Estelle Made Us A Playlist

The Grammy Award-winning diva turns the party up with a classy mix of pop, funk, and soul.

Estelle won our hearts with her hit single “American Boy,” but the Grammy-winning singer and accomplished actor has expanded her repertoire once again. Most recently, she was recruited by Apple Radio to host her fresh, funky and genuinely unique The Estelle Show, proving she’s an international player. Drawing on timeless influences and fresh new voices in contemporary music to get the party going, you can hear Estelle playing everything from vintage funk to new school r&b.

We asked the radio romancer to make us a playlist and she touched on everything we would ever need to kick any Music Monday into high gear. Starting things off in a very Estelle fashion, she hits us with a deep cut from Monica and keeps the tape rolling through the ages for an impressive sonic journey that ends with 80s staple, “Rhythm Of The Night” by DeBarge. Turn up the volume while you read along. 

Monica – Just Right For Me

 I love this record because it’s just a groove. I don’t remember the original sample but I just love it. I’m not sure who wrote it, I think it’s Missy [Elliott], but it’s just a beautiful record and I love to hear Monica when she sings this passionately.

Luke James – Drip

Luke is one of my all-time favourite young vocalists. He’s not in the genre or time-span range to be played on my show, but I just think he will be one of the artists we play on Apple Radio in terms of really good music in the future.

Ms. Lauryn Hill – Just Like Water (Unplugged)

Lauryn Hill is the queen. Her live album was slept on consistently but the people who understand music in a feeling way consistently also love this album. To me, this is one of those records that hits you at a certain point in your life and you just feel it. 

Mos Def – Ms. Fat Booty

This has been a soundtrack that has popped up every time I needed a reset or a reminder of what good music is. I will play it incessantly for a month everywhere I go. It samples Aretha Franklin. He also had some reggae from Dennis Brown in there too. I just like the bassline, it reminds me of being home with the speakers blaring in my living room.

Blackstreet – Happy Song (Tonite)

Blackstreet was one of the first groups that when my sister and I decided to really sing and really practice, as far as harmonies and vocal performance, they were one of the new contemporaries that made it okay and cool for me to sing. My mom wouldn’t get mad because it wasn’t too wild lyrically, compared to what else was going on at that time.

Janet Jackson – I Get Lonely

I love this record because it was out of the frame for Janet at the time, but it was still peak Janet: sexy, mysterious and beautiful. Also, the bassline was ridiculous.

Mary J. Blige – Real Love

This is a stone-cold bop. Wherever and whenever you play that, everyone is going to have their hands in the air, doing their best Mary Bop with their knees bent. Remix or original, it’s just a vibe.

New Birth – It’s Been A Long Time


New Birth are one of my favourite funk/soul/never-really-fit-in-a-genre groups. I like them because every so often I’ll play one of their records and someone will say, “What’s that? Is it new?” And I’ll be like, “Nope, it’s New Birth and it’s very, very old” [laughs]. I like that they can go from new to old and just make timeless, classic music. 

John Holt – I Will

This record has been sampled by so many people. Most notably, I think Kanye used it on a record with Jay-Z [“Encore” from The Black Album]. I love that he used this record in particular, I went and found the original sample as soon as I heard the horns. It made me happy that they dug into reggae and made a whole new style out of it.

DeBarge – Rhythm of the Night

This is another record that, when you put it on, it’s just a party starter. It is what it is. I don’t care who you are, if you stand still to DeBarge singing this or you just don’t know the words, I don’t know who you are in life. You should learn the words immediately and get into your cheesiest 80s dancing, kicking your feet forward and hitting your shoulders at the same time, you know exactly the dance I’m talking about.

Listen to The Estelle Show, weekly on Apple Music Hits.