Image: Boudica Photography

Image: Boudica Photography

Beatmaker, rulebreaker

When you’re a solo artist who writes, performs, produces and engineers your own work, why not create a new style of music while you’re at it? Welcome to Estère’s world of “electric blue witch-hop”, where genres collide and pop gets remade by a talented artist determined to do it all.

It’s not rare to find a pop star with more than one string to their bow. After all, being able to sing, dance, act, write, produce, play an instrument, run a business, create perfume and design high street fashion are part and parcel of succeeding in music today. What is rare is finding a pop star who is also an anthropologist. Step forward Estère, a singer-songwriter-producer from New Zealand who doubles as an anthropology lecturer at a university in her home town of Wellington. “When you study anthropology it affects how you perceive and contextualise things happening around you,” she explains. “And that has affected my writing and musical sensibility.” And with an album as compelling as her latest release My Design, On Others’ Lives, long may the effect anthropology is having on her creativity last.

Born Estère Dalton on Waiheke Island, off the coast of Auckland, Dalton grew up with her mother, who is a Pākehā (white) New Zealander, and her father, who is from Cameroon. Describing herself to news site Stuff in 2017 as a “child of the global culture clash”, Dalton considers her multicultural upbringing to be a major influence on her music. “My heritage and identity definitely have their place in my music,” she says. “But I think everything about a person affects their art.”

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