Since leaving her native West London, England, Estelle has ridden the wave of her vocal prowess through a myriad of genres while collaborating with a who’s who of iconic music makers.
Now, the Grammy-winning R&B artist is tackling something new yet close to home — reggae. In advance of her forthcoming album, a single, “Love Like Ours” with Tarrus Riley has been released by VP Records.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said the singer to Tasty Clips. “My parents grew up in the West Indies and Africa so it only made sense. I wanted to go back to that vibe of sounds I listened to.”
Prince was one of the first people to school her on the industry upon her arrival in the states.
“He would say to me, ‘Make sure you own your stuff. Do you.’ So any deal I’ve done after leaving my first label has been about ownership,” Estelle said. “You don’t ever go out in today’s market and not own what you’re putting out there so you can’t eat. It doesn’t make sense. I’ve seen the labels and understand the marketing value, but there’s plenty of independents and plenty of consultants. I can do the same job.”
Estelle learned about quality control and intention from Kanye West, with whom she earned mainstream success and a Grammy for the 2008 hit single “American Boy.” Will.I.Am and Wyclef Jean were also supportive while marveling at her musical instincts and IQ.
As she recalled: “Wyclef said, ‘You just get it. You know rock, folk, reggae, it’s insane. You’re too young to know this stuff but I’m glad you do.’
“I realize how amazing it was at that point. I’m in my 20s and he’s looking at me like, do you understand the power you have knowing all this?”
The vocalist revealed that every single one of her records is about overcoming, like “Conqueror,” the duet with Jussie Smollett that was featured on Fox’s hit TV series “Empire.”
“I don’t like to leave people feeling like this is the end,” she said. “I pick songs that turn your energy around.”
Estelle loves acting and enjoyed filming her cameo in “Girls Trip,” but it’s about getting the new album finished and ready to go.
“I’m pretty self-critical in a way that doesn’t exist in today’s world,” she said. “I’ve had the training and I know what it is and I know what to do. It doesn’t let me go out prematurely or put out records that don’t make sense.”
“Nothing I do is sweetening or of the moment,” Estelle declared. “If you go back to the first record, people still listen to it and play it like it was yesterday … and that’s always the aim.”
CAUSEWORTHY: The fifth annual Justice on Trial Film Festival opens on Sept. 15 with a red carpet screening of TV One’s “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” with its director Tasha Smith, star Tami Roman and casting director Leah Daniels Butler leading a question and answer session afterwards. Call (323) 563-3575 for details on the three-day event that will also feature Trayvon Martin attorney Benjamin Crump and more on the Loyola Marymount University campus.
Jussie Smollett is the chair and host of the 16th annual Heroes in The Struggle Awards on Sept. 16 at the Darryl F. Zanuck Theatre at 20th Century Fox Studios. The 2017 inductees include Taraji P. Henson, Laverne Cox, Vanessa Williams, Alfre Woodard, Gina Belafonte and Gina Brown. Ledisi will perform for the Black AIDS Institute event.
Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks host the 27th annual Simply Shakespeare benefit Sept. 18 at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse with special guests Ben Harper, William Shatner, Alfred Molina, Michael Chiklis and others improvising their way through a condensed version of “The Tempest.” Visit www.ShakespeareCenter.org for details.
The 11th annual ADCOLOR Awards, celebrating and promoting professionals of color and diversity in the creative industries, will be held at the Loews Hotel Hollywood Hotel on Sept. 19 with Aisha Tyler, Jesse Williams, Laz Alonzo, Wilson Cruz, Janet Mock, Carol H. Williams and the Johnson Publishing Company among the honorees and presenters.
CLIPPETTES: Dave Chappelle won his first Emmy Award for his hosting of “Saturday Night Live” after the election of Donald Trump as president …
David and Tamela Mann’s World Family Tour arrives at the Hollywood Palladium on Sept. 15; while the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach hosts West Coast Jam featuring Norman Brown, Rick Braun and Richard Elliot …
Before an audience in South England last week, Q-Tip announced that it would be their “last show as A Tribe Called Quest, ever.” The group previously hit the stage of some select dates using recordings of deceased member Phife Dawg …
George Benson and Kenny G bring their co-headlining tour to The Greek on Sept. 17 …
We’re hearing at press time that both area Sweetie Pie’s locations are closed permanently. Does this mean Miss Robbie’s lawsuit halted son Tim Montgomery’s expansion plans? Could this be the end of the beloved OWN series?
INDIE FILM WATCH: Rihanna, Iman, Naomi Campbell, André Leon Tally, Paloma Picasso and Anna Wintour are but some of the guides leading us through the world of iconic designer Manolo Blahnik in Michael Roberts’ engaging documentary “Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes For Lizards” now playing at the Nuart.
We last saw Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje on the big screen in full latex as Killer Croc in “Suicide Squad.” Now the powerful actor drops the guise as a recovering detective in the moody Atlantic City drama “Wetlands,” with Heather Graham and Christopher McDonald. It’s currently running in theaters.
TC ON TV: Sept. 15 – “Harry” (Syn): Gladys Knight. “Strong Island” (Netflix): The forces of family, grief and racial injustice converge in this powerful documentary exploring the murder of filmmaker Yance Ford‘s brother. “First They Killed My Father” (Netflix) Angelina Jolie’s biopic adapted from Loung Ung‘s memoir of surviving the terrifying reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia premieres on the network and in theatres. “Live From Lincoln Center” (PBS): Ballet Hispanico performs two works – “CARMEN.maquia” and “Club Havana.”
Sept. 16 – “Downsized” (TV1): Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe star in this original film written by the network’s 2016 screenwriting competition finalist Michelle McKissic. “Oprah’s Master Class” (OWN): Shaquille O’Neal.
Sept. 17 – “The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards” (CBS). “El Chapo” (Univision): The second season continues to explore the life story of Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin Guzmán only this time with added English subtitles.
Sept. 18 – “Sister Circle” (TV1): Singer Syleena Johnson anchors the roundtable of this women’s talk show forming an a.m. bloc with the expanded two-hour “News One Now.” “2017 Hip Hop Honors” (VH1): Missy Elliott will kick-off the show hosted by Regina Hall with nods this year to Martin Lawrence and Mariah Carey.
TASTY QUIP: “I have mixed feelings with the commodification of [the N word in the rap world]. You’re making money off of it. When you’re putting that word in the context of terminal violence toward another human being, how is it different than the people who grabbed people and threw a rope around their neck? It’s not.” – Living Colour’s VERNON REID to Paste
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tastyclips.