Estère – the New Face of Soul Music
An example of soul music’s possible future is 22-year-old New Zealander Estère, who recently played at the annual Australian World Music Expo (AWME) in Melbourne.
The Wellington-based bedroom artist – she literally writes and records in her bedroom by herself, preferably wearing pyjamas – leads soul into an otherworldly mélange.
“I’ve always had a certain tone in my voice, a certain way of singing, that was soulful long before I started listening to soul music,” Estère says. “I was a soul singer before I actually loved soul music.”
Even as soul music’s rejuvenation has spurred on the return of vinyl as a viable medium, capturing the gritty propulsion of bass and guitar and horn sections, Estère makes her records and plays live with “Lola”, an Akai MPC-1000 no bigger than a small box that sits so centrally to her making of music that she addresses it by name in her songs and keeps it permanently within reach; if she’s travelling and Lola isn’t in her backpack, Estère’s body feels odd without the weight against her back.
“It’s a lonely thing making music by yourself – there aren’t other people to provide ideas and energy,” she says. “Having personified machine members of my band has a tangible effect on how I perform on stage and feel about myself.”
Estère tours Europe this month beginning in Gent, Belgium on 26 November.
Original article by Craig Mathieson, The Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2014