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Esthero (/ɛˈstɛr/ es-THERE-oh; born Jenny-Bea Englishman on December 23, 1978 in Stratford, Ontario),[1] is a Canadian singer-songwriter who lives in Los Angeles, California. The name Esthero refers both to the singer and formerly to the two-person team of herself and producer Doc McKinney. Esthero is a portmanteau of "Esther the hero"; she claims to have gotten the name by combining the name of the heroine (Esther) and last line ("If I am to be the hero, then I cannot fly from darkness") of the movie from Sylvia Plath's novel, The Bell Jar.[2]

Esthero in 2008
Background information
Birth nameJenny-Bea Englishman
Born (1978-12-23) December 23, 1978 (age 40)
Stratford, Ontario, Canada
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
Years active1997–present
Associated acts

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 artists Björk, Portishead, Billie Holiday, and Sade.[2] She has co-produced the majority of the material she performed.[3][4] Later female artists who count Esthero among their influences include Res, Fergie and fellow Canadian Nelly Furtado.[5]

Esthero's brother, Jason Englishman, is also a musician.


Early lifeEdit

At the age of sixteen, Esthero moved from the small town of Walkerton, Ontario on her own to Toronto, Ontario, where she began singing at open-mic nights while supporting herself by working at various jobs: Future Bakery, the printing house, and telemarketing. She was seen singing at the Free Times Cafe by manager Beau Ovcaric who set up a showcase for his partner Zack Werner.[2] The two managed her on good faith without any legal paperwork until she turned eighteen. They introduced her to EMI Publishing Canada president Michael McCarty, whom she charmed so well during their first meeting that without hearing her sing a single note he set up and paid for recording sessions with Martin "Doc" McKinney, a guitarist and studio engineer whom she had met through a mutual friend.[2]

1997: Breath from AnotherEdit

The young duo quickly began recording together, and 6 demos in were being courted on the presidency level by almost every major label in the US. Thanks to then EMI publishing US president Rick Krim their demo's reached the ears of the heads of the Work Group (a subsidiary of Sony). Their debut album, Breath from Another, was released to critical acclaim in Spring 1998.[6]

1998–2003: Collaborations and successEdit

Following lukewarm sales of her debut, Esthero was dropped from her record label. In 1998, after a remix of one of her songs ("Country Livin'") was used included on the soundtrack for "Slam", Esthero received attention from many hip-hop and rap artists, with many requesting collaborations with her.[2] Some such collaborations were fruitful, such as her work with the Black Eyed Peas on "Weekends", which was an international hit. Esthero performed at Lee's Palace in Toronto in March 1999.[7]

In 2001, Esthero collaborated with German producer Ian Pooley on "Balmes (A Better Life)", which reached the Top 75 of the UK Singles chart[8] and gave Esthero her first entry on the US Dance charts.[9]

2004–2005: O.G. Bitch and Wikked Lil GrrrlsEdit

On April 20, 2004—without Doc's assistance—Esthero released O.G. Bitch, a standalone EP featuring six different remixes of the title track, plus the B-side "I Love You". The song topped the club charts in the US.[9] The following year, she released a second EP, titled We R in Need of a Musical Revolution.[10] The EP spawned a hit of the same name[11] and led the way to Esthero's 2005 full-length album on the Warner Bros. label, Wikked Lil' Grrrls, seven years following her debut album, to mixed critical reaction.[12] The album features contributions from Sean Lennon, André 3000, Jemeni, Jelleestone, and Cee-Lo Green of Goodie Mob.[13]

2007–2011: Split from record company and collaborationsEdit

In 2007, Esthero amicably parted ways with Venus Management. She continues to have a familial bond with Zack and Beau. Esthero is currently self managed.

2008 was an eventful year for Esthero, with a number of high-profile collaborations including the viral sensation Yes We Can, a song (with accompanying video) inspired by a speech delivered by Barack Obama and produced by Esthero also provided the voice of the spaceship J.A.N.E. on Kanye West's Glow in the Dark tour and appeared on his album 808s & Heartbreak, on which she co-wrote three tracks under her real name.[14] 2008 also saw her take on the role of producer for a track from Dangerous Muse's debut album and a co-writer on Brandy's album "Human". She is featured on hip hop music producer Timbaland's 2009 album Shock Value II on the songs "Can You Feel It" and "Undertow" with band The Fray. The latter entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 100, giving Esthero her first and only Hot 100 entry in the US.[9]

2012–present: Everything Is Expensive and "Baby Steps"Edit

On June 5, 2012, Esthero released a new single titled "Never Gonna Let You Go", which was co-written and co-produced with Adam Bravin (She Wants Revenge). The song was featured in the February 21, 2013 episode of Grey's Anatomy, titled "This Is Why We Fight".[15] The song reached number 72 on the Canadian Hot 100, giving Esthero her first entry on the chart.[9]

On October 30, 2012, Esthero self-released a new album titled Everything Is Expensive. It debuted at number 13 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart in the US.[16] In Canada, the album was released through Universal Music.

In 2016, "Breath from Another" was nominated for a Polaris Heritage Prize, for best album from 1996-2005.[17] The album lost, however, to Arcade Fire's "Funeral" (which won the public vote) and Lhasa de Sela's "La Llorona" (which won the jury vote).[18]

In 2019, Esthero was featured in Black Eyed Peas song "4ever", which was published on February 1, 2019.[19] Via social media, Esthero announced the song "Baby Steps" on February 3, 2019.

Chart historyEdit

Esthero's singles typically perform well in North America. She has had three songs enter the American Dance Club Songs chart ("Balmes", with Ian Pooley; "O.G. Bitch"; and "Fastlane", with Jemeni & Jelleestone); two of the songs reached the Top 5 of the chart and one, "O.G. Bitch", reached number 1.[20] She has also had two entries on the American Dance Singles Sales chart ("O.G. Bitch" and "Fastlane"), both of which reached the Top 10.[21] She has had one chart entry in the UK ("Balmes", which broke the Top 75),[22] and one chart entry in her native Canada ("Never Gonna Let You Go", which reached number 72 on their Hot 100 chart).[23]

Appearances on TV and soundtracksEdit

Esthero has appeared on the Chris Rock Show,[24] Video on Trial, Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[25] as well as Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Farmclub with The Black Eyed Peas. She has also contributed songs to the films Go, Bounce, Zero Effect, I Think I Love My Wife and Down With Love, as well as the video game 007: Nightfire. Collaborations in which she has participated have appeared in Love & Basketball and Slam.

Her song "Wikked Lil' Grrrls" has also appeared in the film Miss Congeniality 2 and in commercial spots for Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, on the TV show Boston Legal, Smallville, and also on the TV show Las Vegas and its soundtrack.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Richard Harrington. October 28, 2005. "Esthero, Mixing It Up Again". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Esthero - Dictionary definition". Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  3. ^ Urella, Matteo. "We Need More Female Producers, But a Select Few Are Currently Making Noise". DJ Booth. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  4. ^ Boboltz, Sara. "There Are So Few Women In Music Production, No One Bothers To Count". Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  5. ^ Parker, Lyndsey. "Exclusive LAUNCH Artist Chat". Wayback Machine. Archived from the original on 17 December 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Molanphy, Chris. "CMJ New Music Monthly May 1998 (pg. 41)". Google Books. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Live Reviews: Esthero March 6, 1999 Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON". Chart Attack, by Jim kelly
  8. ^ "UK Singles Chart history". Official Charts. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d "Esthero chart search". BillboardBiz. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  10. ^ Loftus, Johnny. "Esthero We R in Need of a Musical Revolution [EP] [Bonus Track] review". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  11. ^ "We R In Need Of A Musical Revolution (OFFICIAL VIDEO HD) ESTHERO (BY JACKSONGZMJB)". YouTube. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Wikked Lil' Grrrls by Esthero Summary". MetaCritic. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  13. ^ Johnny Loftus (2005-06-28). "Wikked Lil' Grrrls - Esthero | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  14. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Kanye West 808s & Heartbreak overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Never Gonna Let You GoiTunes". TV Fanatic. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Heatseekers Albums: Up and Coming Musicians Chart". Retrieved 2015-06-13.
  17. ^ Bliss, Karen. "Polaris Heritage Prize: Neil Young, Alanis Morissette and Arcade Fire Make Short List for Pre-2005 Prize". Billboard. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  18. ^ "2016 Polaris Heritage Prize - Polaris Music Prize". Polaris Music Prize. Archived from the original on 22 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  19. ^ Kaplan, Ilana; Kaplan, Ilana (2019-02-02). "Watch Black Eyed Peas Cruise Streets of Los Angeles in '4EVER' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  20. ^ "Dance Club Songs chart history". Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Dance Singles Sales chart history". Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  22. ^ "OFFICIAL SINGLES CHART RESULTS MATCHING: BALMES". Official Charts. The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  23. ^ "Chart Search - Esthero". Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  24. ^ Esthero on the Chris Rock Show, retrieved 2019-09-18
  25. ^ Episode #4.68, retrieved 2019-09-18

External linksEdit