Estelle
Estelle (Courtesy photo)

London-born singer Estelle’s double-platinum, Grammy-winning 2008 hit “American Boy” featuring Kanye West made her a star in the U.S. and internationally. Her follow-up album, “All of Me,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance.

But for her fifth studio album, “Lover’s Rock” (Established 1980, Inc./VP Records), set for release next month, she delved into the genre of reggae, a stylistic departure she said came about organically.

“It formed itself,” she said of the new album, her first since 2015’s “True Romance.” “It just happened to be all reggae songs — three years into it. … I’ve always loved reggae music. I’ve always done all genres … different types of music. This is the first time I’ve done one genre.”

“Better,” the first single and video from the “Lover’s Rock” album, also appears on the 25th anniversary edition of VP Records’ popular annual “Reggae Gold” album — the second straight year a song of Estelle’s was chosen for the compilation, following last year’s “Love Like Ours,” a collaboration with Tarrus Riley.

These days, Estelle seems to be all about love.

“For me it’s what the vibe. I could not do records without being in love,” she pointed out. “I look at my mom and dad [and] the memory of their love. … They were separated for 10 years and came back together. The idea, that your love is your love and will come back to you.”

In 2015, Estelle performed on season one of the hit Fox show “Empire,” singing a duet with show star Jussie Smollett which helped carry the show’s soundtrack to #1 on the Billboard 200. She also had a cameo in the 2017 blockbuster “Girls Trip” as well as an ongoing voice-over gig as Garnet in “Steven Universe” (Cartoon Network).

But her music career is paramount, and her love for all genres of music and her West Indian roots show can be heard throughout “Lovers’ Rock.”

“My dad was in a band. He was very popular,” said Estelle, who has worked with such music greats such as Sean Paul and Jerry Wonder. “I’m giving respect to the genre that raised me.”

Estelle’s single “Better” reminded her of her parents’ love for each other and that theme is carried throughout the project.

“The very first time when I heard it, I got a vision of my mom and dad,” she said. “It’s … original reggae and R&B [from] the ’80s.”

Moseley’s syndicated column, “The Pulse of Entertainment,” has an estimated weekly readership of over 1/4 million.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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