Though originally hailing from France, singer, songwriter, pianist and saxophonist, Estelle California was so smitten with her current home that she changed her name to reflect it. Her current life is a far cry from her childhood growing up in France, suffering physical and mental abuse and living in a neighbourhood which had an inherently racist mentality. She eventually left to spend time in South Africa, a period which helped her to realise that her calling in life was to give back to black communities and those who have been oppressed around the world. Estelle is now based in Oakland, California, a place she feels is her true home, surrounded by communities of all colours and background living harmoniously. A trained opera singer, her latest single is Star, which looks back, in the intro, to the times when slaves had no name but that of their master and declares Estelle’s identity and life commitment.
“The lyrics of ‘Star’ speak about identity, self-worth, and the truth taken away from you as a victim and how the resilience and the journey you overcome are the special light we shine.”
As a fierce humanitarian, Estelle California has found music to be the perfect vehicle to express herself, looking to build bridges and promote positivity ahead of fuelling hate. By telling her story and standing up for the ones who have suffered throughout history, she hopes valuable lessons can be learned. Estelle feels a close kinship with Nina Simone, though her inspirations come from black musicians around the world, as well as Classical and Argentinian music. Combing elements of pop, soul and jazz to imbue a truly international feel to her tracks, Estelle’s sings with real soul and heart, her life experience coming through to express her passion.
Estelle’s forthcoming EP, My Name is Freedom, sees her backed by legendary producer and drummer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston; Mariah Carey; Lionel Richie); ace guitarist Vernon “Ice” Black (Diana Ross, Anastacia; Babyface); James Henry and veteran vocalists Larry Batiste, Cornell Carter and Tony Lindsay.
“I am not a politician; I am an artist with a story and a deep calling that nothing has succeeded in shutting down. I am here to spread some energy and light with this music, and to make the ones who feel like I did, less alone and give them the hope to rise up”.