga, and Bey were releasing albums this year, and yet Rihanna’s still here causing meltdowns and making gurls mad.

    We’re not going to know where Adele really fits into the music landscape until the next LP, and sometimes comments like the one she made in Rolling Stone come back to bite you.

  • Perverted Alchemist

    CaliDreaming86, reading comprehension is your friend. I’m assuming you are very young- like most of the people here on Clutch. Do the names Martha Wash and Ann Wilson ring bells to you? Probably not…

  • bosslady

    @ isolde,

    What you said about Rihanna is very true, I was playing devils advocate, because as I said I am neither a fan or hater. Rihanna has achieved a lot and she should be proud of herself, especially being so young. With regards to her music, I actuallly love most of it, out of her Bey and Gaga, in the past year she has brought out more consistently good hits and she has developed as an artist, however the point I was making still stands, in that she hasn’t got the same intrinsic singing talent/ability as the others, which is why unlike the others whose concert tickets fly off the shelf she struggles in that area. Sounding good on CD, and having a great team of songwriters and PR people is half the battle but sounding good live and performing, only few can do.

  • Timcampi

    You guys need some Beth Ditto in your life.

  • mo

    I totally agree that Jill Scott does not have the crossover appeal. You rarely hear her music on any station besides the Urban/R&B ones. She is one of “our” well known stars that we tend to forget are not known by the masses. I don’t necessarily see this as a negative as I think she makes a type of music that appeals to a narrower base. Adele actually fit into this catagory somewhat until she had her breakout with “Rolling In The Deep”, a great song, that while soulful, was also quite pop and allowed people to become curious about the rest of her work.

    Jill Scott, Jazmine Sullivan, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele and Kelly Price make music that is more soul/neo soul than pop so that limits their mass appeal as much as their appearance might. Notice how Marsha Ambrosius lost weight and did not really gain a ton of mainstream fans.

  • Perverted Alchemist

    CaliDreaming86, reading comprehension is your friend. If you know about the history of music- and I’m assuming that you are much too young to know about it- then what I said holds weight. Are you familiar with the stories of Martha Wash or Ann Wilson of Heart? No? Then get back to me when you actually do…

  • CaliDreaming86

    Hahahahaha! Okay, maybe you couldn’t think of anything better than to try an attack my reading skills and age while making statements that have no relation to your original comment. Reading comprehension is YOUR friend because I stated to MARLOWE that he/she knows nothing about the artist who she/he were speaking of, not the history of music.

    *Are you Marlowe AND Perveted Alchemist?

  • Perverted Alchemist

    Try again, kiddo, I’m Perverted Alchemist- the one and only and there is no other. I don’t have to use another alias to get at someone, that’s cowardice in my opinion. The reason why cats repeatedly go in on you is that you repeatedly post stuff of a ridiculous nature- when it isn’t incoherent ramblings (Go and read all of your other posts if you think I’m making this up). Now back to the topic at hand…

    Let’s play a little game called follow the leader here. Prior to 1998, how many full figured artists in the history of music were succesful in R&B? I can name several full figured women in rock and roll who were- but not without scrutiny- examples include the aforementioned Ann Wilson of Heart, Alison Moyet of Yaz, Deborah Iyall of Romeo Void. Even then, they still faced scrutiny over their weight. In fact, Heart during their Capitol Records tenure in the mid to late 80′s chose to do close ups on Ann Wilson’s face, because they felt she would be a hindrance to the band’s success because of her size- despite the fact that she was the primary lead singer of the band!!! They even pressured her to lose weight at the height of her fame. The videos for “These Dreams” and “Alone” prove that point clearly as you rarely see Ann below her shoulders, and when they did show her figure, it was done at a distance to make her appear smaller, and notice in a lot of Heart’s videos, she was always dressed in all Black- as you should know, Black makes a person look smaller.

    In R&B- especially in the 80′s when music videos were getting popular- there were not too many successful full figured R&B singers. Aretha Franklin didn’t count because at the time she wasn’t the size that she is now. There were many singers of that time who were talented, but couldn’t break through to the public on account of their size. The most obvious examples are former Weather Girls singer Martha Wash, Quincy Jones protege Patti Austin, Phyllis Hyman and Teddy Riley protege Tammy Lucas. We all know about the hell Martha and Phyllis endured due to their weight issues. Martha Wash was replaced with skinny models in hit videos by C&C Music Factory and Black Box (where she was replaced by a model who lip-synched her vocals and couldn’t speak one word of the English language. So, when Kelly Price came along, she made it a point to appear in her videos the way she was- as a full figured woman who could sing her butt off. Let’s be honest, if Kelly Price and Jill Scott hadn’t come along, do you really think people would take Adele at face value the way they did Kelly and Jill? I think not…

  • isolde

    Most of the people who have bought Adele’s album don’t even know who Kelly Price is. When Kelly was hot, she was only known in R&B niche circles. Kelly was local. No one was checking for her outside the US. Jill Scott, too. Adele is an international star. Even if you were to take Adele’s US sales off the table, 21 would still have shifted 5M+ copies from markets that have never heard of Kelly Price. The Weather Girls, with their one massive hit, have more notoriety than Kelly, ditto for Jennifer Holiday. Kelly Price has nothing to do with Adele’s success. And that’s real.

  • Perverted Alchemist

    What Adele makes is British pop music- much like Amy Winehouse and Duffy. As for actual British soul? I’ll take Five Star, Loose Ends, Mica Paris, Junior Giscombe and Imagination over those one-dimensional broads any day of the week.

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    MANY ARTISTS write and “sing” their songs. Until I see more than those two elements in your package as an artist, to me, your talent only stretches but so far. Adele only goes so far with me.

    I have listened to Adele’s music (along with having some vocal training) to state my opinion. Thank you.

    As for Jill Scott, I don’ t believe crossover appeal is that much of an issue as far as the article is concerned, as is their body image and sex appeal.

    Perverted Alchemist and I are not the same, but I dig the name;-)

  • MarloweOverShakespeare

    @CaliDreaming86, are we talking about mainstream WORLDWIDE success or British homeland success? I’m confused by your argument.

    Once again, I do have years of vocal training, and this is where I make my distinctions. Do you sing?

    Great Britain is in the U.K. Of course, I referred to the nation where the songstresses came from.

  • CaliDreaming86

    Precisely, Isolde.

  • isolde

    @Cali

    Seriously. Of all the dead the horses to beat . . .

  • Deech

    @Perverted Alchemist:

    YOU ROCK!

  • CaliDreaming86

    What?

  • CaliDreaming86

    Forgive me for agreeing with you.

  • isolde

    @Cali

    And I was agreeing with you as well. The “dead horse” I was referring to was the Kelly Price analogy, which had already been debunked several times by you and others before I chimed in, yet PA was still beating it.

  • http://LesBoom.Tumblr.Com LesBoom

    Perverted Alchemist I have no idea who the artists are that you listed which proves my point. Amy was the first chick to really crossover in the US and gain mainstream success, much like Adele is doing now so again, there would be no Adele if there was no Amy Jade Winehouse.

    The end.

  • African Mami

    @ Timcampi,

    Girrrrrrrrrrrl, at first I was like who dat?! I just youtubed her and I am impressed. I just got listening to her I wrote the book. Quite enchanting. Thanks for introducing me to some good music!

  • Afri_kiko

    great observation!!! i think the first time i saw her body she was on the mtv awards!! soo true..even on her album covers, only her face is shown!

  • http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2011/11/do-overweight-stars-get-to-shine-in-the-music-industry/ Mimi

    Adele’s cool but it annoys me when people act like she’s the best thing since sliced bread. Everyone is so in awe of a white artist with “soul” oh puleeez! Jazmin, Chrisette, and Kelly can sing circles around Adele and that’s the truth Ruth!

  • Tricia

    Okay actually Adele had a previous album “19″ and obviously because she’s from Britian she’s hot over there. For years!! In my mind her cross over single was “Rollin’ in the Deep”. After that was released thats when the rest of the world took notice!! I know who Kelly Price is and in my mind I think her remake of “As We Lay” and her previous release “Friend of Mine” brought her fame, thats the only two songs I know.
    However Adele HAS made it possible for the ” breaking of the glass ceiling for full figured singers” Every one’s been dropping names like Jasmine Sullivan, Kelly Price and others but ONLY Adele has gone where none has gone before and she should get the recognition that she deserves. This is her time!! Don’t steal her thunder and be hatin’. Every one deserves their moment to shine and Although she is white…. (I’m getting some issues with this from reading some comments) leave her be!!!

  • chanela

    it puzzles me. why the hell does your weight matter if you sing well as a… SINGER!? y ou’re supposed to sing not have a damn fashion show. i could understand if it was models but for singers i feel that only talent should matter

  • chanela

    what sense does it make to sell “sex” and dress in lingerie for WOMEN? her main fanbase is young women

  • charmaine

    YAY! someone else knows about Beth Ditto! she’s amazing, i saw Gossip at a live show a couple years back and it was amazing…anywho all these comments comparing adele and kelly price are ridiculous. CLEARLY they cater to different fanbases and have different music/signing styles…NEXT

  • Penny Silvia

    True, i hated that she was either always sitting down or from the boobs up. She does have a full body pic on the cover of Cosmo tho…

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