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Estelle on Creating ‘Lovers Rock’ and Healing Through Therapy

Estelle sat down with EBONY in April to discuss her more than 15-year career, and how her parents’ complicated love affair and going to therapy led to her most recent music. 

In September 2018, after a four-year break, the British-born artist released her fifth studio album, Lovers Rock, a reflection of her love life as told through the lens of her parents’ relationship. The 14-track project is a blend of reggae, soca, Afrobeats and African music. It explores the highs and lows of her mom and dad meeting, having children, breaking up and reconciling after two decades before getting married. 

“Reinventing myself is an easy task,” she about returning to music. “I think re-presenting it to the world is the hard part because you have to start again from scratch every time to break people into different parts of who you are. I’ve been this artist, as far as I’m concerned, my whole life. I’ve just kind of given it to people in spurts. If you listen to my first album, Shine, and you saw my first run, to me now this is just a more potent version of that.” 

Lovers Rock, as she explained, began “back at basecamp,” because “at the core, it’s who I am … It’s where I was raised, [my] childhood and family parties.” 

In between the time of her first breakout single, “American Boy” featuring Kanye West and creating this album, Estelle has changed labels and began a voiceover career. She knew she needed to clear her head and share her journey with her fans. 

“I pulled myself apart with this album. I started to write songs, and they sounded like old songs. I felt like nothing was progressing,” the Grammy winner said. “As I was doing therapy, the realization dawned on me that I was repeating my parents’ love story, and it had nothing to do with my personal story, and I didn’t want to do it anymore.” 

Estelle began therapy to help herself learn why she was mirroring what she saw in her childhood. She conceded that at first, it was hard “to say the things out loud and not feel crazy.” She is vocal about seeking help because she wants to normalize mental health wellness. 

“I’m telling the world because I don’t care,” Estelle said. “I’m a better human being and let me share how you become that.” 

Watch the full clip above to hear the singer’s personal favorite track and how her parents and nine siblings reacted to her album, which is currently available on all streaming platforms. 

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