1. Please tell us about yourself — who you are, where you’re from, and what’s your latest project?
I am Estelle California, an artist — I sing, play instruments, and write. I am passionately committed to social change, justice, freedom, equality, and resilience. I was born in France and moved to Oakland, California, 7 years ago. I released my EP “ My Name Is Freedom” in February, it is a precious project to me, a big piece of my heart.
2. Tell us more about your journey. How did you get to where you are today?
Oh, it’s a long, winding journey, and I am so blessed and so grateful I ended up where I am now In California. Especially now that we are enclosed, I am even more grateful to be quarantined here.
I always knew I had to leave Paris since I was a kid. I tried a few times to the south of France then to South Africa, but when I visited the Bay Area, I knew it was home right away, and I moved a few months later. There are videos of me singing with a mic in diapers at like 15 months old, and I was always, since very young, obsessed with justice and fairness. My family would not take it seriously, but this is exactly what I am doing now, singing about justice. And I have been able to actually put together what was already waiting in me to be expressed when I moved here in California. Sometimes the people close to you cannot see you for what you are but for what they wish you to be.
3. Who are your role models?
My role models are all the victims of oppression and injustice who would use their resilience and voice to stand up for their people. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Nina Simone as a singer to name the three most important to me. I have always been drawn to them, and I always loved Nina Simone . . . even as a young kid I was drawn to her energy. She was standing up for her people, for justice and equality. And that was what was leading her – not being famous or pretty or anything, you know how other singers usually are. They are also some spiritual teachers, I think also all who can teach us and show us how to go to love when we are called to fear are amazing role models to me.
4. What inspired your EP, My Name Is Freedom?
This EP “ My Name Is Freedom” is a big part of my journey. All my life got to unfold and bloom thanks to this EP. The songs come to me from my soul or subconscious as you want to call it, and they become my teachers, heal me, and lead me. It is magical and I think they can do the same for other people as well. My journey is a long winding road to resilience. The EP is a journey also in itself with the steps to find the gratitude in your traumas. Because they actually made you who you are, and are your gifts in so many ways.
5. What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
I have no strategies, it doesn’t work for me :). If I try to do things with will I crash before the end… I have tools to take my ego and thoughts out of my way. That I worked a lot on and has also been a lot of my healing journey.
I need to wash my mind out with spiritual or positive thoughts and teachings all the time. Or I go back to old patterns very quickly, especially when something triggers the fight or flight response like the pandemic situation now. So I learned how to choose my thoughts, visualize my dreams, raise my energy, practice gratitude, and blessings, meditate, and so on. I mean, all of this is the same work in a way, getting to be free of your stuff so you can serve your calling and share your gifts.
As would say Vishen, the founder of Mindvalley, life is not about success, but growth, like what matters in a situation is not if you win, but if you get some growth out of it, if you failed but had some growth, it is better than if you won but didn’t get any. I think that is a beautiful way to read life . . .
6. What keeps you going when things get tough?
The same teachings and work, I just push myself to go back to it. Because when it gets tough, usually nature is that the ego comes front and has you stop all that could actually help you, so happy to have you go back to drama. And the big ideas that helped me and still help me is that things are happening for us, not to us, this is actually so empowering. And also in the same way that sometimes we need destructions to build better, to be a force to change, so we have to focus on the good that is gonna rise up after the chaos. It is not easy, not natural, it is a work for your mind, but it is a huge help to go through hard times.
7. What have you learned that you would like to share with our readers?
I have learned to not judge oneself and myself first. I learned that we are all here to learn, and we learn a lot through mistakes, that there is no failure except to not try, not try to learn. I think I learned how to read life in a different way. Very far from the French picture. I call that the big picture, with the cycle of the soul and being aware that there are young souls and old souls, even the old souls have been younger souls at one point, so hard to judge.
And we cannot do anything to change people, we all have our own journey and lessons. People are learning their own lessons, and if it bothers me, my job is to stay away and not affected by it as much as I can.
8. What upcoming projects are you working on now?
I have so many songs I want to record, so many things I would like to do. Like going to Africa and mirror them, their beauty, and shine it to the world, play with them, also rise up victims of abuse and oppression. Help them believe in their self-worth and gifts, and play, tour, bring my energy all over. But you see the universe is more powerful than our small will, that is what I said in the questions about strategies. The best is to work on ourselves to become a better human being and let the universe opens the door for you when all is aligned. Obviously, now is not the time, now is the time for me to take care of my daughter and home, and it is actually a beautiful, precious opportunity.
9. How can people connect with you online?
I have a big page on Facebook where I created what I call a Soul Family, and I try to keep us all together and up. I am also on Instagram, I have a blog on Medium, and on my website, of course, they can reach out and hang out. It is a beautiful place to get inspired. And the music is everywhere, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube . . .