By nature she's a classicist whose own sound and style has evolved only gradually over the years, rather than altered with each passing trend.
Sade tells me about how she first new she was famous.
Even today she sighs with relief after I turn off the tape at the end of the interview, as though she'd just tiptoed through a minefield with her eyes shut.
This, too, aside from the trials of her personal life, is why , Sade had to think through the whole tricky business of fame, with its Faustian pay-off between success and lack of privacy.
She's been out of the spotlight for eight years, yet never out of the charts.