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Estelle to release full reggae album - First single features Tarrus Riley; Premieres worldwide tomorrow, exclusively on The Gleaner's website

Published:Thursday | June 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Tarrus Riley

Though popularly known for her accent-inflected international hit song American Boy, British-born Grammy-award winning singer Estelle is gearing up for the release of a brand-new album.

Born to a Senegalese father and a Grenadian mother, the afro-aware artiste shared with The Sunday Gleaner; her excitement to demonstrate her love for love and music by using indigenous Caribbean and West African popular music.

Estelle gave the assurance that her move to release the album this year was not in response to the rise in popularity of dancehall, reggae, and afrobeats in the mainstream arena. The Sunday Gleaner asked the established songstress what the motivation was behind focusing on reggae, afrobeats, and dancehall music, and Estelle responded simply: "It's time. Perfect time. It's about time."




"I love two-stepping, I'm a '90s kid. This was all I listened to. It's normal. It's just about making sure - I make songs and music for everybody. It's reggae, dancehall, and afrobeats for everybody. In my teens, in my world, the reggae songs I listen to, I feel like everyone listens to them, like everyone listens to Mavado and Konshens. To me, that's at base level," Estelle said.

"I want people to know it's not about the reggae and dancehall wave that's happening right now. It's just the right timing in my life and where my career is moving in general. I'm not new to it - to reggae and dancehall and afrobeats. I just felt like it was the best thing coming out of me right now," she continued.

Estelle told The Sunday Gleaner that she had been working on reggae music for many years and believes that much like love, the impact of music is cyclical in nature, and for the artiste, the upcoming album is intended to be a reflection of that concept. "All of my albums have been just a collection of songs," she said.

Estelle also explains the difference between the construction and compilation of this album versus her releases.

This time around, there are songs that exist within this project that have been on the artiste's mind for the better part of a decade, and they were written with direct attention to her ancestry and culture. "It's a love story. It's unique. It's all the phases of romance. It's kind of their story, the story of how [my parents] got back together," Estelle said.

Estelle revealed that in the early stages of her life, she grew up in a broken home. At around age three, the singer's parents split up, eventually entering into other marriages. She described the break-up as a trial of differing cultures and that the first single from the album, called Love Like Ours, featuring Tarrus Riley, encompasses the essence of the trials of her parents. Twenty years after their split, Estelle says that her parents bumped into each other, in a happenstance encounter, and even after decades of separation, fell back in love and got back together.

"Love is love. Sometimes it just takes time to come back around. So the album was developed from their entire perspective. It's their story in 10 records; a tribute to their love story. They found their way back," Estelle told The Sunday Gleaner.

For Tarrus Riley, he says, "It's like a love celebration."

Riley says that he was invited to be part of the project through local music producer Supa Dups.

"We link up, all courtesy of Supa Dups, the producer of the song and a bredrin of mine. Him and Estelle do work, and I'm a fan of her from long time. From mi reach the studio, mi come with mi couple ideas because a Estelle dis. Suh mi seh action!" Riley told The Sunday Gleaner. "We energy just click same time. You have people who yuh meet and yuh spirit nuh tek, but it was like mi know her long time. It's a pleasure to be on her album. Good melody, good lyric. It's a number one already if you ask me, so I can only imagine what it going do on the charts."

Estelle describes her latest effort as "a full reggae album".

"I grew up on reggae. There was a lot of reggae influence in my upbringing. For me, it's as I got older, I got to appreciate it more," Estelle told The Sunday Gleaner. "It's meant to touch everybody. The reggae on the album speaks to the West Indian side of me and afrobeats to the African side of my family. It's not just about doing this for the moment. At the end of the day, it feels natural to me. This is something building since 2007. Afrobeats is old music to me. I've been playing this for years. It's kind of like it's time now," Estelle told The Sunday Gleaner.




Love Like Ours is mellow and flows smoothly over a groovy one-drop, reggae rhythm, with the pair engaging in easy, sultry altoharmonies in a blend where neither abandons natural inflections and intonations.

Estelle told The Sunday Gleaner that Love Like Ours will also be the leading single of the next instalment of the successful VP Records compilation series, Reggae Gold, coming out in July 2017.

"I've never done a summer festival. I wanna come out," she exclaimed. "I'd love to. I've done every other mainland festival. Can I go to a Jamaican festival now? I've done shows in Jamaica. I just wanna do the shows in Jamaica," Estelle told The Sunday Gleaner.

Though still undecided on the name of the album, the songstress is poised for an album release at the end of this summer.

Additionally, Love Like Ours is set for worldwide release tomorrow, exclusively on The Gleaner's website,