Beyond the bed­room

Metro Magazine NZ - - City Life - GARY STEEL

Estère One-woman band

“Do you think of Kate Bush as R&B?” asks Estère, af­ter nam­ing the ec­cen­tric English song­bird as one of her favourites.

She also namechecks lo­cal lu­mi­nar­ies Con­nan Mock­asin and Un­known Mor­tal Orches­tra and US soul singer Lau­ryn Hill, the lat­ter of whom her vo­cal style more closely re­sem­bles.

There is some­thing very Kate Bush-like about Estère, nev­er­the­less: not least in the win­ning naivety that comes through in con­ver­sa­tion, the imag­i­na­tive world she builds around her act, and a sense of self-de­ter­min­ism that’s still rare amongst fe­male per­form­ers.

Estère, the Welling­ton-born daugh­ter of a Pakeha mother and a French-Cameroo­nian fa­ther, is a one-woman band. In per­for­mance, as on record, she con­trols a sam­pling ma­chine called an MPC (Mu­sic Pro­duc­tion Con­troller) and a small bat­tery of ad­di­tional in­stru­men­ta­tion, like per­cus­sion and gui­tar. While the MPC has a long his­tory as the favoured beat hard­ware for hip-hop pro­duc­ers, Estère feeds mostly orig­i­nal sam­ples into the ma­chine to cre­ate an of­ten quirky un­der­tow to her sen­sual, elas­tic vo­cals.

The re­cent grad­u­ate in an­thro­pol­ogy and phi­los­o­phy builds ideas from her stud­ies into her songs, and dur­ing ex­ten­sive touring through places like South Korea, New Cale­do­nia, parts of Africa and Europe, says that she al­ways has her “an­thro­po­log­i­cal brain on”.

In many ways, Estère is the very model of a mod­ern mu­si­cian, hav­ing toured her ass off, per­formed at var­i­ous New Zealand fes­ti­vals and as sup­port act for ma­jor touring in­ter­na­tion­als, and made her de­but al­bum avail­able free on Sound­cloud back in 2014. And yet, she still some­how flies just un­der the radar, which has failed to per­turb her. In fact, a slow grow­ing up in pub­lic is part of her plan.

“The rea­son I don’t want to work with other pro­duc­ers for my mu­sic is that for me it’s im­por­tant to show­case my own devel­op­ment to peo­ple that lis­ten,” says Estère, who has a sec­ond al­bum in the works for next year. “I cre­ate all the mu­sic in my bed­room and record all the mu­si­cians and com­pose ev­ery­thing, but it’s dif­fer­ent now be­cause I’ve learned more and it’s the only way to im­prove on some­thing. It’s not about be­ing re­ally slick and per­fect and stuff.”

ESTÈRE PER­FORMS AT THE WONDERGARDEN FES­TI­VAL, SILO PARK, DE­CEM­BER 31, WWW.WONDERGARDEN.CO.NZ

ESTÈRE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.