Estelle opens up about her journey to truly understand love and how she put her experiences into her new music.
Natural beauty Estelle has had multiple nominations and a Grammy win for the two-time platinum, “American Boy,” her collaboration with rapper Kanye West. Recently, she had new international success with “Conqueror,” the epic duet with Jussie Smollet and an exciting recurring cameo role on the Fox Network Series, Empire. Plus, the London-born singer of Senegalese/Grenadian parentage has a featured role as Garnet on the Cartoon Network’s Emmy nominated series “Steven Universe.”
Estelle is sharing her lessons learned with her new song, “Love Like Ours.” The single features the reggae sensation Tarrus Riley, a.k.a Mr. Singy Singy. The first single of her 5th studio album.
Estelle says that one day she had the self-revelation, “You write about love and you don’t know what the hell it is.” So she went about learning about love and here is what she learned. She found her musical inspiration in her parents reuniting with each other after a 20 year separation.
Love Lesson #1: Love shouldn’t hurt
I used to feel guilty if I was happy and affectionate to my guy. I would always feel like maybe he’s going to reject me. I’ve learned that if I give affection and it’s rejected, I don’t need to be there. That isn’t love for me. What love looks like is acceptance, reciprocation, joy, fun, your inside jokes. You’re friends first and then from there onwards continually learning together, learning apart and not forgetting yourself in anything. That’s what love looks like for me.
Love Lesson #2: Don’t play the role
It shouldn’t be that you are both standing there and playing a role. When the only time you touch each other is when you post a picture on Instagram. That’s ridiculous but a lot of people live that. I know people who lived that. To me, love is: joy, happiness, feeling and just enjoying being around each other, enjoying being each other’s family and enjoying being each other’s friend.
Love Lesson #3: Clear your inherited family issues
You know, they say you look at your parents and you repeat what you see with your own situations. To that point, I’d never seen what a real relationship looked like. I’d seen what an emotionally abusive one looked like. I saw what one looked like when it was fear based. I saw what one looked like when it was just horrible.
My mom was married to somebody else and he was not the right guy for her. He didn’t love her; she didn’t love him. I had seen that as my example. So when I started looking at my choices and my picks, all the men that I had picked to be with were examples of my stepdad, different versions of him.
So I started to write this album, trying to re-evaluate what I was doing. It came down to, ‘you write about love and you don’t know what the hell it is. Go and investigate what that is.’ So I started doing the personal work on myself and putting myself into a greater space.
Love Lesson #4: Find inspiration in positive relationships
There’s other people I look at and I’m like, the example you set is so beautiful. Niecy Nash is someone I look at from an outward-in perspective. She said that her legacy was divorce, seeing her brother die, her mom got shot. And she said, “I couldn’t let that be my legacy for my life going forward.” So she changed it. She’s happy. You see her smiling. It’s genuine. I’ve met her and I’ve been around her in real life and it’s genuine.
Snoop and his wife are another one. You see their joy is genuine. They have fun when they are together. Through whatever, whenever, however. To me, that is what love should look like.
Love Lesson #5: Self-care is not an indulgence.
There’s this quote: ‘When you’re fearing, you’re not loving and you can’t do both at the same time.’ When you scared, you’re not approaching things with love.
When things are coming at me a mile a minute, “I’m like, give me a minute. Everybody chill out.”
I find myself a room or a different space. Even if it’s just turning around and facing the wall for five seconds and just breathing in and out. I reset myself and remember why I’m there… then get back to it. Those are my tools... I literally stop for a second when everything feels overwhelming. Five seconds, five breaths in and out.
Love Lesson #6: Find your personal brand of happiness
Go find your happiness. Find someone who can be happy with you. Find someone who will look at the sun and the moon and the stars with you and who will be into whatever you’re into and still get on with what they’re into.
Find your equal, find your person, find your friend. Your life is your life and you’re not responsible for anything that’s behind you. You have to start from this hour onwards and just move forward. You should endeavor to find love in every moment walking forward. That’s what love is about.
Love Lesson #7: My parents inspire me
The song “Love Like Ours” represents what the album is about. There are so many different versions of what you’re supposed to do, how you’re supposed to be in love, how it’s supposed to come about, the right way to do it, what you’ve got to look like, what he’s got to be earning, what you’ve got to be earning. But no two people are alike. No two situations are the same. This song to me is represents to that.
The whole album is based on my parents’ love story. They weren’t together for the longest time just due to a wrong decision, negative energy, people feeling like they didn’t deserve to be together. Then they finally found their way back to each other. After 20 years, they got married and their love story is very much, “we do this on our terms.” Seeing them together has been an experience. It was such a beautiful story, I thought I would write about it.
This song, “Love Like Ours,” brings the entire album together and speaks to their stories and also speaks to everybody’s version.
This song encourages people to not be ashamed of your love. Love is love is love and if it’s love it’s a good thing.
Buy the song “Love Like Ours” by Estelle featuring Tarrus Riley wherever you buy music. Join Estelle in New York City at DJ Norie's Anything Goes Live at Amazura Concert Hall on September 2, 2017.
Lifestyle guru Abiola Abrams (@abiolaTV) is the author of “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love” and creator of the “African Goddess Affirmation Cards.” Download “Chakras on Fleek,” her latest meditation album, free, with the coupon code “LIFELOVESME” at ChakrasOnFleek.com.