It might take nine months for a woman to have a child, but Estelle waited a sweet three years before delivering her most recent baby, her third album All of Me. And she’s definitely got that glow. The British songstress took some time off to rediscover why she loves making music and returned to the scene with an extremely personal and glamorous, yet round-the-way compilation that hits every brick of her relationship path.
The doe-eyed chanteuse, clad in a generous amount of black lace and confidence, presented 10 tracks from her upcoming album to an intimate audience of media outlets at Openhouse, a sultry lounge in New York City on Wednesday night. With her mentor John Legend by her side, she explained the thought process behind each song, receiving head nods and “amens” along the way.
Estelle offered up a taste of what’s to come (Note: This is not the final tracklisting), plus a comforting promise that lamenting a relationship doesn’t always have to be a solo process, especially when you have many “persons of interest,” as she coyly calls them, waiting in the wings.
This is Estelle’s self-proclaimed Capricorn anthem—the moment when she got her mojo back. Leading her listeners into the album is an art in itself and the singer switches between spitting and singing on this one, in an upbeat ode to coming back into the game strong.
“International (Serious)” featuring Chris Brown and Trey Songz
You’ll need a passport for this lighthearted track, which is inspired by Estelle’s jetsetting lifestyle. After touting Breezy and Trey Songz’ global work ethic, she thought, “Why don’t we get on a record and get cocky and talk about traveling and being bougie and shit?”
“Love the Way We Used To”
This midtempo track has a doo-wop feel that compliments the classic sentiment that Estelle describes: nostalgia for the best friend/boyfriend combo that got away. “Who hurt you?” the songbird was asked by friends after hearing this honest track. She kept her game face on though. Some things are better left unsung.
“Sometimes it’s OK for the woman to say something,” John Legend, who co-wrote the song, explains, expressing appreciation for females who make the first move. With strong vocals, this playful track makes the perfect and optimistic prelude to spring fever.
This one is lyrical Prozac for the soul. The song encourages positivity, “going through all the fuckery, but still smiling,” as she puts it. Sweet without being sugary, Estelle sings about finding solace in small pleasures.
“Back to Love”
An uptempo dance floor anthem with enormous mainstream potential, this song makes it hard to sit still. It’s about gaining perspective after a breakup and embracing a healthier state of emotional clarity, while out at the club, with your sexy on dangerously high levels.
“Speak Ya Mind”
“I think women are expected to do what they’re told—and that’s some bullshit,” says Estelle. She’s back on her hip-hop swag on this fearless cut, her lyrical and vocal chops likened to those of the ubiquitous “American Boy.”
“Do My Thing” featuring Janelle Monáe
Penned by Ne-Yo and featuring the quirky musical powerhouse Janelle Monáe, this track is platinum-plated single material. Like much of Monáe’s music, this song has an energetic retro feel and double the beat-riding vocal strength. Lines like “I walk around like this because I can” fill the quota for just enough ego to still be lovable.
A broken-hearted Estelle celebrates her womanhood on this empowering Akon-penned single. “These tears I cry sure won’t be the last/ This pain inside never seems to pass,” the emotional Brit sings to her cheating lover on the Jerry Wonda production. Ladies, this one’s for you.
“Break My Heart” featuring Rick Ross
Another midtempo, relatable ode to an object of Estelle’s affection that she’s just not sure about trusting. The Miami Bawse adds his usual braggadocio to her poignant yet promising musical love letter.