I have to admit that my first exposure to Estelle was when she was pointed out to me at a party at the Mayfair Hotel a week or so ago. Granted, I had crossed the Atlantic towards London this April coming from Brooklyn and didn’t know that around the same time, Estelle was heading in exactly the opposite direction from me to embark on her US debut.
Let your light shine
After listening to some tracks from her upcoming release, Shine, I can honestly say I haven’t heard an album that good in a long time! I compelled to believe this will be one of 2008’s best albums—period! The track I seemed drawn to the most was a duet with her and John Legend (whom she signed to on his Homeschool Records) entitled You Are; a musical chemistry between hers and John’s voice. Arriving at the Atlantic Records’ office lounge, her internal fuel tank was almost on ‘E’, so she requested a café latte with a Coke to back it up—wow! Aside from the jet-lag, flying repetitively between London and New York, she’s passionate when talking about her music. ‘This is about re-introducing the world to me,’ she says. ‘The first one was good but from a viewpoint from a 19, 20-year-old, so I think that’s why the kids got it. But, this is like brand new stuff—I’m officially in love with this body of work; it’s 100% me with no fear or anxiety.’
When asked about her previous UK label deal she stated, ‘I wasn’t necessarily off the label. They were like, ‘you can go find another deal and get bought out [of the contract].’ Everyone was like, ‘she got dropped’, but I was like, ‘well, no, my checks still say ‘V2’ so…I don’t know. I’ll let you go figure that one out (laughs). So I was looking for deals and other labels weren’t too sure, so I talked to John [Legend] and he was like, ‘come on over here’…and that’s how it happened.’
Concerning her transition to New York life, everything seemed similar to London in her eyes minus one particular thing. ‘Dating…that’s confused out there”, she stated. ‘Like, having sex with 12 different people and it would be fine, like standard. I don’t get that, at all. I can’t be bothered.’ Apparently, even producers wondered if John’s first artist was a romantic tryst. ‘Some people were like, ‘is that John’s girl…is he f*@ing her?’ However, it is very apparent that Estelle is truly a lady and definitely has her business tight and let’s her talent speak for itself. ‘I feel more like if you have the headspace and the drive to pick yourself up and make it happen, you walk into opportunities, and don’t not take them! I mean, if you saw Kanye West sitting there and you’re an artist, are you not gonna say something?’
Estelle’s album Shine is out now www.estellemusic.com
Words by Ahmed Sirour