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About Estelle

It’s fitting that the Estelle story begins in a record store, as the singer/rapper has spent her career bounding between styles like a vinyl hunter cruising from section to section. As an employee at the Deal Real shop in her native London, Estelle Swaray (born in 1980) was at ground zero for the early-2000s Brit-hop uprising that turned MCs like Roots Manuva into UK sensations and eventually inspired her to grab the mic herself. A 2002 trip to L.A. turned into the networking opportunity of a lifetime when Estelle had a chance restaurant encounter with a pre-fame Kanye West, who later introduced her to another star on the rise, John Legend. The two would play crucial roles in Estelle’s own ascent: After producing some tracks on her streetwise 2004 debut, The 18th Day, Legend signed Estelle to his Homeschool Records imprint for 2008’s Shine, whose disco-infused, Kanye-assisted single “American Boy” became a global Top 10 smash and Grammy Award winner. But if that song guaranteed Estelle a place on wedding-DJ playlists forevermore, she’s retained her crate-digging curiosity, applying her classy, richly melodic voice to strobe-lit electro-rap jams (2010’s David Guetta-produced “Freak”), romantic reggae (2018’s Lovers Rock), and grungy alt-R&B ballads (2020 single “Set Me On Fire”). Her eclectic taste has made her a natural candidate to host her own Apple Music radio program, The Estelle Show, where she spins old-school ‘60s soul, ‘70s disco, ‘80s rap, ‘90s R&B, and modern variations thereof. But for Estelle, the show isn’t just a reflection of her personal record collection, but of the unifying philosophy that’s always fueled her own songs. “Music is the one thing that bonds everybody,” she tells Apple Music. “It’s one of the things that pulls us all together as people, whether we like it or not!”

London, England
January 18, 1980
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