ESTELLE SHINES BRIGHTLY AROUND THE WORLD; “AMERICAN BOY (FEAT. KANYE WEST)” DOMINATES THE EUROPEAN AIRPLAY CHARTS, REACHING #1 IN THE UK, FRANCE, ITALY, BELGIUM, DENMARK, AND IRELAND; SINGLE IS NOW #2 ON iTUNES’ “TOP R&B/SOUL SONGS” CHART, WHILE ASCENDING THE TOP 40 AT URBAN AND CHR/POP RADIO; BRITISH SOUL SENSATION STARS IN A VARIETY OF PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGNS FROM LEADING FASHION COMPANIES
Homeschool/Atlantic recording artist Estelle continues to dominate the international airwaves with her blockbuster hit single, “American Boy (Feat. Kanye West).” The chart-topping track is featured on the British hip-hop/soul sensation’s critically acclaimed US debut album, “SHINE,” which was released earlier this year.
“American Boy (Feat. Kanye West)” has ignited a true international commotion, reaching #1 on a variety of charts in a wide range of countries. In addition to hitting #1 on the European Airplay Chart, the single has topped the airplay charts in the UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, and Ireland. What’s more, “American Boy” has hit the peak position on the iTunes Stores’ “Top Songs” chart in such countries as the UK, France, and Germany. Earlier this year, 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” is currently the #2 track on the iTunes Store’s “Top R&B/Soul Songs” chart, as well as a top 25 success on the overall “Top Songs” ranking. The single is also ascending the top 40 at Urban and CHR/Pop radio outlets nationwide, while scoring additional play at Rhythmic, Hot AC, and Urban AC. The “American Boy” companion video – directed by Syndrome (Danity Kane, Lupe Fiasco) – is now in rotation at MTV, BET, VH1, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, mtvU, MTV Tr3s, BET J, Fuse, The N, and VH1 Soul, where Estelle has been named a “You Oughtta Know” new artist.
Furthermore, Estelle was honored as a “Best New Artist” nominee from the annual BET Awards. The Los Angeles Times recently declared Estelle to be among the top candidates for a “Best New Artist” nomination at next year’s Grammy Awards. “(Estelle is) the type of artist Grammy voters love,” wrote music reporter Todd Martens in his “Extended Play” column. “Her fresh take on R&B spans genres, from the reggae bump of ‘Come Over’ to the jazzy inflections of ‘Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)’ to the retro timelessness of ‘No Substitute Love.’ Estelle’s more inventive than 2006 ‘Best New Artist’ nominee Chris Brown, and just as elegant as 2005 ‘Best New Artist’ winner John Legend, who also, by the way, guests on ‘SHINE.’”
Currently booked on a jam-packed itinerary of UK clubs and European festivals, Estelle will also find the time to cross the Atlantic for a US radio promotional tour, slated for July and August. A full-scale concert tour of North America is tentatively scheduled for later this year – details will be announced shortly.
On Thursday, July 24th, Estelle will perform at the 2008 Pepsi MLS All-Star Game Halftime Show, broadcast live on ESPN2, TeleFutura and CBC (check local listings). Major League Soccer’s 13th annual All-Star Game features the 2008 MLS All-Star squad taking on the storied English Premier League side, West Ham United, at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Estelle has already made a number of additional high-profile TV appearances, including performances on CBS’s Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, the nationally syndicated Ellen DeGeneres Show, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Hailed as a true fashion icon, Estelle has united with a number of prominent clothing companies, including Puma, for whom she serves as official “style ambassador.” She is also featured in Levi’s breakthrough advertising campaign, “Unbuttoned,” which features her among a gallery of people who contribute to the world’s culture in music, art, fashion, film & retail. The Levi’s campaign includes creative new digital technology and print ads in an array of major national publications. This past spring saw Estelle starring in LRG Luxirie’s 2008 advertorial campaign.
Estelle will also be among the stars participating in the Candie’s Foundation’s fall/winter PSA campaign. The Candie’s Foundation mission is to educate teens about the devastating consequences of teenage pregnancy, an epidemic that condemns hundreds of thousands of teen mothers and their children to a life of poverty. Other influential celebrities taking part in the campaign include Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Fergie, Ashley Tisdale, Rachel Bilson, Josh Henderson, Ciara, Hilary Duff, and Teddy Geiger, among others.
In addition, Estelle has been named an Ambassador for Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit entrepreneurial foundation of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Through Virgin Unite’s “Music Movement” program, she will be working to empower women and disadvantaged young people around the world. Estelle has been involved with Virgin Unite for the past few years, helping to raise €68K in 2006 in support of their work with young people in South Africa. Estelle also worked with Virgin Unite to organize a forum for young Africans to voice their dreams for the future during the 2005 Make Poverty History – G8 Summit.
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“SHINE” – which marks the premiere release from Grammy Award-winner John Legend’s new Homeschool Records label, in partnership with Atlantic Records – is without question one of the year’s most compelling releases. Executive Produced by Legend and Atlantic Records Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman, 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.
“Her sound is a unique blend of hip hop, pop, reggae and soul,” explains 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.”
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” 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 had 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.”