For her latest album, All of Me, singer-songwriter Estelle is singing from the heart. Four years in the making, her much-anticipated collection marks the first release since the British songstress' U.S. debut album, Shine.
During a recent interview with The Huffington Post, the Grammy Award-winner opened up about All of Me and what went into it.
How does it feel to finally release All of Me?
I can't really believe that it's happening. I took my time making it, so I'm really happy that it's coming out. While recording I was like, "I don't want to rush anything for the sake of anybody." So I just took my time, because I wanted it to be right.
I noticed that you released your debut album, The 18th Day, overseas in 2004, followed by your U.S. debut, Shine, in 2008. Is there any significance to your releasing an album every four years?
No, not by choice, it just takes me a while. I think when you go on a three-year period, every three years you're a different person, especially in your 20s. So for me it was essentially me living out that process. And it just so happened that I noticed it myself. I was like, "Oh my goodness, every four years." There's nothing scientifically planned behind it, it happens the way it happens. I'm trying to close that gap on the next go-round, so I'm doing some recording now.
How would you view the subject matter on this album, in comparison to your previous effort?
On this one you're going to see all of me. It's about feeling emotion and just who I am as a human being. One of the first things that I said while recording this album was, "I'm going to tap my raw feelings, whether it was being happy, sad, crying or whatever and take it into the studio and figure out how to write and sing these songs with that energy in mind." And it wasn't easy at all. It was scary to have people see me walking around crying. And the songs that came out of it, I fell in love with them.
What inspired you to include the various interludes on the album, which feature people expressing themselves?
I took the titles to some of the songs and had five of my friends sit down and discuss what they felt they meant and how they felt about them. And that was a special thing within itself, to just have that conversation in the middle of the songs. I wanted people to really get into the themes and ideas behind the album to get the message.
Which track would you consider to be the most personal?
The most personal track would have to be "Love The Way We Used To." It's one of the songs that I listen to outside of all the records that I wrote. I recorded it after "Thank You." "Thank You" is a breakup record, so this record I eventually cried all the way through. When I wrote this one, I went and met up with one of my best friends from 10 years ago that I got into a relationship with that wasn't all the way correct. So I made it correct and we're cool now, which is good. And that's who I wrote that song for.
How would you describe the recording process behind "Thank You"?
Akon wrote it and I just did all of the singing and arrangements. That guy is incredible. I went in, sung it and it took me four takes to get it right without crying or breaking down all the way through it. So it was crazy. I didn't know why I was crying at the time, but it worked itself out.
Do you have a follow-up single lined up?
Yes, "Wonderful Life" is lined up, "Do My Thing" is lined up and "International (Serious)" with Trey Songz and Chris Brown is lined up. So we're going in.
Are you working on any other projects or collaborations?
I write a lot of music and do a bunch of hooks every so often. I just did a song with [Young] Jeezy, Curren$y. And I'm just doing a lot of writing with some other R&B artists, so we'll see.