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For Estelle, There’s No Substitute: Parlour Exclusive

Estelle has huge bollocks and takes no bollocks. In other words, she’s mad sassy and won’t tolerate rubbish. She’s also a tad cocky but rightfully so. Let’s face it, she crept into the states and filled a void for a lot of folks who wish Lauryn Hill’s “heart was still in rhymin’.” Her LP, Shine, has disbelievers catchin’ flies and the states waiting for her next hot single. She’s also just received five MOBO nominations, including nods for best song, best video for “American Boy” and best album. PARLOUR shot the shit with the bitchin’ Brit (that’s a compliment in London…) and got the dirty on her latest fashion must-haves, London blokes vs. American boys and who she’s about to let dutty-wine all over her next single, “Come Over.” Respect!

Estelle…on fashion.

My fashion sense is just comfortable. I like to do shoulder pads and edges and corners on clothes. But I still want to be comfortable. [I love] Jean Pierre Braganza. He’s from London. He’s wicked insane. I feel like he makes things just for me. I’ve never met him but his stuff is just perfect. So I’m smashin’ on him right now. Then there’s Kristian Aadnevick who I wore in the “American Boy” video. I also like Diesel because their stuff is kinda Grace Jones-y, and I think Grace Jones is the shit! But my ultimate high-end designer is Fendi and individual designer would be Karl Lagerfeld. In UK I’m at Top Shop all day, Harvey Nichols, Southbridge and Sloan Street. In the states, I’m at the vintage shops. You can find like a thirty-dollar bag then later it’s like, “oh shit, it’s real snakeskin!”

…on American boys vs. British blokes.

American boys are fantastic. They are fun. I never date at home like that. And the past four years have been dating disasters for me. Here, I’m just getting to know different blokes, I’ve gotten some really good friends out of it. But, boys are boys. They’re crazy and they’re good, wherever you go in the world. I tried to find differences but now I don’t. I think style-wise—I mean, I’m into fashion so I look at that—I like British boys. But in America, the swagger is together. That word swagger isn’t enough. They have their own lil’ strut; it’s a lot more of their attitude.

…on the music industry in the UK and the US.

[The music industry in the UK] has its racism—because they’ll still come at you and you’re like “How stupid do you sound?”—but combined with that, they don’t know how to handle me. If I have confidence then they see it as cocky. Or they say you’re getting too big for your britches ’cause you went to America. Nope! I been this big in my britches, since I was a kid. I’m a confident young woman. My mom raised me like this. People in the states take things at face value. Like it is what it is… they love artists with confidence. It’s more about the dollar than it is about the class and the systems. Which I can appreciate to a point because then I don’t have to deal with people telling me “well it’s never been done by a Black girl before.” It’s more about “Let me show you how I do it and let me give you a plan so that you can make money out of this.” There are systems here to work for you.

…on comparisons.
I’ve heard the Lauryn Hill comparisons and it’s like “how do I feel?” It’s Lauryn! She’s sold like ten million records! I listen to her album like it’s the first day. What do you mean? It’s just because we both rap and sing though. The first I saw her live was in 2006. Can you believe that? I’d never seen this chick live ever. So when I seen her I was like “Ahhh, she’s wicked!” I’ve heard the Amy Winehouse comparisons too. But, it’s only because we’re both British. Other than Britain I don’t see any other similarities. The girl is bad though. She sings with conviction. It’s like she gets possessed by the friggin’ Ronettes when she gets on stage.

…on who she’s stalking for future collabos.

MARY J. BLIGE, MARY J. BLIGE, MARY J. BLIGE. **Laughs** I met her once and people were telling me that she listens to my album like “that’s my girl.” And I’m like, “oh my God, I’m Mary’s girl!” Like if you know Mary, you know me. On a real level like she opens her mouth and it’s like YES! Exactly! A collabo with me, Mary and Lauryn would be insane. My next single is gonna be “Come Over.” I wanna get Sean Paul on that so that should be crazy. As far as producers, I’d love to work with Babyface, simply because of how he just came back on that Lil Wayne song, “Comfortable.” Sick. Nobody else could have done that for Wayne. Ne-Yo, none of them. It had to be Babyface.

…on her top five artists, ever.

Mary J., Kanye. Ne-Yo, Ella Fitzgerald and Michael Jackson. They do it for me on any given day.

-Qimmah Saafir

qimmah saafir. writer. researcher. blogger. all-around helluva chiq.

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