Legend Launching Label With Singer Estelle
In the midst of getting busy on his next album, John Legend is also busy getting the word out about Estelle. The British singer/rapper/songwriter/producer's "Shine" will be the first release on LegendIn the midst of getting busy on his next album, John Legend is also busy getting the word out about Estelle. The British singer/rapper/songwriter/producer's "Shine" will be the first release on Legend's HomeSchool label through Atlantic Records.
"Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)" is the lead single from the project, slated for release Feb. 12, 2008. Executive-produced by Legend, "Shine2" features production by Wyclef Jean, will.i.am, Swizz Beatz and Mark Ronson as well as Legend, who also has a cameo in the "Wait" video. Guests include Kanye West (on the track "American Boy") and Cee-Lo.
Asked about other artists on the HomeSchool roster, Legend tells Billboard.com that no one else is signed yet and the label is non-exclusive. "This isn't a blanket imprint. There will be some artists a label partner may like and some they don't. I'm doing this one at a time."
Estelle, whose music draws comparisons to Lauryn Hill, was born in West London. She's previously released material through her own label, Stellar Ents, including the album "The 18th Day" and two "Da Heat" mixtapes. She first met Legend several years ago at Roscoe's chicken and waffle eatery in Hollywood; he and West were taking a break from working on the latter's "The College Dropout" when Estelle came up to their table and introduced herself.
The now New York-based Estelle will be visiting major cities starting in November, according to Legend. She tosses aside concerns raised about the failure of many British R&B/rap artists to connect with stateside audiences, saying "I'm just going to be me, and keep my mind on what I do. I think people will get it."
Legend agrees. "It's all about the songs and music. British soul artists haven't come with the right music. Estelle has the right music and producers; her music will speak for itself. She's undeniably a star."
As for his next album, Legend says he's three songs (one of which features will.i.am) into what he's planning as a summer 2008 release. In the meantime, he's just returned from Zanzibar and Tanzania where he shot the video for his latest single, "Show Me." It was directed by Lee Hirsch, the filmmaker behind the 2002 South Africa documentary "Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony."