Successful means to me more happy, more myself, more free of my luggages from the past; it’s way wider than a career thing.
Estelle California is a singer/songwriter born in France. She started playing the piano when she was 5 years old and went on to study saxophone. Later, she was formally trained in opera. Her current life is a far cry from her childhood growing up in France, where she suffered physical and mental abuse and lived in an environment where she saw many people being discriminated against. Estelle spent time in South Africa, and then in 2013, she moved to Oakland, CA, where she felt drawn to the diverse and respectful community. Her love for the state of California and its people led her to change her artist name. As a musician, Estelle draws inspiration from artists like Nina Simone. Her lyrics offer an overall message of empowerment, and hope. Read the interview to find out more.
Tell us about yourself and how you decided to get into music?
My name is Estelle California, I am an artist led by an obsession for social change, social healing.
I was born in France and moved to Oakland 7 years ago. I don’t tink I decided to get into music; I grew up a lot by myself with no TV and so music was a big part of my days you see, also I have been trained classical early on the piano. But more than this, it is more my mind as a kid that I would fill up with music so I would not think of what was going on around me, as I had no other distraction than reading and music. I was immersing myself in them.
And then about taking music as a job, that was not an option in my culture but it was always my calling, it became louder with each step of my life and has been able to unfold here in California.
How were you able to overcome your childhood and did it have any effect on your music?
I worked on it all a lot, it is not one thing, it is many steps and many layers I had to heal to wash out. I am still working on it 🙂
I started with therapies, that was the first necessary step but for sure not the biggest one. I did some hypnoses, too. I mean, you name it, I tried it, but the biggest step for me was to study spirituality once I moved to California.
To understand the cycle of life that what we have to go through is happening for us, not to us; that it’s not even about us personally but about shaping us in the one we have to become in order to serve, to give back this unique light we all have. So of course, all this journey of healing of understanding my journey and owning it is everywhere in my music.
Can you tell our audience about your new EP, “My Name Is Freedom”?
It is 5 songs that are fundamental and foundational in my journey, and the EP itself, if you listen to the songs in the order, is a journey in itself.
I do not make my songs with will, they come to me amazingly and are teaching me, healing me, and showing me the way. They are so powerful and can do the same for others as well, it’s the magic of it.
The name of the EP came from the intro of the first song “Star,” which is a declaration of identity, an anthem to freedom, and announces all my life commitment. It is the mother of all my songs, my biggest teacher. So you start with this one and then you end with “Grateful,” the last of the EP, when you have been through all the emotions and discovery of the journey, you can touch this place where you understand why all had to be yours and you are grateful for it 🙂
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
Well first I would say successful means to me more happy, more myself, more free of my luggages from the past; it’s way wider than a career thing.
And about the tools more than strategies, I am very open so I try all and see what works for me, and I keep learning.
I worked a lot with the tools of Mindvalley. It’s a kind of community online for personal growth with many kinds of teachings and programs . . . but also with different spiritual teachers, and I would say what is the common thread is to choose or monitor your thoughts, cause they are your vibrations, your energy, how you create your reality . . . so they all have different tools to do it, but this one is always there.
What keeps you going when things get rough?
The same thing: taking control of my thoughts, not letting my brain decide my reality, going back to the big picture, and reminding myself of my calling, what keeps me up and whole, as the song “Star” says it. When I have to stand up and speak up about injustices and social change I forget all, whatever is happening. Also in the same way, when I see images of Africa and Africans that makes me so happy first and it’s a reminder that the joy is not where we think it is in our culture, it can be way easier.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Oh Lord, I had some ideas before this virus, but now I am working hard to hang on to them! I would love to work with Africa, making videos with local musicians. I would love to have my most precious project birthed, a foundation called Black Glory foundation to resilience.
I would love to be touring and recording many more and maybe to have a man in my life by then, who knows 🙂 But actually especially now with what is happening in the world with this pandemic, I try to work on my trust in the Universe and whatever it wants to unfold for me….Trying to release the control of the outcome.
Link to the album: