Estelle

Estelle
From January 14 to 25 I will be counting down the ten new acts I expect big things from in 2008. As always, it’s tough to predict just who will break through and who will fade into obscurity once the year ends, but really, the point of this exercise is to get you pumped about the artists I’m pumped about. Enjoy reading, and don’t hesitate to point out how right or wrong I was to us when 2009 comes around.

Like just about every contemporary British R&B/hip-hop artist, Estelle is an unknown everywhere outside of her home base (no Craig David doesn’t count because he blew it). Personally, I thought Estelle (nee Swaray) was all set to become the UK's ambassador for her scene back in 2004, when she dropped her brilliant single ”1980” and solid debut album, The 18th Day, but the girl who many thought would become a massive pop star failed to connect after two Top 20 successes. Things are going to change, and likely because this time Estelle has some help from some very persuasive names. Scheduled for a May 2008 release on these shores through John Legend’s Homeschool label (an Atlantic affiliate), Estelle’s follow-up record, Shine, has everything it needs to become, as Popjustice puts it, her "Big New American album.” Described as "right at home in the energy of New York, her newly adopted city,” the West London-born singer/producer got off on the right track with the album’s first single, last year’s jazz-inflected "Just A Touch (Wait A Minute).” The surefire sign though that all bets are on Estelle this year is the line-up of names she’s attracted: Legend (her album’s executive producer), but also her tour mate Wyclef Jean, Cee-lo, Will.I.Am, Swizz Beatz, Kardinal Offishall (whose Black Jays International adopted Estelle as a member), the burnin’ hot Mark Ronson and the man with the Midas touch, Kanye West. And no surprises here, ’Ye’s assistance on the poppin’ electro-disco swagger of new single "American Boy” will get that buzz a-buzzin’ around town and inevitably make her that superstar she was clearly born to be.

Estelle feat. Kanye West "American Boy”