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How many people have dreamt of finding true romance, falling in love with ‘the one’? Truth be told, the definition of true romance is less like a fairytale and more like a roller coaster, with ups and downs and a period of disorientation after it’s over. Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Estelle, however, is one who is surely up for the ride.
On her fourth full-length album True Romance, due out February 17, 2015, (which has already garnered her praise from the likes of Elle, Oprah Magazine, Cosmo, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, VH1 and Billboard) Estelle lets go, completely. The way that someone has to when he or she enters into a relationship for the first time. “I had to be blindly optimistic in going through that entire period,” Estelle says of her time coming out of a relationship. “It was devastating. I didn’t know who the hell I was. I didn’t want to be that mean girl that felt all men were evil. I started writing this record, and it was turning out to be so realistic.”
As she started to rediscover herself, Estelle began reflecting on the ideas of passion, courage, bullshit and true romance and how they play into the success, or the decline, or a relationship. “This album is split into these four themes, and every song fits into one of these themes. This is a real body of work, just like when you do an art piece, or when you have all these awesome images on your Instagram. You want people to see the full you.”
When Estelle first burst onto the scene in 2008 with the double-platinum hit hit song “American Boy” featuring Kanye West, she quickly became an R&B sweetheart. The international chart-topper was a Billboard Hot 100 smash hit and won Estelle a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Her first two studio albums Shine and All Of Me came soon after, earning Estelle both critical and pop success. Most recently she announced the launch of Established 1980, Inc., an independent label in partnership with BMG, and is now ready to give fans a full dose of her deeper identity.
With “Make Her Say (Beat It Up),” Estelle took on passion, creating an upbeat sexual empowerment anthem that allows the songstress to tap into the provocative edge she unapologetically offers. “I needed to explain to people who I was. When I go on tour and do shows, I’m that explicit and I’m that real on stage. This song is a part of a whole statement on what it means to be in a real relationship, on your terms. It represents ownership and embracing all of yourself as a human, plus good sex is always necessary,” says Estelle.
For Estelle, it took courage to get back into the studio and dig deep into her soul after being in a four-year relationship. On lead single “Conqueror,” which is now a Top 20 hit at Urban AC radio and was featured in the end credits of the 2014 hit Lionsgate/ Codeblack Films release Addicted (Sharon Leal, Boris Kodjoe, Tyson Beckford, Kat Graham), she delivers an uplifting heartfelt ballad that is sure to motivate listeners on their journey through tough times in their life. “Don’t ever give up on yourself, when everyone has told you that you’re done, when everyone around you feels like you’re not living up to their standards, don’t let it stop you from moving ahead,” Estelle advises. It’s what she needed to hear when things weren’t going so well in her own situation. Another passionate track is the soulful-sounding “Silly Girls,” produced by the Justice League. Estelle slows down the pace here to give listeners a real sense of her vulnerability as a woman.
“When you break up with someone, and you get back onto the road, you feel like you don’t know yourself,” Estelle begins. “I was searching for something, and when I heard the hook for ‘Something Good,’ I was like this is what it feels like, I know who I am.” The song, produced by D. Smith is what Estelle describes as a “booty-poppin, feel good” House music throwback that brought the singer back to her roots. “This was the type of music playing in my life back when I was 17 years old, walking around the market with my mom in London, when I was so sure of myself,” recalls Estelle.
Though Estelle has come a long way since her teenage days, she is very sure of who she is now and she’s comfortable sharing that with the world on True Romance. “There’s a background to me that is extremely real and I wanted people to get that understanding. Because I’m from London, people assume that I was brought up well, that I was rich. I’m definitely from the hood,” she reveals. “There’s a lot of girls out here that did good for themselves, but still maintain their ‘hoodness.’”
That upbringing is part of Estelle’s no bullshit mentality, another theme that moves True Romance. Produced by Keith Harris, “The Same” is a track where Estelle comes to a revelation that she’s tired of the bullshit. “When you’re in this consistent circle, and you’re mentally checked out of a relationship, but you won’t physically leave. I never want to be in that space again,” she shares. “Once you finally figure out what it is, you can do something about it.”
Nowadays, Estelle is ready for the last theme that completes the album. When speaking about “All That Matters,” a track Estelle refers to as “a wedding song,” she says, “When everything is done, and everything is over, when you get past the superficial and the honeymoon, that’s when it becomes real love. And that’s ‘All That Matters.’” Estelle, who is single and currently dating, is once again optimistic. And if you aren’t afraid to let go, she can give you true romance, like you’ve never had it.
Estelle will have a cameo on the hit FOX show Empire in an episode airing March 4, 2015, has landed recent TV appearances on The View, Live with Kelly & Michael, The Real, Hell’s Kitchen, will be profiled on NPR All Things Considered, and was invited to perform with her idol Gladys Knight and country superstar Martina McBride during the first-ever Skyville Live webcast in Nashville.
In addition to her music, Estelle has also ventured into the world of animation, voicing a lead character, Garnet, on Cartoon Network’s hit show Steven Universe. She also runs her foundation All of Me, which focuses on educating and expanding the horizons of young people through college scholarships and volunteer opportunities abroad. In the world of fashion, her Scarves by Swaray line is yet another outlet for Estelle’s endless creativity. Made from the finest quality silk and inspired by Estelle’s heritage and global travels, these versatile pieces can be worn in many ways.
For more information: Visit estelledarlings.com
Estelle 02-10-15 was originally published on blackamericaweb.com