BORN in London to a Senegalese mother and Grenadian father and raised on a diet of reggae, African and church music, R& B star Estelle shot to fame in 2008, with her collaboration with rapper Kanye West, titled American Boy. The song reached the top 10 in many countries, including the US and Canada, as well as achieving No. 1 status on the UK singles chart and won the Best Rap/ Sung Collaboration at the Grammy Awards the following year. Her third album, All Of Me, released recently, features collaborations with Akon, Janelle Monae and controversial R& B star Chris Brown. Q: Where do you call home these days? A: Airplanes mostly. Actually I moved to New York four or five years ago but for now I am just wherever I need to be to sell records. I haven’t stopped singing American Boy for four years, so I am in the air a lot. But New York feels like home. It has the same energy as London but for 24 hours. Q: This new album All Of Me has been more than three years in the making – what have you been up to? A: Living. Being a regular person and trying to grow as a human being. My main thing in life is to be a better person every year than I was the last year. I was really over rushing to make a record or doing something that I wouldn’t love in 10 years time. So I thought I would take a break and try to make some music that lasts. Q: Being embraced by the music business in the way you were, there is a danger of it becoming more about the business and less about the music. Did you find that? A: Yeah everyone wanted another American Boy right away but I said no. I decided to go and sit down and live a bit. It’s always a business though, you don’t sign music sheets, you sign a legal contract about as thick as an encyclopedia so you have to compromise sometimes. Q: What’s the most valuable lesson you ever learned from Kanye West? A: To be authentic to yourself at all times and don’t ever compromise. I appreciate that he is one of the last Mohicans, one of the ones who was very serious and focused about who he was and stuck with it. I really admire that. Q: Did you have a wish list of people you wanted to work on the new album? A: I didn’t at all. It became more about who I could make a song with and make it the best it was going to be. I love collaborations they are always fun. Janelle Monae was one of my picks because she is just so amazing and it was a natural fit. It was like looking at myself in the mirror and going ‘ Oh my God, there is someone else like me’. Q: How did you hook up with Chris Brown and Trey Songz for International ( Serious)? A: I went in just to write with him when I thought I had finished the album and we came up with that song. Chris came in and re- sung the hook in the way that Chris sings and then Trey heard it and said ‘ I want in’. Q: A lot people were pretty upset to see Chris at the Grammys this year after what happened with Rihanna before the Grammys a couple of years ago. Is it time to forgive? A: I think let the guy live. We all make mistakes and we are all human and no one sin is bigger than the other. I don’t think anyone is ever in a position to judge. And none of us were there either, so let they boy live. He does music, judge him on that. Q: Is writing and performing a form of therapy for you? A: It’s definitely therapeutic and an outlet. I don’t have to break anything or smash anyone’s car windows, I can just go to a song and feel better about myself and I am putting out the right message. And I get to make money rather than going to jail. Q: With you and Adele and Duffy and Jessie J and the like, British soul and R& B is doing so well right now and particularly in the US where it was invented. Why? A: Every few years we seem to have a British invasion of the US. I think people are much more open now, especially with the internet. Q: What do you make of Adele’s recent success and Grammy haul? A: I think you have to give a shout- out to anyone who is making it happen right now because it’s not easy. I am happy that I get to put another album out and I think she is too. This isn’t the easiest industry right now. We have to be creative and we have to think of new ways to do it. So anyone who is winning, go ahead.