The revenge song "Rolling in the Deep" was conceived only hours after Adele's separation from her ex-lover.A "dark, bluesy, gospel, disco tune" in the singer's own words, it was written in response to disparaging comments he made towards her during an argument.
In the initial stage of the album's production Rubin had signed on as its sole producer, and was scheduled to produce all of its songs.
The demos she had recorded with Epworth, Smith, and Tedder (including "Rolling in the Deep" and "Set Fire to the Rain") were subsequently rerecorded by Rubin when she met with him in his Shangri-La Studio in Malibu, California in April 2010.
Adele began writing 21 in April 2009, when still involved in the relationship that subsequently inspired the record.
Dissatisfied with once again portraying herself as the musical tragedian of her debut, she had intended to compose a more upbeat and contemporary follow-up.
Adele collaborated with various songwriters and producers, including Columbia Records co-president Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Jim Abbiss, and Dan Wilson.
Praised by critics for its understated production, vintage aesthetic, and Adele's vocal performance, 21 defied the modest commercial expectations of her indie record label XL Recordings.
I looked at the engineer then at her and said, 'Adele I don't know what to tell you but I have never had anyone do that in ten years'." After working with Smith, Tedder, and Epworth, Adele travelled to the United States for the remainder of the album's production.
At the suggestion of Columbia Records group president Ashley Newton, she met with songwriter Greg Wells at his studio in Culver City, Los Angeles, where they co-wrote the gospel-tinged ballad "One and Only." In 2008, Adele's appearance on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live caught the attention of producer Rick Rubin.
Five singles were released to promote the album, with "Rolling in the Deep," "Someone like You" and "Set Fire to the Rain" becoming international number-one songs, while "Rumour Has It" charted in the top 20 across Europe and North America.