Editors' pick


Rhythm and Blues

Editorial Review

Sarah Godfrey reviewed an August 2008 performance by Estelle for The Washington Post:

Brit singer Estelle should be thrilled by that splash she has made stateside. The new Atlantic Records signee has charmed this country with her flirty, irresistible come-on of a single "American Boy," garnered much praise for her April album "Shine" and otherwise benefited from the fact that her sass and sparkling voice have been embraced all across this land.

Then again, maybe a successful U.S. music career isn't all it's cracked up to be.

"I've got fans say, 'Oh you've made it! You're signed!' " the London-bred Estelle said during her set at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday night. "I say, 'No, I'm broke -- I get paid in dollars.' "

Perhaps the adoration of fans here will be some consolation. Although the Merriweather crowd was rain-soaked and eagerly awaiting go-go legend Chuck Brown, the Roots and Jill Scott, they cheered for Estelle's songs and rhymes.

Both "Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)" and "No Substitute Love" were upbeat and danceable, despite being inspired by bad boyfriends past, and easily brought people to their feet. The lover's rock groove of "Come Over" also got people out of their chairs, as Estelle demanded everyone join her in a slow wind.

When Estelle launched into a house-influenced version of "American Boy," the audience seemed under the singer's spell. Her sung invitation for cute American guys to visit her at her West End flat seemed to have quite a few takers -- exchange rate be damned.