Today, the New York Times declared that Sade is back. Not back in the spotlight, exactly—but back in that the Nigerian-born singer’s influence and legend continue to reach new heights, even in 2017. Jacob Bernstein cites Drake’s Sade tattoo, a recent limited-edition Supreme t-shirt with her likeness, and an indignant Yelp review complaining of Sade’s music playing at a Brooklyn tattoo shop as examples of her far-reaching cultural impact. Despite staying out of the public eye and not releasing any new music since 2010’s Soldier of Love, Sade continues to evoke an effortless cool.
A funny aside from Bernstein’s piece centers on the fact that for years, Americans have struggled to properly pronounce Sade’s name:
Much of the current fascination with Sade derives from the fact that her fans know so little about her, starting with the pronunciation of her name. (Many Americans believe it’s pronounced Shar-day; it’s Sha-day.)
He may be onto something. Personally, growing up and listening to Sade in my dad’s ‘90s white Honda Accord, I incorrectly assumed the singer’s name was pronounced with a long “a,” like in “shade” but without the “h.” And indeed, while discussing Bernstein’s piece with my coworkers, they admitted they thought it was pronounced “Sah-day.”
They say you shouldn’t judge those who mispronounce words, because it means they learned it by reading. We are thankful for Bernstein’s gentle nudge in the right direction. But still, who knows why Americans would have pronounced it “Shar-day”? Who invited “r” to the Sade party?
If the pronunciation guide above isn’t helpful, then watch a few videos to hear it for yourself.