Estelle: Then & Now

The R&B star dishes on wine, food and growing up.


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Best known for her Billboard Top 10 single “American Boy,” featuring Kanye West, Grammy Award-winning R&B star Estelle may originally be from West London, but she considers New York City home—she loves the energy.

The 32-year-old singer’s U.S. debut album, Shine, was widely considered one of 2008’s most compelling releases, with the track “American Boy” reaching double platinum. In 2009, she was awarded her first Grammy, and critics are already hailing her new album All of Me as one of the best of 2012.

On top of being a music fan, Estelle has a fondness for wine, which is seen in the music video for her new hit single, “Thank You.”

FAVORITE BEVERAGE WHEN I WAS 6:
Ribena. (A soft drink based on black currant juice popular in the U.K.)

FAVORITE BEVERAGE NOW:
Ribena.

EPIPHANY WINE EXPERIENCE:
Pinot Noir! It’s a lighter way to enjoy red wine, without the heaviness of a full-bodied red.

MOST RECENT REVELATION CONCERNING WINE:
I discovered a wonderful sparkling red wine called Rosa Regale.

FAVORITE DISH WHEN I WAS 6:
Homemade chicken and chips.

MOST MEMORABLE DISH NOW:
My mum’s okra stew and rice, a West African dish made with palm oil and okra.

WHAT I COOK IN MY SPARE TIME:
I cook a lot, and I cook everything. My fave thing to cook is Yassa Chicken. It’s a Senegalese lemon chicken dish.

FAVORITE MUSIC AT 13:
Everything. I was into a little bit of R&B (Mary J. Blige), rock (Guns N’ Roses) and pop (Yaz and Erasure).

FAVORITE MUSIC NOW:
Everything!

FAVORITE TOY WHEN I WAS 6:
I read books more than played with toys. The Sweet Valley High collection [was a] favorite, along with Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

FAVORITE TOY/GADGET NOW:
My iPhone and Mac.

POSTERS ON MY BEDROOM WALL WHEN I WAS 13:
I had Mary J. Blige, Bob Marley and gospel singers The Clark Sisters.

FAVORITE HOME DECORATION NOW:
My painting of the Rio de Janeiro skyline by a Brazilian painter. I carried that back from Brazil by hand. [It] means a lot to me.

IDEAL VACATION WHEN I WAS 12:
To Butlins! [A chain of holiday parks in the U.K.]

IDEAL VACATION NOW:
The French Polynesian islands.

IF I HAD A MELTDOWN WHEN I WAS 6, IT WAS LIKELY OVER:
Someone misplacing my book.

WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP:
A lawyer.

IF I COULD MEET MY TEENAGE SELF, MY ADVICE WOULD BE:
Be fearless and do it all now.

MY CURRENT IMPOSSIBLE DREAM:
There isn’t one.

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