Album of the Day
Estelle Swaray was dealing discs at a London hip-hop emporium when her co-workers suggested she might be better off making records than selling them. The British singer took the advice, and though her debut album wasn't a smash, it caught the ear of John Legend, who signed Estelle to his Homeschool label for her follow-up, SHINE. Featuring production from the likes of Wyclef Jean, will.i.am and Mark Ronson, the 2008 album is an ideal showcase for Estelle's singing, rapping and songwriting skills, and its “American Boy” (featuring vocals from Kanye West) topped the U.K. singles chart before racking up a pair of Grammy nominations. From dancehall ("Magnificent") to balladry ("Substitute Lover") to rap ("More Than Friends"), the versatility displayed on SHINE marks Estelle as a leading light of post-millennial R&B.