From Britain With Love, Sex and Swagger


By J. Freedom du Lac

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 17, 2009; Page C01

“I don’t know how to stay in one genre,” Estelle Fanta Swaray declared during her Sunday night concert at the 9:30 club. She was hardly apologizing, though — more like sharing her mission statement.

The nascent British star has shortened her stage name to Estelle, but the music on her delightful American debut, “Shine,” isn’t nearly as streamlined. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: As engaging as she is eclectic, Estelle is a sensation both at home and abroad. Just don’t confuse her with those other U.K. soul singers, Adele, Duffy and Amy Winehouse. For one thing, Estelle’s music covers more ground. For another, she’s black, which makes her something of an anomaly.

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