Q& A

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Music - JAMES WIGNEY ALL OF ME is out now.

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.

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