A One-On-One with Estelle
After releasing four critically lauded albums – the latest being 2015’s True Romance – British singer-songwriter-producer actress, Estelle, née Fanta Swaray, is back with a brand new single titled, “Love Like Ours.” The new single, which features Tarrus Riley, is the Grammy Award winner’s first track for Queens, New York, based VP Records, largely know for its reggae, dancehall and soca catalog.
Parlé Mag recently had the good fortune of catching up with the “American Boy” songstress, who hails from West London, England, to discuss all things Estelle…
Parlé Mag: Let’s hop right into your latest entry, “Love Like Ours,” featuring reggae star Tarrus Riley. Tell me about this particular composition? How did it even come to fruition?
Estelle: I made this with Tarrus in the first set of sessions when we started to make this album; it was a quick (session) and I find that the best records are the quickest. He’s such a great singer, but also cares about every inch of the music, which is appreciated when collaborating!
Parlé Mag: In regards to the new direction you’re now going as far as your sound is concerned, what actually prompted this decision?
Estelle: This isn’t a new direction for me, I’ve always done reggae music; the fans know this, but the general pubic have only heard “Come Over” on my first U.S. album.
…I generally never rush when making music – I start with a vibe and see what comes out of my mouth, and that’s what I did. I started making music from my authentic space, which to me is always reggae and African music and build on it.
Parlé Mag: “Love Like Ours” comes courtesy of your upcoming fifth studio opus, and follow-up to True Romance. That said, are there any specific highlights; title, favorite song(s), cameo appearance(s), producer credit(s), etcetera, that you’d like to take the time to point out?
Estelle: For some of this album, I worked with the original producers (from) “Come Over” and “So Much Out the Way,” “No Substitute Love”; Supa Dups and Jerry Wonda. I also worked with some of my favorite writers, Tish Hyman, JFK and UrsVerse both of whom worked with me on True Romance.
Parlé Mag: What particular string of events led to your current inking with VP Records?
Estelle: We decided to make an Afrobeats, soca, reggae album with the best reggae label – pretty much that was it. We were looking for a partner for my label that made sense. Ownership is key, and VP made the most sense as far as knowing the genre and understanding my intention and level as a CEO / Artist.
Parlé Mag: What do you hope people get from your music?
Estelle: Love. Every album comes from a space of analyzing love in all its forms; self love, romantic love, overcoming love. This album is a tribute to my parents’ love. They had the most Romeo and Juliet – without death of course – romantic story; parents and family not wishing them to be together, making young decisions, but their love for each other prevailed overall.
They got together 20 years after breaking up and are married now. So this album celebrates love from my perspective.
Parlé Mag: How have you managed to sustain longevity in music?
Estelle: By maintaining quality with the work I put out – great music consistently – is the ethos. Not every other day, but when it’s needed and right, and not being afraid to do what my heart leads me to regardless of the opinions of anyone.
Parlé Mag: Do you have any other outside/additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
Estelle: I have a TV production company, Est. 1980 Films and TV; we’re developing TV, films and cartoon content for broadcast! I also have a curated retail store [www.elle-vie.com], an online shopping destination that focuses on creating a space for small run and exclusive new brands. I started it with my former stylist and interior decorator at BPDCID, Genelle Brooks-Petty, amongst other smaller projects.
Parlé Mag: To date, what has been your biggest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
Estelle: None yet! I kind of quantify it by things that are larger than I expected to happen. Everything so far has been a plan or par for the course. Maybe I’ll have an answer for that this year… God willing!
Parlé Mag: As for the immediate, what’s next for you, Estelle?
Estelle: This awesome ass ALBUM! *She cracks up laughing* End of summer.
No really, it makes me feel good and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
Parlé Mag: Any “parting” message(s) for our readers?
Estelle: Sending love to everyone who waits for me to drop music at what’s considered a snail’s pace nowadays – I’m so grateful to you for letting me do what I love and take my time with the quality and style of it all. I see and appreciate all the digital love, and when people come up to me in real life!!! Thank You!
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