The most enduring love stories often repeat themselves during different times, at different places, and in different people.
As Estelle built the framework for her fifth full-length and first album for the newly minted partnership between her own Established 1980 label and VP Records, Lover’s Rock, the multiplatinum GRAMMY® Award-winning UK singer, songwriter, actress, and humanitarian realized a pattern. Her own relationship experiences bore a subtle resemblance to those of her Senegalese mother and Grenadian father who “got together, had children, broke up, found each other again twenty years later, and happily married a decade after.”
Lover’s Rock wouldn’t just be a reprise of this love story though. By the same token, the music from her formative years reappeared in the album’s DNA as she rooted the record in the reggae and Afrobeat sounds of her childhood. She can vividly recall classics from Dennis Brown, Freddie McGregor, Pépé Kallé, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, and more resounding in the house. Throughout her career, she carried a passion for these styles, bumping Vybz Kartel on the tour bus and sound tracking dinner parties at her Brooklyn pad with West Indies favorites.
As the vision for the music took shape, she tapped the talents of producers such as “Come Over” collaborator Supa Dups—who contributed four songs—Dre Harris, Reefa, and more to bring a cohesive vision to life.
Lover’s Rock represents a full circle moment for Estelle. On the heels of her acclaimed 2004 debut, The 18th Day, she soared to international prominence on 2008’s Shine. The lead single, “American Boy” featuring Kanye West, won a 2009 GRAMMY® in the category of “Best Rap Sung Collaboration” and achieved an RIAA double-platinum certification. She released the follow-up All of Me in 2012, and the single, “Thank You”, received a GRAMMY® nomination for “Best R&B Performance.” 2015’s True Romance yielded the smash “Conqueror.” Guest starring in a popular episode of Empire in Season One, she joined star Jussie Smollett for a duet of the tune. It stood out as “one of the show’s highest-charting songs” and fueled the Original Soundtrack to a #1 bow on the Billboard Top 200. Beyond Empire, she has cameoed in films such as Girls Trip and voiced lead character Garnet on Cartoon Network’s smash Steven Universe since 2013. Estelle has also launched her own online boutique named Elle Vie.
Simultaneously, she launched the All of Me foundation. The charity grants college scholarships and opportunities abroad to youth. Among many highlights, it sponsored a trip to Senegal for Los Angeles students who had never ventured outside of the city prior.
In the end, Lover’s Rock communicates a narrative that’s as universal as it is personal for Estelle as well as a love story for the ages.
“I want people to walk away with a feeling that love is possible,” she leaves off. “That’s why I’m sharing all of this. Hopefully, we all get that feeling.”