WHO: Tottenham singer. Likes a fag and a swear. Sold a few albums.

WHY: There were no prizes for anyone who predicted Adele’s return would be a Big Deal. After all, 30-odd million people bought ‘21’. Adele is a modern music phenomenon. So ‘25’ was always going to be big – but few thought it would be this big.

In its first 48 hours on sale in the US, ‘25’ was selling 12 copies every second. By the end of the week, it had become the fastest-selling album since American chart records began. Here, it broke the same record, knocking Oasis off their 18-year-old perch for ‘Be Here Now’. It sold a million copies in 10 days and became the biggest-selling album of the year. On top of that, she blitzed numbers on YouTube and Vevo and stole records from everyone from Britney Spears to SuBo. The internet couldn’t make infographics quick enough. Here’s how Adele did it:

She writes brilliant, catchy, authentic pop songs

Sounds simple. Really isn’t.

She respects your personal space

Adele isn’t Snapchatting you videos of her pug wearing Santa outfits every two minutes.

She’s a right laugh

Dressing up with a prosthetic chin for that BBC sketch, bashing kids’ toys on ‘Fallon’ and pretending to be a weather forecaster to announce her tour – just a few examples.

She’s one of us, man

She drives her Mini around London wearing a holey jumper, swearing at other cars.

She refuses to play any game but her own

Streaming services? “It probably is the future, but eh.”

Next year Adele will play her biggest ever tour, and (fingers crossed) headline Glastonbury. Then she’ll disappear again. There are schoolfriends to see, a season of The Walking Dead to catch up on and, later, more records to break with the album ‘29’.

WHAT SHE SAYS: “I’m not arrogant. I’m not gullible… I don’t think anything’s a given.”

WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT HER: “[This success] represents nine years of her always knowing exactly what she wants to do and exactly how she wants to do it.” – Ben Beardsworth, Adele’s label boss

HOW SHE MADE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE: She’s pumped enough cash back into the music economy for us all to enjoy the fruits for years to come. Cheers, Adele!

Adele is nominated in the ‘Best British Solo Artist’ supported by Pilot category at the NME Awards 2016.

Vote for her or any of the other nominees here

Read about why we picked the rest of our People of the Year 2015:

Taylor Swift – For establishing herself as the most powerful pop star on the planet
Kendrick Lamar – For making rap righteous again
The Libertines – For the year’s most beautiful (and unlikely) comeback
Mhairi Black – For changing the face of British politics
Skepta – For taking grime global
Miley Cyrus – For refusing to conform, and celebrating diversity
Nicki Minaj – For speaking out on race, gender and sexuality
Mathieu Flamini – For trying to save the world with his geo-energy company GF Biochemicals
Jennifer Lawrence – For being the year’s best role model
JJ Abrams – For re-awakening The Force
Noel Gallagher – For cutting through the crap and making us laugh