Photos by Leigha Righton
This month's BSC Artist Feature, Esthero (in addition to being a personal favorite of mine) is a woman whose artistic prowess is evident not only through the beautiful instrument that is her voice, but also as a result of her amazing skills as songwriter and producer.
When Esthero released the epochal "Breath From Another" in 1998, she was barely eighteen years old. A transplant from the Ontario countryside, the singer/songwriter arrived in Toronto as a teen and penned an album that changed the face of electronic music by fusing sharp, poignant vocals with both live and digital instrumentation. What followed was a creative moratorium for Esthero, until 2006 when her follow-up album "Wikked Lil' Grrrls" built some buzz thanks to the title track, which landed on Desperate Housewives' promos as well as various film soundtracks. While BFA harbored an outpouring of emotions from the singer/songwriter's adolescent journal, WLG was the aftermath of emotional turmoil for Esthero, brought on by major label demands coupled with recurring heartache.
Enter her latest album, "Everything Is Expensive", her most fluid and personal album to date. As Esthero enters the next phase in her career - armed with yet another masterpiece - she continues to push the envelope of what good music is supposed to sound like. Bold, heartfelt, and resilient, Esthero's gone from a Wikked Lil Grrrl to a dynamic woman ready to prove that while everything is expensive, she's paid that price...including tax.
~Biography info by Kathy Landoli~
I first learned of Esthero's "Breath From Another" back in 1998 when I was still in college at Howard, while working at Tower Records. Since then, I've followed her music devoutly, falling deeper in love with everything she's released. With "Wikked Lil' Grrrls", she managed to cast another spell on me "musically & lyrically", with songs that felt personal, raw, and so honest that I couldn't help but to feel connected to them on a number of levels. Then, I experienced her live show (in support of "Wikked") at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, DC & was in awe at how she managed to bring the songs to life, live on stage adding yet another layer of depth to her music. Needless to say, when I learned earlier this year that she was returning with a new album, I was elated. Much like many of her other fans & supporters, I'm eagerly anticipating another "musical chapter" from this beautiful lady. What you'll read below is our candid interview with her about her music, and her experiences as an artist. I'm SUPER HONORED & EXCITED to present to the BSC friends, family & supporters... Esthero. ENJOY.
Either I'm so far ahead or way fucking far behind, all I know is I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.
What is the significance of your upcoming album's title, "Everything Is Expensive"?
Love, money, power...these are probably the most common desires...but everything has a price. Love can cost you your heart, money your friends, power your soul if you're not careful.
It's exciting and daunting at the same time...there is great freedom, but also great work, and it can be overwhelming. I believe it will be rewarding in the long run though. I'm definitely learning something new every day.
For those who have been supporters and diehard fans since "Breath From Another", why has there been such a long gap in between the release of your albums?
Life. Life happens, I guess. I wasn't really planning on making another album...but "poof" life happened, and it turned out I had something to say again after all.
How does "Everything Is Expensive" differ from your last two albums, "Breath From Another" & "Wikked Lil' Grrrls"?
Well, I feel like "Breath" was a stylish album, "Wikked" was a singer's album....This one is probably more of a songwriter's album. I tried to simplify a little more as well...I mean as much as someone as myself can....I'm kind of insatiable when it comes to musicality.....I get so attached to all the different parts...bass lines, string lines...little moments....sometimes it's tough to whittle it down.
How/why did you make the decision to take the reigns as a producer on this new album?
Total accident..... just kinda woke up from a trance and had produced an album.
Can you speak briefly about why you decided to utilize Pledge music to release the new album and for all of those who are unfamiliar, how does it work?
Launching the PledgeMusic campaign was my manager's idea and I am so grateful he brought it to the table. The way it's working for me, is that it's allowing me to basically launch a giant pre-order for the new album...which then in turn helps mobilize me to be able to pay for the manufacturing of CD's, start being able to put the band together, and enlist help for spreading the word and promoting this album. All the of the sales through Pledge will soundscan, and will count towards my first week of sales, which is awesome for me. Also, Pledge doesn't take as large a percentage as other online distributers, plus now that we've reached our goal we can give a percentage of every sale to charity! I've decided to donate to The Van Ness Recovery house - you can read all about them on my page - they are wonderful. The best part though, is it's created a platform to me to be able to interact with my fans in a very unique and intimate way. I'm so glad we chose this route.
Do you have a 'bucket list' of artists that you'd like to work/collaborate with and if so, who are they & why would you like to work with them?
For some reason I'm not so into the words 'Bucket List'. I would love to work with Frank Ocean, Hot Hot Heat, Brian May - ummm...because they are all awesome?
What can fans expect from your next tour in support of the new album?
They can expect me to do my very best to put a good show together for them.
This is true. I love this community. They are my brothers and sisters and I am proud to stand next to them with my fist in the air until they are accorded the basic human rights they deserve.
How important is it for you to connect with your fans & those who support your work?
Very important. I love it. I tend to suffer from "terminal uniqueness". They remind me I am not alone.