The days of beads and marbles
Estelle was born in Lisieux in the French department of Calvados on May 21, 1977. Very early on, when she was around 5 years old, she began to show a passion for entertainment and used to stage little plays and concerts to the delight of her family and friends.
Inspired by their fondness for the south-west of France, her parents decided to settle in Bordeaux in 1984. The Gironde region, where the air is filled with the scents of the sea, good food and vineyards, would become Estelle’s adopted home and the roots of her life.
Estelle’s love of music grew steadily throughout her childhood. In primary school, she enjoyed attending choir practice regularly, and her parents, aware of her love for music, enrolled her in music theory and piano classes. She completed this conventional, albeit essential, phase with little enthusiasm, learning the basics but not feeling particularly inspired. But that was no deterrent. She always felt and believed that a gift for music could be expressed and grown in many ways, beyond the conventions.
While she continued singing throughout her childhood, at the age of ten she discovered a passion for German, which took not just her but a few others by surprise, and continues to do so. “I don’t know why I love the German language: You can’t explain ‘love at first sight’, but when there is a true, genuine, deep bond, it lasts forever!” Estelle adds: “Perhaps, subconsciously, I wanted to be different from my father, who, born in eastern France and of both Andalusian and Lorrainian descent, had been forced to learn German. Or perhaps it was to not follow the crowd, because nobody in Bordeaux is interested in learning German!” Such is her love for the language of Goethe that today she describes herself as “French-speaking by birth and German-speaking out of love”. Her unbridled and limitless learning of the language helped to sharpen her musical talent. She devoted herself, body and soul, to her love of German and was already showing strong commitment: While other children her age were playing outside, she spent her weekends listening to and analyzing words in order to transcribe German pronunciation as best she could.
Estelle applied the same energy, work discipline and ambition to her love for German as she did to learning classical dance, which she practiced for thirteen years: “What I have always found inspiring, thrilling, fascinating and liberating about dance ever since I took it up when I was 5 is the power of dancers, their remarkable spirit and gracefulness that transcend their whole body and that they devote to a majestic discipline. I think that very early on, classical dance filled me with that taste, that singular feeling that you only get from passion: the feeling of doing something right.”
Cradled by the sounds of German and the gracefulness of classical dance, Estelle continued to grow and sing. She sang for herself, and she sang for her family. She sang and secretly dreamed of one day becoming a real singer…
Where I Come From
Estelle continued in her quiet way into adolescence between the Bordeaux region and regular trips to Germany, which included Frankfurt, her second home, and Munich. Her love for the country was already pointing to a strong interest in other people and in the cultures of Europe and the world. Communicating, exchanging views, being inspired by differences and different people, seeing and understanding the best in others… This has always been her source of motivation. “Very early on, when I was just 14, I could see myself working in translation and interpreting.” It’s clear that when Estelle is passionate about something, she pursues it to the end and follows through with her decisions, her determination, her desires and her dreams.
Go for new horizons
After completing her baccalaureate in French and German, Estelle left the Gironde region in 1995 and went to Paris to study until 2001, with the aim of finding the right profession, albeit a conventional one, that she liked and from which she could earn a living. Throughout her time as a student, music was always there, playing softly like a reserved yet completely loyal friend. It wasn’t long before music became even more present and consumed her once and for all. It was in Paris that Estelle decided to turn up the volume and to put her heart and soul yet again into developing her other passion. She took up singing lessons with great diligence and dedication.
In the first phase, she attended the Dance Centre of the Marais in Paris. Guided by her teacher Selima Al Khalaf, Estelle learned to steady her voice, gained the basics in classical singing and searched inside for a voice that was still a little scared to break free.
In the second phase, Estelle continued her training in Hamburg, namely at the Powervoice academy and later under the guidance of Irene Wiese, with whom she perfected the basics in classical singing. She completed courses at the Manufacture Chanson academy in Paris, attended song-writing workshops, including Chantal Grimm workshops, and discovered what the inside of recording studios looked like.
In 2004, she settled in Zurich but did not slack off and continued working on her voice with the help of Daniela Sarda, Joana Aderi and Brigitte Wulliman. She took part in some very enlightening singing contests in Switzerland and France. She organized concerts and in 2008 took part in the masterclass Chante ou bien, the Swiss version of Rencontres d’Astaffort, sponsored and organized in the Valais by the team of the famous French songwriter Francis Cabrel. It was there that Estelle met the well-known lyricist Frédéric Kocourek (known in the French music industry for his work with Natasha Saint-Pier, Isabelle Boulay, Rock Voisine, Michael Jones, Sarah Brightman, etc.), who gave her some enriching lessons.
After writing and producing her first original song and giving short concerts and performances for a few well-known figures, Estelle took a break to devote her time entirely to a little being whom she gave birth to in 2010. A break that would enable her to come back better and stronger.
Fueled by so many life experiences, educational milestones in time and space, and numerous encounters with people from all walks of life, Estelle felt the need and desire in 2014 to return to music and give something back, first and foremost to her little boy, but also to everyone she loved and who had supported her over the years. She felt the need to write and to sing again… the need to make an album.
As Estelle is not interested in half measures, she threw herself into it and returned to song-writing under the guidance of Michel Arbatz and his Paris-based workshops. She recovered her vocal discipline under the kind supervision of Sarah Abrigada and surrounded herself with professionals to guide her straight ahead.
Estelle released her first album, Droit devant (Straight Ahead), in May 2018. Having produced the album herself, she has dedicated it to the little being who is at the center of her world. Just as the wheel comes full circle, she had given him life and he breathed new life into her, the life of an artist, a life that she has taken on full of energy and with as much passion and determination as ever.
As the writer of her lyrics, a lover of words of any language, a custodian of culture, a talented and promising singer, a caring woman and a proud mother, Estelle gives 300% every day. Professional and passionate, and doubtlessly predestined by her first name (‘Estelle’ means ‘star’), she will follow her star and keep looking Droit devant.