Surely the UK success story of recent times, Estelle has gone from Skitz to hits, fleeing the Domestic Violence of the London scene to shack up with her American Boy. But am I the only one thinking this transformation from underground rapper to pop singer remains unconvincing?
You can imagine the conversation that went down in the Atlantic Records boardroom: “Look Estelle, this whole rapping thing it’s not gonna sell here. Americans don’t really ‘get’ rappers from the UK. But singing? Now that’s a universal language right? Why don’t you just become a full-time singer? Oh and fix those teeth while you’re at it!”
Of course, Estelle will tell you she’s always been a singer and she won’t be pigeon holed, she just wants to make good music. But it seems she just wants to make any kind of music that sells, or is told will sell. Here she continues her trawl through the US big name hit list, linking up with consistently terrible collaboration slag Sean Paul for this radio friendly, reggae-lite workout. In fairness it’s not a bad song and her vocal is pleasant enough but it’s all a bit languid and corporate.
There’s no doubt Estelle is talented but I can’t help thinking her ‘I’ll give anything a go, me’ approach could go against her. Artists attempting to cover all bases while lacking a solid musical identity often tarnish their long term credibility. At the risk of sounding like a spoilsport drunk on haterade, I will concede she’s now a fully fledged pop star with a whole new audience at her feet and I wish her all the success in the world. But if this is the best she can do it may be a flash in the pan affair.
By: Max Weldon