Photographer: Jamie Cabreza

“I’ve been writing songs since I was probably 9 or 10, and it’s just become a really big part of my life.” This is Estelle Fox, a Pennsylvania-based singer-songwriter and musician. Now 16-years-old soon to be 17, Estelle is releasing her debut single. We caught up with Estelle to find out how she found her alt-pop sound, what inspired her single “Crazy,” and what we can expect from her music moving forward.

“When I was younger, I was very much like a lot of other tween girls,” Estelle told us. “I was really obsessed with the pop artists of the time that were really big that had super cool elaborate music videos.” Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and Taylor Swift were some of those artists that Estelle found herself in awe of, and she wasn’t just in love with their music videos. Tween Estelle was amazed that they could turn singing into a career. “It’s always felt like something I would want to do to express myself.” Estelle also credits her family (She says has “they’ve always been avid music lovers.”) as a big part of how she found this passion.

Taking the advice of family friends that are trained opera singers, Estelle didn’t start vocal lessons until she was 9 or 10 years old, but she wasn’t waiting around for music. “I started on piano which I think helped me a lot with learning music theory. I was actually able to write songs.”

Piano and Estelle’s love of singing led her to musical theater. She even landed a lead role as Veruca Salt in her first musical, a middle school production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Estelle shared with us that her favorite part of musical theater is show tunes (and we might even see some of the influence in her forthcoming music), and while Estelle isn’t a dancer, she does love bringing characters to life through song and has spent the last few years working with other students as her school’s student vocal director, sharing her vocal training with the school’s lead musical theater performers.

Meanwhile, Estelle has also been working on her own music. Her debut single “Crazy” is out now, and while pop stars inspired Estelle, her music is more alternative. She cites artists like Dodie Clark, Clairo, Mitski, and Beach Bunny as her current top artists and lyrical influences. Estelle also shared that along with loving and indie or alternative pop sound, she also likes to have poetry and some drama in her lyrics (there are those musical theater influences kicking in!).

Photographer: Jamie Cabreza

The world’s first introduction to Estelle’s sound (outside of the clips and covers that she shares on Instagram) is “Crazy.” “The song is based off of a bit of a toxic relationship that I had that was more of a situationship because there was never an official label on it,” Estelle explained what inspired her to write this song a little over a year ago. “It was with someone that I’d been friends with before and they’d shown interest in me before…but after our relationship had kind of run its course, they would still reach out to me, and I was still very much madly in love with them, but they sort of made feel like I was not a great person.”

“The song is called “Crazy” because it kind of made me feel like I was crazy for loving them and caring about them,” she went on. “The song, I would say, is just sort of telling that story and how someone who you care about can sort of influence your own view of yourself in a negative light, and it’s kind of just a depiction of a toxic teenage relationship.”

We asked Estelle what it felt like to process an experience like that through music. “I always think that processing through music is the easiest way for me to process emotion,” she said. “I’m definitely a very emotional person, and for me, songwriting is really a super good way of capturing that emotion and being able to express it but also doing it in a sort of constructive way where you’re not just going on and on about it and you’re kind of containing it. You kind of have to contain how you’re feeling and describe it in lyrics. To me, it feels like a healthy sort of way to process, and it was definitely a very stress-relieving and therapeutic process. And it always is.”

“Crazy” features these emotions accompanied by Estelle’s piano playing. It’s no secret how much Estelle loves the piano, so of course, she played her go-to instrument on the track. (The piano is also where a lot of her formal writing process starts after she thinks of a melody and some lyrics.) In fact, the piano playing that you hear behind Estelle’s vocals was meant to be the rough track! “It ended up just being perfect,” Estelle told us, “so we left it in.”

Estelle shared that so far the feedback she has received for “Crazy” has been really positive, and she’s excited to see how people react to it as it reaches more ears and get more thoughts and feedback as she continues to develop her music and her sound. “There’s so many different things you can do with music, and I really want to be able to explore all of them,” she said. “As much as I have my own unique style, I want to have my own twist on a bunch of different genres, so I’m just really excited for it.”

Estelle starts her senior year of high school this fall, and she’s hoping to get through it and start applying to conservatories where she can continue to study music. Senior year isn’t the only thing she’s looking forward to this year, though. Following “Crazy” is Estelle’s debut EP The Prettiest Parts of Me which along with some other singles that “explore different sounds” like rock and alternative and even some dark musical theater twists.

“Crazy” is streaming now on Spotify!