ESTELLE LIGHTS IT UP WITH “SHINE”; BRITISH SENSATION CROSSES THE ATLANTIC WITH DEBUT RELEASE FROM JOHN LEGEND’S HOMESCHOOL LABEL; FEATURES UK #1 SMASH, “AMERICAN BOY (FEAT. KANYE WEST),” PLUS COLLABORATIONS WITH SUCH LUMINARIES AS WILL. I. AM, WYCLEF JEAN, MARK RONSON, SWIZZ BEATZ, AND CEE-LO; US CLUB TOUR CONTINUES, WITH MAJOR TV PERFORMANCES SLATED THROUGH EARLY MAY; “SHINE” ARRIVES IN STORES AND ONLINE APRIL 29TH
Homeschool and Atlantic Records have announced the upcoming release of “SHINE,” the hugely anticipated US debut album from British hip-hop/soul sensation, Estelle. The album – which features the current UK #1 single, “American Boy (Feat. Kanye West)” – lands in stores across North America on April 29th.
“SHINE” marks the premiere release from John Legend’s new Homeschool Records label, in partnership with Atlantic Records. “Her sound is a unique blend of hip-hop, pop, reggae and soul,” explains the Grammy Award-winning Legend. “She has a special voice, unlike any other voice out there in mainstream music, and she can really write. I’m excited and honored to have Estelle as the first artist on my label. I believe the world is going to fall in love with her album, as I already have. Estelle is an amazing talent, and she’s going to do big things.”
Legend – who executive produced “SHINE” alongside Atlantic Records Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman – is hosting a number of dates on Estelle’s current US club tour. The shows continue through a May 1st performance at Los Angeles’ Temple Bar (see attached itinerary).
“American Boy (Feat. Kanye West)” continues to dominate the UK singles chart, standing tall at #1 for its fourth consecutive week. Last month, the track made history as the third-ever #1 UK single based on digital sales alone, following in the international smash footsteps of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Here in the US, “American Boy” has just impacted at multi-format radio outlets nationwide, including Urban, Rhythmic, and CHR/Top 40.
What’s more, the “American Boy” companion video is looking like an out-of-the-box breakthrough for Estelle. The clip – directed by Syndrome (Danity Kane, Day26, Lupe Fiasco) – has already been added at MTV, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, mtvU, and BET J. Estelle has also been tapped fort he prestigious BET “Rated Next” and Vh-1 Soul “You Oughta Know” programs.
On April 24th, Estelle made her network television debut on CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman. Additional television performances will include, the nationally syndicated Ellen DeGeneres Show, CBS’s Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“SHINE” is now available for pre-order via the iTunes Store. An exclusive “Deluxe Edition” is also on offer, featuring bonus tracks such as “Life To Me,” Estelle’s 2007 collaboration with renowned hip-hop producer Hi-Tek, as well as the music videos for “American Boy” and “Wait a Minute (Just a Touch).”
Executive Produced by Homeschool Records founder John Legend and Atlantic Records Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman, “SHINE” is without question one of the year’s most anticipated releases. The album features production from an array of studio superstars, including Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen), Wyclef Jean (Mary J. Blige, Shakira), Swizz Beatz (T.I., Jay-Z, Beyoncé), will. i. am (Justin Timberlake, Diddy, Chris Brown), and Supa Dups (of the famed Black Chiney sound system). Joining Estelle behind the mic are such talented artists as John Legend, Kanye West, Cee-Lo, and acclaimed Canadian dancehall/hip-hop MC, Kardinal Offishall.
Even with the star-studded guest roster, it is Estelle who shines brightest throughout the collection. Her idiosyncratic vocals – sensual, swaggering, and always special – unite the album’s diverse spectrum of sonic styles, spanning funk, reggae, R&B, soul, hip-hop, and anything else which strikes the West London girl’s fancy. Tracks such as the dancehall party jam, “Magnificent,” or the brass-powered “Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)” display mature confidence, deep soulfulness, and a remarkable gift for no-holds-barred emotional expression.
With “SHINE,” Estelle more than fulfills the promise of her 2004 debut, “THE 18TH DAY.” That album earned her widespread acclaim, as well as a series of honors including a 2004 MOBO for “Best Newcomer” and three consecutive received “Best Female Artist” trophies from the UK Hip-Hop Awards.
“SHINE” has already received ecstatic critical hosannas in Estelle’s home country. “Equal parts reggae, pop and hip-hop, it’s stuffed with potential singles,” declared the Guardian’s Caroline Sullivan in a four-out-of-five starred review. “There’s a nothing-to-lose confidence in these songs that defies resistance,” raved the Times’ Peter Paphides, hailing the album as “an almighty new beginning.”
Here in the US, Estelle has been acknowledged as one of the year’s most extraordinary new stars. She is among Rolling Stone’s “Ones to Watch in 2008,” Billboard’s “What Great in 2008,” the New York Post’s “New Faces of 2008,” and Paste’s “4 to Watch in 2008,” as well as one of Vibe’s “Next” artists.
Also offering prolifigate praise are Estelle’s fellow artists. “I have never worked with a young artist that reminded me so much of Lauryn Hill,” offers Wyclef Jean. “Estelle is such a talented singer, rapper, vocal arranger, and songwriter,” says Mark Ronson. “I can’t think of anyone else who can do all those things as well as she can. Any time that we work together in the studio, she never comes up with an idea that’s uninspiring.”
“Estelle has a strong unique voice,” notes Cee-Lo, “reminiscent of old soul. Her ability to think outside the box draws me to her, and this is what will draw others to her.” “I feel she will be the next big thing in the R&B/soul game,” adds Swizz Beatz. “She is a great person to work with and I feel her album is a new feel for ‘08.”
(TOUR ITINERARY BELOW)
US Tour – Spring 2008
* Hosted by John Legend
15 Washington DC Zanzibar on the Waterfront*
16 Charlotte, NC Amos’ Southend
17 Atlanta, GA Sugar Hill*
22 Ft Lauderdale, FL The Culture Room
28 New York, NY Highline Ballroom*
1 Los Angeles, CA Temple Bar*