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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008, 15:48 GMT
Talking Shop: Estelle
Estelle
Estelle is currently living and working in New York
Hip-hop star Estelle has crashed onto the UK chart at number one with her single American Boy.

Featuring rapper Kanye West, who raps about Ribena and WAGS, American Boy is the first domestic top 10 hit for the London-born 28-year-old.

It is one of many collaborations on her latest album, Shine, which is released next Monday.


Are you excited about your new single, American Boy, doing so well?

I'm extremely excited. I didn't know if it would work, so I was really nervous, but I'm happy that people seem to be loving it.

It's much more like dance music than your other singles. What was the inspiration behind it?

We were messing about. I said: "I'm going to make John Legend [producer] like house music, whether he likes it or not." And he started to like the beat and came up with the hook idea. It was good stuff.

You sound like you were having fun - there's a little giggle in your voice when you sing the chorus.

Yes! The whole point was that I would sing it in the most ditzy voice ever. Like Peggy in Hi-De-Hi! Su Pollard was my vibe for the whole song!

You should have dressed up like Peggy for the video.

I was thinking about it but my stylist wouldn't let me.

Can you imagine you, Kanye West and John Legend in a Butlins holiday camp doing a Hi-Di-Hi remake?

That would be extreme! I should try and find the theme tune and make a mash-up of that and American Boy. Hi-De-Hi!

Ho-de-Ho! I wanted to ask about Kanye's rap at the start of the single. He rhymes seats with seats. Couldn't you have helped him out with those lyrics?

I think he wanted to get his point of it across (sings) "Tell the promoter we need more seats / we just sold out all the floor seats".

But do you know what? When he came in to record it, I was just like "keep recording". I didn't want to say nothing, because a lot of rappers come in and give you like two minutes. They give you 16 bars, and he came in and gave me 40 for the same price! So I'm not mad...

Kanye mentions WAGS in the rap as well - have you been educating him on the UK slang?

He already knew about WAGS. He said: "That's the gold-diggers that marry the footballers, right?". I was like: "Oooh! I wouldn't say gold-diggers. They are the wives and girlfriends."

I definitely taught him about Ribena though! He asked me what a cool drink was in the UK and its Robinsons and Ribena - everybody in the UK drinks them at some point in their life.

I love Ribena. I live in New York now so I hoard it. I wrap it all up and put it in the bottom of my case and fly it back. They don't have it in New York - they don't even know what dilute means.

Isn't the problem with Ribena that you can never get the right balance between the syrup and the water?

Thank you! Why does the pre-mixed stuff always taste watery? It's irritating! They should let you do it yourself - sell it with the water and let you do it yourself.

You realise you're going to get free Ribena for life after plugging it like this?

Please!!! I will not be mad! Send the boxes to Atlantic Records!

That's all you're in the music business for, then? The Ribena?

Yes, that's all I want. And I'll send a box to Kanye, too. I told him if we go platinum, I'll send him a box.

Tell me a little bit about the album - who else is on there?

Cee-Lo (from Gnarls Barkley) is on it, I've got an artist from Canada called Kardinal Offishall and he's on a song produced by Mark Ronson.

But apart from that it's just me, John and Kanye. I don't have that many guests, because I wanted to do something that was inherently me.

It's four years since you last released a record in the UK, and that was a great period for black and urban artists - Dizzee Rascal, Ms Dynamite, Jamelia, Mis-Teeq. But they all seem to have disappeared now - what happened?

They all got dropped for some reason! Some were at the height of their career and they got dropped. I don't understand it.

My situation was slightly different because I asked to leave my label. But I don't understand it, I don't get it. There was the emergence of people perceiving urban music to be dead. Well, it's not dead, you just don't know what to do with it.

Do you think the music industry in the UK doesn't know what to do with black artists?

They definitely don't. It's hard, but it's up to us to show them.

We did it before. Garage music came up when people weren't paying attention.

How do you find living in New York. Do you miss the UK?

I miss Top Shop! Top Shop, Ribena and my family - and that's about as far as it goes.

You haven't lost your accent, though.

No! There's people in New York for ten years who are still extra cockney, so I'm not about to lose my accent after eight months.

But you have to talk to cabs in an American accent, otherwise they take you round the blocks and down the lanes and your cab fare will be $20 more than it needs to be.

What's your favourite ice cream flavour?

My favourite is strawberry. With Ribena. I'm all things purple.

You're turning into Prince

I am. I met him once! He's gorgeous. He has this aura around him - you just want to sit down and be his girlfriend.

He didn't offer to make me his girlfriend but he could have. I would offer myself!

Estelle was speaking to BBC News entertainment reporter Mark Savage.



SEE ALSO
Estelle to play Glastonbury
22 Mar 08 |  Music
Singer Estelle tops singles chart
23 Mar 08 |  Entertainment

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