Estère - "Nomads"
Estere Dalton is beautiful and brainy, gifted and funny, articulate and charming. You would expect her to have friends galore, right? Well, she does, but not all of them are human. Some of her best friends are machines, you see.
By day, Dalton tutors anthropology at a Wellington university. By night, she makes a sort of jazz-damaged hip-hop soul music in her bedroom – a sound she calls "electric blue witch-hop" – using a rowdy crowd of electronic instruments, all with names of their own.
These instruments are her plug-in chums, her wired-up whanau. A lot of her human family lives in Africa and France, but her second family is always nearby, sitting quietly in her room until she flicks the "On" switch and kicks them into noisy, vibrant life.
Fond of emitting all manner of digital barks and growls, her synthesizer is called Korgi. And she has "sort of a mother-daughter relationship" with a sampler named Lola.
Now 25, Dalton is a "child of the global culture clash", she says. She was born on Waiheke Island and grew up in Wellington, but a far wider world is expressed in her thoughts and her music.
"My mum's a Pākehā New Zealander and lives over here, but my dad's from Cameroon in Central Africa, and he lives with my two brothers in France. I lived in France and Germany myself as a teenager, and I'm fascinated by how people from different cultures are socialised to process information in profoundly different ways. A lot of these songs are inspired by looking at other people's positions in the world relative to me and relative to each other."
Dalton believes her African ancestry makes her gravitate towards certain rhythms and melodies, and she hears echoes of her own concerns in the work of other musicians of African descent.
Reviewers often compare Dalton to US hip-hop soul queen, Erykah Badu, but she's far more influenced by "dramatic older singers who create a whole world and invite you in", she says – people like David Bowie, Grace Jones and Nina Simone, and sonically inventive indie bands such as Dirty Projectors and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
So today, with adventure calling my name and the North Wind pulling at my coattails, I choose Estère's "Nomad" as my, wander as long as you need, find a mystery in every step, listen to the call of the wild, song for a, sing yourself home, follow the light, listen to the voice softly singing you into the west, Wednesday.