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In Love And Music, Estelle Is Out To Get It Right

Estelle's latest album is <em>True Romance</em>.
Sophy Holland
/
Courtesy of the artist
Estelle's latest album is <em>True Romance</em>.

When the world met Estelle, she was looking for an "American Boy" — or so went the chorus of her 2008 hit. In real life, the British-born R&B singer did get her American Boy, but a few years back, they went through a rough breakup. Estelle channeled that heartbreak into her 2012 album All Of Me. As she tells NPR's Arun Rath, her next thought was, "Now what?"

"And I thought, this is the most fun, amazing new period of time in my life — let me write about the quest for true romance," she says. "If all those things I thought were gonna bring me true romance didn't work, what will? How do I do this? And am I messing up? Am I doing this wrong?"

True Romance is the name of her latest album, out this Tuesday, and it's not all hearts and flowers and violins. Estelle says her experiences in the past few years have changed the way she makes music, both in terms of writing lyrics ("I end up living a lot of the things I write and sing about, so I'm pretty careful now," she jokes) and the palette of sounds she draws from, as a Londoner now relocated to the States.

"It's one thing hearing it from the U.K.; it's a whole other thing living it, you know?" she says. "Having been to Memphis when you've heard about Memphis for so long, having met Aretha Franklin and sung for her after hearing her sing for so long. Your perspective on the music and the intention is so different. It makes you really want to do it right."

Hear more of Estelle's conversation with Arun Rath at the audio link.

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