Her single American Boy knocked Duffy off the UK No 1 spot and life couldn’t be sweeter for 28-year-old London girl Estelle. But it’s taken a while. Four years ago, Estelle had a hit with 1980, won a MOBO Award and was poised for stardom. Then, almost overnight, she vanished into obscurity. Determination saw her move 3,500 miles to New York for another shot at success. She’s the first artist to sign to John Legend’s HomeSchool label, has the likes of Kanye West on speed dial and her album Shine’s zooming up the UK charts. Bubbly Estelle chats to en route to her Brooklyn pad just before the start of her US tour.
Congratulations on your No 1. How did you celebrate?
Sarah Gibson, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
I’ve been celebrating every night for two weeks straight! [Laughs] I flew back to the UK and had a massive party at Paper in London with all my friends and family. It still hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve just spent ages explaining to US Customs that I had so much baggage with me because I was celebrating my No 1 and needed a lot of clothes for all the partying.
Do you prefer American boys or British boys?
Keisha Roberts, Ladbroke Grove
I love British boys. American boys are great eye candy, but British guys just have that certain swagger.
Are you seeing anyone now?
Jennifer White, Radcliffe
I wish I was! I haven’t had a boyfriend in ages.
How does dating in New York differ from London?
Michaela Reardon, Brighton
Well, Americans just date and they’ll have three or four different people on the go. Back home, you’re exclusive with someone when you wake up in their bed. But over here, it’s very different. Just because they’ve made you breakfast doesn’t mean you’re a couple. It’s confusing.
Were you upset that you had to relocate to the US to kick- start your career?
Daksha Aslam, Edmonton
Not at all. I saw it more as a job opportunity. If someone offers you an amazing job in another country when there aren’t any in your own, you take it because you’ve got to pay your bills. I’d reached the stage where my old record label had taken me as far as it could. I had to take time out for me and write. Thankfully, it worked out – I signed up to John Legend’s record label and now I’ve had my first No 1. Life’s great!
What advice would you give to other UK singers?
Ruth Hilton, Watford
Don’t sit around waiting for anyone – learn about the business and get on with it. Study great music legends and aim to be like them. Forget your contemporaries because you learn more from people with experience.
You’ve been living in cosmetic surgery-obsessed America. Would you ever consider it?
Charlotte Parsons, Coventry
Hell, no! My boobs are great, my legs are nice and all I need to do is work on my stomach a little. The only thing I’d do is get braces because I’ve wanted to do my teeth for ages.
Do you have any recurring dreams?
Alison Edwards, Edgware
No, but I have weird dreams. I have premonitions and freak myself out when they actually happen. I haven’t tapped into my psychic side – I’m too scared to unearth anything.
You admit on your blog that you’re a bit of a lush! What’s your tipple of choice?
Chevron Dixon, Croydon
I’m in the clubs – it’s all about vodka and Red Bull.
Can you describe yourself in five words?
Emma Gibbs, Stratford
Driven, aloof, sexy, confident and pretty insecure.
Is it true you’re a shoe-aholic? How many pairs do you own?
Louise West, Basildon
Over 300. I bought a pair of Azzedine Alaïa shoes for my album launch and they’re my current favourites.
What do you miss the most about the UK?
Mandy Harris, Wood Green
I miss the shopping. Nothing beats Topshop and Portobello Road. Also, I miss the little stuff like Ribena, Ovaltine and digestive biscuits. And, of course, I miss the boys.
You’ve worked with Kanye West, Mark Ronson and Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am. Who’d be your dream collaboration?
Sheila Gibson, Co Durham
Mary J Blige and Stevie Wonder would definitely be top of my list. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if that happened.
Is it true that you once auditioned for EastEnders?
Krystal Davies, Bristol
No, but I did go to the Elstree set for work experience when I was at college. A few years later, I was watching TV after I’d left my label and I heard them playing my track 1980 in the Queen Vic. It was such a surreal moment.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Clare Daniels, Leeds
I learnt a lot during my four years off and really questioned my direction, but a close friend told me to speak my mind, be myself and not to pretend. Everyone’s going to have an opinion about what you do, but you’ve just got to be yourself.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
Kathleen Downs, Torquay
Adrian Grenier from Entourage is the greatest-looking man alive. The blue eyes and brown hair definitely works. He’s absolutely gorgeous. n
Check out Estelle’s blog at estellemusic.com/blog
What’s been your most surreal celebrity moment?
Marie Simon, London
Meeting Prince. I was drunk at a Grammys aftershow party and Prince was in the same room and asked to meet me. I couldn’t believe he even knew my name. He sat down and we had a chat. He’s got an amazing aura and I’d love to work with him in the future. In fact, I think I’d cry if I ever got the opportunity. What’s been your most surreal celebrity moment?
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By Selina Julian