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Grammys: Adele may sit this one out despite six Grammy nominations

November 30, 2011 | 10:00 pm

Vocal hemorrhaging has sidelined the young soul sensation since early October; now there’s a chance she’ll miss her big night.

Adele

In 2009 after she received four Grammy nominations, young British soul singer Adele said she didn’t deserve to win one. She was simply looking ahead to what would hopefully be a long career.

“A Grammy is like an Oscar,” Adele said in between drags of a cigarette — one of six she smoked during an hourlong interview at West Hollywood’s London Hotel. “You win an Oscar when you give the performance of your life. I hope this isn't the performance of my life.”

Fast-forward two years and the concern is no longer whether or not the 23-year-old artist has already given the performance of her career, but rather whether she’ll be able to perform again.

Adele has been sidelined since early October after vocal hemorrhaging forced the star to cancel her 10-city, sold-out U.S. tour. “In terms of recovery, it’s going as well as could be expected,” said Richard Russell, whose London-based XL Recordings signed Adele. “We’re taking it one moment at a time.”

The vocal trauma has scarred what has otherwise been a blissful year for Adele. Her sophomore album, “21,” was awarded six nominations Wednesday for the 2012 Grammy Awards, including one for album of the year. Additionally, it’s the top-selling release of 2011, with 4.6 million copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s also one of the year’s most critically beloved releases.

Her success has signaled that songcraft, raw emotion and a dazzling voice can still triumph over artifice. Yet there’s now a chance Adele will be forced to sit out what could be her coronation as the Grammy Awards take place Feb. 12.

Russell said Adele would treat the Grammys with respect. “Musicians everywhere have heard of the Grammys, and they’re taken seriously, and it’s very few musicians who can honestly say they wouldn’t be honored,” he said. “They are an honor.”

Adele had surgery to repair her vocal damage in early November, and it remains unknown when she’ll be given the green light to sing again. All accounts, however, are that she is expected to make a full recovery. She posted on her official website that the operation was a success and that she was “chilling out now” until she got the “all-clear” from her doctors.

Without knowing the particulars of Adele’s case, Dr. Lee Akst, a laryngologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Voice Center in Baltimore, said typically performers could fully recover from the surgery, although it could take two or three months, possibly more depending on the damage before surgery. Once cleared to sing, Adele will probably need a three-week rehearsal period, Akst said. “It’s not the kind of thing you go from zero to 60, to being right back onstage tomorrow,” he said.

Adele’s releases are handled by Sony’s Columbia Records in the U.S. It did not return calls regarding the singer’s condition. An attempt to talk to her London-based manager, Jonathan Dickins, was met with a response from a Columbia spokesman, who said that all interview requests regarding Adele must go through Sony.

Likely working in Adele’s favor, however, is the fact that she’s been thinking long term since Day One. “A lot of people's first records are their best records, and they never live up to the first record on their second, third or sixth,” she said in 2009. “But I just hope that on my fourth album I'm worthy again to be nominated.”

ALSO:

Critic's Notebook: Adele’s quiet power amid the pop girl riot

Grammys: Kanye West gets 7 nominations, but Adele gets spotlight

Grammys: Adele, Foo Fighters, Gaga and the album of the year litter

-- Todd Martens

Image: Adele at the Greek in August. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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