Estelle California is a phenomenal musician, singer, and songwriter whose passion for music and the liberation of African people throughout the world is truly remarkable. Estelle is a humanitarian that uses her musical talents as an aid to educate others about social injustices around the world. In 2019, I had the honor of writing a review for her groundbreaking single titled Black Is The True Light. I was finally able to catch Ms. California and ask her a few things about life, music, and what keeps her inspired. Enjoy!
Warlock Asylum: First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions and sharing some of your insights about your music and life with us. However, for some of our readers who may not be familiar with your work, please introduce yourself. Who is Estelle California?
Estelle California: Thank you for having me on your amazing portal-website! I am a committed artist. I was born in France and moved to California seven years ago. Music is a vehicle for my commitment to change our system and to bring social healing and empower people. But, if it was not with music, I would still serve this purpose in another way. I am actually working on settling these other ways.
Warlock Asylum: When did your love affair with music begin?
Estelle California: I began classical piano when I was 5 years of age. In France, it’s very common to learn a musical instrument as a child. I did a jazz school on tenor sax when I was 23 or so. I did opera training to sing when I was 26. However, none of that has much to do with my love affair with music. I grew up very lonely with no television with a lot of silence and trauma to handle in my head. Music was a way to shut all down, to step out of reality. I would put the music on very loud until I could not hear my thoughts anymore. It was like a switch to another reality. I would say more than a love affair, it’s survival energy. It’s a part of my flesh.
Warlock Asylum: How was life like growing up and how did this affect your work as a musician?
Estelle California: I am not really a musician. What I do is more a life task. I have no choice, something that all happened to me before, especially the hard moments shaped by my willingness to serve.
It was not a smooth journey. My song Grateful sums it up nicely; “it took me a long journey to be able to say it, but now I understand why it belonged to me, why it had to be mine, and I am loving it. “ These songs came to me, healed me, empowered me, and lead me to my purpose like showing me the way. They have been my big teachers these last three years.
Warlock Asylum: What were some of the obstacles that you had to overcome in order to make your work as a musical artist possible?
Estelle California: Well, I’ve had 40 years of lessons and probably many more from the lives before. I am not gonna make a list of the traumas and dramas I had to overcome right now, but I think the song Star kind of says it all. What this song declares as my life’s task is also to help me overcome what I have been through. The brain is a coping mechanism of forgetting the trauma, so I would forget a few times some events from my past and they would come back to me most of the time in my writings. However, the therapies and all the spiritual work I did allow me to own them, own my story, my identity.
Warlock Asylum: How has life as a musical artist affected your relationships with friends and family?
Estelle California: That’s a good question. I left France and almost everything behind me to start a new life and even though it took me some years to release the luggage I was still carrying it in my head.
In America, I met amazing people through music. I have been dancing a lot here. It is a big healing experience for me. I have been out listening to all the local music and taking in all this new culture and way of being. I learned so much and met beautiful human beings. It is how I began to understand the concept of a soul family. These are people you meet later on but who feel closer to you than any blood-related ones. And of course, I have an amazing daughter named Alma. The name means soul in Spanish. She is my teacher. My daughter enabled me to heal all the deep layers I would have tried to avoid.
Warlock Asylum: One of the many things that people respect Estelle California is your great love for Africa and its population. How did Africa become a part of your life?
Estelle California: France is a part of Africa. France and Africa are so close, about one to two hours by plane from the south of France to North Africa. In the city where my family is from, which is south of France, the population is 50 % North African. Living in France, I grew up with African culture all around me.
In Europe, my environment was also a racist one. It’s not in your face but racist in a sneaky way. There are so many different layers of racism and the forms that I am resisting the most are the sneaky ones in our subconscious, the ones of the white supremacy system that we are all raised in and that imprint us with prejudice.
So this is the picture of how I grew up. Since my youth, I knew that it was wrong. I would often ponder that if the world is separated into two sides, the hateful violent white ones and the kind shamed black ones well, I belong to these the latter. This is my side of the fence.
Warlock Asylum: I learned about your work as an artist during a review of your song “Black Is The True Light”. Can you share with us a bit more about the meaning of this title and how this song came into being?
Estelle California: Some of the magic is that I don’t write these songs with intent at all. I channel the soul, the subconscious, or whatever you want to call it. A song will come to me in five minutes.
Black Is The True Light popped into my head when I was driving. Yes, Black is The True Light! I could not say it better. The resilience of African people all over the world, the African diaspora, that is reaching out to me more and more, and also metaphorically the light of the resilience that comes out of the darkness we overcome.
When I worked on my piano, I would see my daughter and her friends singing the chorus “black is the true light”. Suddenly, I realized how powerful these words were when hearing them sung by children and how we could change layers of subconscious racism with this song. Recently, I have a teacher in Senegal sending me videos of his kids singing the song, carrying the signs Black is the True Light. This is the magic of my journey. it makes it all worthwhile. These children mean the world to me. I was weeping tears when I saw them. It gave me validation of my vision, my mission, while empowering me to dream bigger.
Warlock Asylum: Tell us about the “My Name Is Freedom” album. What was your vision in putting this project together?
Estelle California: My Name Is Freedom is a declaration of Identity and it was a long journey to have mine back. Freedom is probably the most important thing to me above all and beyond all. I would give my life to set people free.
I have been enclosed in France when I tried to speak my truth. Being the wild me that we know now in a private middle-aged place where they gave me 9 times the doses of medication for my weight until I could not even say my name anymore. It took me years to overcome this. I was a vegetable for years and all my abilities to create, to dance, to sing, …to be what makes me, me, were taken away for a long time. I felt deprived of my basic rights. That was the hardest part of the journey. I thought I would never recover from it. I would never be able to talk about it ever, but it actually is what made me as strong and unstoppable as I am now, along with the power of my music.
I have been raped also two times in France and went through a lot of violence as a kid. I used to think that I was cursed for a while. I dived into spirituality here in California. I understand the lessons that shape us, the cycle of the soul, and the power of resilience to shine and give back.
Warlock Asylum: As a person in touch with their spiritual roots, you use your music to combat racism. In what ways have you seen your music affect change in this world?
Estelle California: It’s just the beginning. I have released two singles so far. I haven’t even begun to bring them to people in the way that I want. I start from scratch in America and in this world of being public. It is unfolding and even bigger than I could have thought.
Warlock Asylum: Where can we expect to see Estelle California in the next five years? Any final thoughts?
Estelle California: We will see. I am curious too to see where the universe is gonna take me. I have an amazing vision of the energy I want to create on stage and touring. I am trying not to have too many expectations about the outcome. But also working on the links between the African diaspora and Africans all over the world and working to empower victims to help them get their self-worth, truth, and identity back by speaking on the unspoken truths.
*On behalf of Warlock Asylum International News, we would like to wish Estelle California all the best in both your artistic and spiritual endeavors. Readers can learn more about Estelle California by visiting her website at https://www.estellecalifornia.com/