(AllHipHop Features) AllHipHop.com recently spoke with singer-songwriter Estelle about her upcoming album True Romance. Besides covering her fourth studio LP, the “Make Her Say (Beat It Up)” performer also chatted about various other topics.
Fans of Estelle know she is just as comfortable dropping bars as she is singing a melody, so the London native shares some of the British emcees that are making waves and her own personal top 5 singer/rappers of all time.
And music is just one interest that Estelle incorporates into her career. She is also the voice of the animated character Garnet on Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe, and she teamed with SheKnows.com for the “#makehersay #nomakeup #nofilter” campaign. And what about reality television? Could an Estelle show be in the future?
Find out what Estelle had to say about those subjects and more.
You’ve been living here in America for a while. What would you say is the biggest difference between the music scene in the U.S. as compared to the U.K.?
I love it here. It’s still pretty closed as far as how big certain scenes are. Like the EDM scene came pretty big on a commercial level, but at home the more underground EDM scene – I hate calling it EDM. It’s house music to me – but that scene is still huge. What you guys would classify as “underground” that’s pop and mainstream out there.
I think the appreciation is getting bigger and wider. You’re hearing people who know more about artists like Sampha, and people like that, over here who know and listen to them regularly. It has completely changed since I moved here which makes me happy. I get to see my friends flourishing.
Who would you say are some of the top British emcees out now?
There’s always a bunch. There’s always a consistent crop every other year. There’s Krept & Konan who had a record called “Don’t Waste My Time” that was out late last year. That was kind of big. They were doing it big on the underground.
There’s a guy called Ghetto or Getts. He’s consistently awesome. He just released an album. Wretch 32 is another artist who has consistently been dope. Then you have Tinie [Tempah] and Dizzee [Rascal] who are consistent as well.
Then there’s this young girl named Lady Leshurr coming up who’s going to be amazing. She’s working her album right now and moving more than I used to move. [laughs] She’s out there putting in the work. There’s a good few.
You sing and rap. Who are your top five singer/rappers of all time?
Of course, Lauryn Hill. I’m going to throw Wyclef in there too. He sings, and he does it well. Missy is great. She’s awesome. Myself. [laughs] Yeezy [Kanye West]. I don’t care what anyone says. The guy can hold a melody, and he does it well.
You know who was good – I don’t know if it was considered “singing” – but could definitely hold a melody and rap at the same time? Nelly. He was good. He can hold a melody and rap in the same way the Yeezy does it now. When he had those records out, they were good. I definitely used to listen to “drop down and get your eagle on” [“Flap Your Wings”]. I didn’t drop down or get my eagle on, but I listened to the record.
How much of your personality is in the character of Garnet?
The actual character’s look was based on the character I played in the video for “Freak.” I play like a dominatrix type of character. Everyone was like, “What were you doing? You look crazy. What’s going on?” The show’s creator, Rebecca Sugar, loved that video and the song. She based the character off that. So that was pretty awesome.
It is me. I have a pretty dry wit. I don’t laugh at absolutely everything, but I’m quite clever or slick, I want to say. I love taking a piss out of somebody. I’m pretty sarcastic, so I think [Garnet’s personality is close to mine]. Her whole character is pretty deadpan. She takes care of everything and everyone. She makes sure everyone is okay.
You’ve made appearances on reality shows in the past. Would you ever consider doing your own reality show?
I don’t think I would do an outright reality show. I love not having to put make-up on in the morning to go anywhere, so I would hate to have to do it in my bed. You know you can’t get to be on TV without having make-up on, because that might make you look human.
So I don’t know if I would personally do that, but I would do a show based on my life. I actually would. I think it would be pretty interesting for people to see what it really is like.
Does that mean we would see Estelle dragging women across stages and throwing wine in people’s face?
Absolutely not. The one time I’ve gotten remotely close to that kind of behavior I had people behind me. And it wasn’t wine. It was a real alcohol bottle. I had people around walk me in another direction versus letting me get into that kind of moment. That was just the one time. I don’t generally engage in that behavior. I don’t think that’s healthy or has anything to do with real life. So absolutely never, not on TV. I wouldn’t want anyone to actually seeing that.
You mentioned before about waking up and having to put on make-up. You were involved in the “#NoMakeUp #NoFilter” campaign. Why did you decide to take part in that campaign?
People who would post their pictures and opinions like, “Oh my God. She has people having sex [in her ‘Make Her Say’ video]” would come from people who were so made up. It was such a convoluted statement to make when half your pictures were butt naked or booty pictures or titty pictures.
I wanted for real women to come forward and say, “Here’s my clean, clear face. Here’s what I look like with no make-up, and I’m still sexy. I still look great, because I’m a human being.” We’re not here to pretend or give the energy of fakeness. This is real life.
For all the women that did it, I went through and I looked. I went on their pages, and I saw with make-up versus without. Ninety percent of them looked great without make-up. That’s reality.
There’s nothing wrong with the skin you have. There’s nothing wrong with your face, your eyes, your nose. That’s what God gave you. It’s fine, and it’s okay to put it out there. This is what the rest of the world looks like. This is what everybody else looks like. Ten percent of the people on TV don’t look like that. Don’t be shamed into thinking you don’t look good because you don’t have on a ton of make-up every morning. It’s alright. It’s fine, be human.
Check out footage of Estelle at the Diane von Furstenberg Awards below.