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Esthero

From Academic Kids

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Esthero.jpg
Esthero on the cover of Wikked Lil' Grrrls (2005).

Esthero (real name Jen-Bea Englishman, born December 23, 1978) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who lives and works in the city of Toronto, Ontario. The name "Esthero," pronounced es-THERE-oh, refers both to the singer and to the two-person team of herself and her producer, Doc. She claims to have gotten the name from an old film character named Esther, whose last line in a movie is, "If I am to be the hero, then I cannot fly from darkness."

Esthero's sound characteristically features her voice over a mix of mellow bass lines, jazzy trumpets, Spanish guitar and hip-hop. She is sometimes compared to trip-hop artists Björk, Portishead and the Sneaker Pimps. Later artists who count Esthero among their influences include Res and fellow Canadian Nelly Furtado.

Esthero's brother, j. englishman, is also a musician.

Contents

Background

At the age of sixteen, Esthero left southern Ontario to live on her own in Toronto, where she began singing at open-mic nights while supporting herself by working at a café. Within months, a mutual acquaintance introduced her to Doc, a guitarist and studio engineer. The young duo quickly began recording together, and their debut album, Breath from Another, was released to critical acclaim in 1998.

On April 20, 2004, without Doc's assistance, Esthero released "O.G. Bitch," a standalone EP featuring seven different remixes of the title track, plus the b-side "I Love You." The EP led the way to Esthero's 2005 full-length album on the Warner Bros. label, the decidedly jazzy We R In Need of A Musical Revolution, seven years following her debut album, to moderate critical acclaim. The album features contributions, either vocally or instrumentally, from Sean Lennon, Shakari Nite, Andre 3000, Dragonfly, Cee-Lo Green, Jemeni, and Jeelestone,

Esthero has appeared on the Chris Rock Show and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and has contributed songs to the films Go, Love & Basketball and Down With Love, as well as the video game 007: Nightfire.

Discography

  • Short of Breath (promo, 1998; Sony Records/The WORK Group)
  • Breath From Another (CD, 1998; Sony Records/The WORK Group)
  • Heaven Sent (CD single, 1998; Sony Records/The WORK Group)
  • Taken to the Next Phase (Isley Brothers tribute CD, 2004; Epic Records/Legacy Records)
  • O.G. Bitch (CD EP, 2004; Reprise Records)
  • We R In Need of A Musical Revolution (CD EP, 2004 Reprise Records)
  • Wikked Lil' Grrrls (CD, 2005; Warner Bros. Records)

Collaborations

Esthero has also contributed vocals to songs by (apart from the above) Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Toronto rap contemporaries Michie Mee and Bratticus (both of whom appeared on Breath From Another), Rascalz, the Goodie Mob, Everything But The Girl, DJ Vadim, Carmen Rizzo, John Forte, Last Emperor, Sean Lennon and Sugar Ray.


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