She may be a born-and-raised West London girl, but we'd venture that 28-year-old Estelle Swaray is right at home in the energy of New York, her newly adopted city. She's got the self-determination with a bit of swagger. The get-up-and-go hustle. And this is one singer/songwriter/producer/rapper who is not afraid to take risksThe brief period since moving to NYC from London in May 2007 has been an absolute whirlwind, as Estelle gears up for her re-entry into the musical landscape with Shine, her second album. She's the first artist to release under John Legend's new Homeschool label, in partnership with Atlantic Records. It's her debut on a major label, and an American one at that, but with Homeschool's philosophy of artist control and good soul music, her affiliation with the label is at the essence of what she's all about.Whereas her 2004 debut album, The 18th Day from V2 Records, was totally self-created, Shine marks the first time Estelle has brought other producers and artists into the creative process with her, and she's excited by the scope of the music that has come out of these collaborations. Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Wyclef Jean, Will.i.am, Mark Ronson and Cee-lo & Jack Splash all lend talents to the album, executive produced by John Legend."Her sound is a unique blend of hip hop, pop, reggae and soul," explains Legend. "She has a special voice, unlike any other voice out there in mainstream music, and she can really write. She writes hip lyrics with unforgettable melodies. I recognized that in her when I first worked with her in 2004." He continues, "I'm excited and honored to have Estelle as the first artist on my label, Homeschool Records. I believe the world is going to fall in love with her album, as I already have. Estelle is an amazing talent, and she's going to do big things." Fans of her previous songs will notice a newly bred confidence, and an unmistakable womanliness to the sound, partly because she sings more on Shine than her previous album. It was Legend who convinced Estelle that it was time to get expand her identity as a rapper by opening up and singing. "I stopped being scared," she says, and the resulting sound is more mature, soulful, and unlike anyone else on the scene.