21 is the second studio album by English recording artist Adele. Released on 24 January 2011 in most of Europe, and on 22 February 2011 in North America, it was named after the age of the singer during its production. The album shares the folk and Motown soul influences of her debut album 19, but was further inspired by the American country and Southern blues music to which she had been exposed during her 2008–2009 North American tour An Evening with Adele. Composed in the aftermath of the singer's separation from her partner, the album explores themes of anger, revenge, heartbreak, self-examination, and forgiveness.
Adele began writing 21 in April 2009, while still involved in the relationship that subsequently inspired the record. Dissatisfied with once again portraying herself as the musical tragedienne of her debut, she had intended to compose a more upbeat and contemporary follow-up. However, studio sessions ended prematurely due to a lack of inspiration. She resumed production immediately after the breakdown of her relationship, channeling her heartbreak and depression into her songs. Adele collaborated with various songwriters and producers, including Columbia Records