Estelle Fanta Swaray (born 18 January 1980), simply known as Estelle, is a British singer-songwriter, rapper, producer and Grammy Award winner from West London, England. In league with other contemporary British sirens like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Duffy, Estelle is known for her eclectic mix of various musical genres including R&B, soul, reggae, grime, hip hop, pop and dance. She has experienced significant mainstream success with the single "American Boy" feat. Kanye West, for her collaboration with David Guetta in "One Love" and also with songs like "1980", "Free", "Thank You" and "Conqueror".
Estelle is one of the UK’s most celebrated R&B idols, and with a string of critically acclaimed chart-topping hits and platinum-selling albums, she is known for her high-profile collaborations with many of the world’s most famous artists including Kanye West, David Guetta, John Legend, Robin Thicke and will.i.am. She is currently voicing Garnet in Cartoon Network's "Steven Universe."
Estelle was born and raised in London. Her mother's family came from Senegal, and her father is from Grenada. She was the second-born of eight children. Estelle's parent's were very religious when she was growing up, and secular music wasn't allowed in the family's home. Instead, spiritual music - particularly American gospel - and traditional African music were what Estelle grew up listening to. She's previously revealed though, that she would sometimes listen to hip-hop when not at home. By the time she was in her early 20s, she had decided on a music career.
Her career got a jump-start in the early 2000s when she happened to see Kanye West sitting in a restaurant while on a trip to Los Angeles. Estelle approached Kanye, introduced herself and asked for an introduction to John Legend. She eventually got that introduction, and Legend eventually helped produce two songs on her debut album, The 18th Day, which was released in the UK in October 2004. The album took its title after how Estelle's mother almost died while giving birth to the future singer on January 18. The album was a modest success, debuting at No. 35 on the UK albums chart, and generating two top 20 singles. She also received a MOBO Award in the UK for Best Newcomer.
Four years after The 18th Day's release, Estelle returned with her sophomore album, Shine. Though it was her second album, it was the first to be released in the U.S. and her major-label debut. The pop-ish lead single, "American Boy," featuring Kanye West was her first international hit and reached the top 10 in at least a dozen countries, including the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Australia and Turkey. To date, it remains her most successful song, well ahead of the next-most successful, "Break My Heart," which features the rapper Rick Ross. "Break My Heart" is the lead single off her third album, All of Me, which was released in February 2012.