April/May 2013

by Maddie McIntyre

Fresh Talent: Estere

by Maddie McIntyre

Fresh Talent: Estere

She’s been compared to the likes of Erykah Badu and Kimbra, but the Wellington-based singer, songwriter and beat-maker Estere Dalton is proving to be a one-of-a-kind performer and is quickly making her mark on our underground music scene. She and her MPC 1000 Sampling Station, dubbed ‘Lola’, have just come off the tail end of a stream of wildly successful live shows across the country, including an impressive showcase at Camp A Low Hum earlier this year, and show no signs of slowing down.

Lola and Estere met at the beginning of 2012, and there was an instant connection. “I’ve always loved the name ‘Lola,'” Estere explains, “When I met my MPC for the first time last year she pretty much communicated to me that that was her name straight away.”

Using a series of loops of live instruments, all played and recorded by Estere in her bedroom, as well as Logic Audio software on her laptop, the inseparable duo have developed a unique style of music that Estere dubs “electric blue witch hop” and last year released two widely praised singles, Cruel Charlie and Culture Clash.

“I like to write songs that have stories. There is nothing wrong with writing love songs and stuff, but I have always been attracted to songs with interesting or different subjects.”

Drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources, such as imaginary boyfriends, the evolution of reptiles, the knowledge of whales and cultural identity, Estere’s music has been well received all over due to its refreshing quirkiness and soulful playfulness.

“The concept of culture clash has always fascinated me,” she admits, “I’m a culture clash baby. My mum is from NZ but my dad is originally from Cameroon and moved over to France when he was young. I’ve visited him and family over there a few times.”

Considering most young adults find it a challenge just to get out of bed in the morning, it’s hard to believe at just 19 years of age Estere is successfully juggling anthropology and philosophy studies at Victoria University, as well as some sonic arts papers at the NZ School of Music, singing for and recording with the popular Wellington-based nine-piece Brockaflowersaurus Rex and The Blueberry Biscuits on top of managing a increasingly hectic solo performance schedule.

“I’d get lazy if I didn’t have this much on”, she laughs, “and I don’t really have time to get tired.” With an album in the works with Brockerflowersaurus, Estere has put a personal album on the backburner for the moment but insists she definitely has plans for one in the near future.

If you have yet to catch one of Estere and Lola’s live sets you’re just going to have to wait, as she is off to visit her father in France for a month. But not to worry, she has plenty of shows lined up – most notably playing in the Wellington Jazz Festival alongside Shogun Orchestra and Data Hui at the Opera House in June. During the interim, you’ll just have to check out her music online, which can be found on Youtube and her personal Soundcloud respectively.