Music, // October 21, 2019
Estelle California — MUSICIAN
Interview with the musician Estelle California —
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Estelle California, I am an artist, I write compose, sing and play piano, I love dancing too anything with music and all its expression, but I would say beyond all I am committed to serve, to change something in the world with my work. There is a big calling in me that needs to be followed.
2. Why music?
Well I would not say its a choice, its more a no choice, it is like even when I tried to run away from it, or had to , it would come back to me even stronger than before…so now I am ‘obedient’ in a way, and I don’t even think about it, I know its what I am here to do, its how my soul needs to express itself.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to involved in music?
There are videos of me, old ones with no sound yet, with me at maybe 15 months old in diaper singing and dancing with a mic ….so its nothing new 🙂 it just took me a long journey to find the way and become who I am now.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and style(s)?
So I realized this lately, that actually the style doesn’t matter so much to me, I am so in love with Music worldwide, like so many different kind and also discovering new ones all the time, that I see my songs easily being performed or recorded in a many different styles. What will not change though I think, that I would not compromise with or bend, is that what I am most attached to and committed to is my lyrics and my subjects… and I don’t judge the other artists who write romantic songs at all by the way, I think it’s beautiful, and I made few ones, more to say it’s not for me though. My subject matter is what keeps me up and alive and is more important than music actually. If I was not a musician, I would still be volunteering and serving the Black communities and helping to empower people. That is all to me, and not a choice, just another no choice, it’s what I have to do, all my life has been coherent with it, I know there are many others things to do but that is my obsession, my love, my duty.
5. How do you work and approach a new piece that you are working on?
Well I believe I channel the lyrics from my soul or whatever, but a good channel and I am very grateful. So the writing part comes to me in few minutes always, and I can have like 4 per day in creative time. I had the song ‘Star’ in this shape exactly I refused to touch any of the lyrics even with the production and I got it in 5 min a day I had a feeling I was falling like a deep anger coming out. Emotions are hugely powerful, I think we should welcome them all, as a power to create or to do thing, and not condemn them, it’s an amazing motor in life… So I am very good at this having heavy emotions in my body and then receiving the words that relieve me, or sometimes it just falls from nowhere, I received the next single ‘Black is the True Light’ when I was driving one day, I had to stop and write and had no idea of why and what was coming to me then.
For the music, it’s different and it is a longer process, it’s what I have been trained with as well as my classical training … But of course I have a natural rich diversity of chords and when I take the time to be patient until the ego get out of the way it comes easily too. Then I put it all together and it’s another story but I always ask myself, ‘what are the lyrics for this music that came to me?’ and the answer comes right away, like an evidence.
6. What are your favorite musicians(s), singers(s)?
I am not so much in the current world, but in there I would say LP, Fantastic Negrito, HER, India Arie, Lady Gaga and few others. Mainly I have been influenced by two monumental female singers and composers on their pianos, both with a story and a message, Nina Simone and Barbara in France, they raised me, mothered me in so many ways. They were so powerful, so soulful just by themselves on their piano, so connected to their essence and so beautiful without trying to be.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
Lately I am receiving amazing emails about my song ‘Star’ and what I put out in the world, like my post on Instagram or Facebook, I try to share meaningful feelings and thoughts most of the time.And I feel that people are receiving my genuineness and getting it all without me trying to make it happen. I think it is all so coherent that my work speaks by itself, and I am so grateful that the energy of it is so powerful and efficient if I can say.I had a beautiful woman this week thanking me for empowering women, I mean how beautiful is that? To wake up with these words, then I know it all was worth it. I am in a good direction serving my calling, on the right path doing what I am supposed to do, I don’t see what can feel better than this actually! These people are allowing me to give back to serve and giving is the real gift actually, so I am fulfilled and grateful .
8. What do you like about your work?
I like everything I have to say, more or less but it is the dream of my life and I am doing it in a way beyond what I could have hoped because I am able to join what matters to me the most which is my people and spirituality to my best way of expression which is music, it is all what lights me up together it is magical… Also, what is gonna be even higher is the stage, that is pure golden energy that we touched it in the live session. We recorded the songs live with a full incredible band directed by Narada Michael Walden, and that was beyond all like happiness in pills like sparkles of joy so this is what’s gonna happen soon when the EP is out and we are going to begin to perform.
9. What advice would you give to other musicians?
I would not give any 🙂 we are all different with a different journey, it took me a long time to be able to put all my callings out in the world this way, there were no marketing rules or business ones that could have helped me it was a spiritual journey, a healing journey, a whole life unfolding in coherence.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I try to not project too much cause it’s ego speaking usually, but I do see myself doing everything I do now being even more established and more powerful with more time because my daughter will be bigger, so all in a bigger scale. I see myself in Africa every year working, with black communities worldwide, working on the links between African Americans and Africans also. There is something so moving there that I need to shine. I hope I will have my foundation The Black Glory by then to support and spread the black glory worldwide. I hope that I will have helped a lot of people in many ways by then and that the movement we have started on my Facebook page “The Soul Family the one of the heart that knows no color, no prejudice but Freedom”, will be very big by then…we are 10k already such a beautiful energy of people. And maybe, hopefully, if I am able to work also on this side of my life one day, I could eventually have a man in there 🙂 but thats a hope not a goal!
Lisa Freeman is an Arts Illustrated’s Correspondent, representing the United Kingdom.
Lisa is also a Public Relations Director for – Quite Great PR & Marketing in Cambridge.