Esthero is your favorite singer's favorite singer.

Esthero, whose real name is Jen-Bea Englishman, was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, on December 23, 1978. During the years following her birth yet preceeding her leaving home in 1995, she displayed talents for singing, playing guitar, and knowing her way around a sequencer and a mixing board. At age 16, when she left home, until she was signed by Sony Records in 1996, she bummed around Toronto-area coffeehouses and any other places she could perform. She must've done this frequently to get the attention of Sony, and with the addition of her friend Doc, Esthero (also the name of the band) was signed.

The duo holed themselves up in a Toronto recording studio for about a year and recorded Breath From Another, with Jen-Bea on vocals, guitar, synths and miscellania, and Doc on programming, mixing, sequencing, and the occasional backup vocal. The completed product was delivered to Sony in late 1997 and the song Country Livin' (The World I Know) was released as a single in April 1998 (on the Short of Breath promo). It received impressive airplay in Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh and of course her native Toronto, and in nearby Montréal. It did well enough that the album was released on schedule in April 1998 and was accompanied by a short tour of the northern midwest United States and all over Ontario and Quebéc.

The album itself is a masterpiece meshing of trip hop, hip hop, jazz, and even a bit of folk. All the tracks feature light acoustic and electric guitars to accentuate Jen-Bea's sensuous vocals and all the tracks heavily feature Doc's beat programming and vocal processing. Several of the tracks feature guest rap soliloquies from other Toronto hip hop scene fixtures Michie Mee and Bratticus. The second track on the album, the hard-rocking yet fabulous Heaven Sent was made into a music video, which unfortunately never really made much of a splash on MTV in the United States, though it was in heavy rotation on Canada's superior (IMO, anyway) music television station MuchMusic.

The video for Heaven Sent finally gives us a view of who has been singing such lovely melodies on the album and the singles -- a short, crop-haired redhead in a tank top and a long skirt. Her full lips belt out the lyrics about plotting murder while Doc rides around on a cartoon-like motorcycle, and a crowd of people menace Jen-Bea's alter ego, who seems to have dropped her purse. The video winds down with Jen-Bea lying atop a grand piano, writhing around and generally looking as sexy as a fleet of Ferraris driven by girls you went to high school with and couldn't even speak to because of the depths of your crush on them. She is extremely attractive.

Her voice, on the other hand, is indescribable. The best I can do by way of comparison is to take the best elements of the voices of Beth Gibbons (Portishead) and Lou Rhodes (Lamb), combine them, and make them about ten times better and more toned. It's as though Jen-Bea's voice hits the Soloflex in its spare time because it's unbelievably amazing and strong enough knock you right on your ass the first time you really hear it.


The composition fractured me
Yet, I pieced into the girl I long to be
When I fall apart that's when the notes will swallow me

Long as I have my voice, I don't need arms to hold
Long as you have your voice, you don't need arms to hold
You'll never need arms to hold you
You'll never need arms to hold me

-- Swallow Me --

Esthero has made a great many contributions to other musical endeavors and I will name as many as I can remember here. (This list doesn't include songs that appeared on Esthero albums, only other people's albums/singles.)

She'll also appear on the (seemingly forever-) forthcoming Adam Bravin solo album. For those not in the know, Adam Bravin is also known as DJ Adam12 and is a member of the band She Wants Revenge. I've heard tell that Adam loves Esthero's voice as much as I do.

SHORT OF BREATH (Digipak promo CD)

April 7, 1998
Sony/The WORK Group

  1. Breath from another
  2. Heaven sent
  3. Country livin' (the world I know)
  4. That girl


April 28, 1998
Sony/The WORK Group

  1. Breath from another (feat. Michie Mee & Bratticus)
  2. Heaven sent
  3. Anywayz
  4. That girl
  5. Country livin' (the world I know)
  6. Filpher overture
  7. Half a world away (feat. Michie Mee)
  8. Lounge (two versions of this song exist; one features a Hammond organ solo, the other doesn't)
  9. Superheroes
  10. Indigo boy
  11. Swallow me


July 21, 1998
Sony/The WORK Group

  1. Heaven sent (Album version)
  2. Heaven sent (Mad Professor Dub)
  3. Breath from another (Pt. 7 and 11 (remix))
  4. Breath from another (DJ Krust Sitting on Chrome Mix)
  5. Breath from another (Orpheus Floating Mix)


August 31, 2004
Reprise Records

  1. O.G. bitch (original version)
  2. O.G. bitch (Smitty's deep guitar remix)
  3. O.G. bitch (Smitty & Gabriel D. Vine's garage party remix)
  4. O.G. bitch (moody-ass bitch remix)
  5. O.G. bitch (speakeasy mix)
  6. O.G. bitch (the orange factory mix)
  7. O.G. bitch (Bill Hamel club mix)
  8. I love you (non-album track)


April 26, 2005
Warner Brothers Records

  1. We R in need of a musical revolution
  2. Dragonfly's intro
  3. Blanket me in you (never is so soon)
  4. Everyday is a holiday (with you) (feat. Sean Lennon)
  5. Thank heaven 4 you
  6. If tha mood (feat. Shakari Nite)
  7. Bad boy Clyde
  8. Beautiful lie
  9. Junglebook (feat. André 3000)
  10. My Honeybrown
  11. Wikked lil' girls
  12. Gone (feat. Cee-Lo Green)
  13. My torture
  14. Melancholy melody
  15. Fastlane (feat. Jemeni and Jeleestone)
  16. Dragonfly's outro
  17. Brave bear woman


digital release: October 28, 2012 / CD release: November 5, 2012
Self-release (worldwide) / Universal Music (Canada)

  1. Prelude: Crash
  2. Black mermaid
  3. Gracefully
  4. You don't get a song
  5. Walking on eggshells
  6. Never gonna let you go
  7. Supernatural
  8. Go
  9. How do I get you alone?
  10. Francis
  11. Everything is expensive (the kids are not alright)
  12. Crash (feat. Jonah Johnson)
  13. Over


In 2003, Esthero contributed the track "Nearly Civilized" to the soundtrack for the Sony PlayStation2 game "007: Nightfire," in which the song is featured as the main theme (apart from the standard James Bond theme, that is). The phrase "nearly civilized" appeared again during interludes on the Wikkid Lil Grrrls album a couple of years later. She has also contributed songs to the Love and Basketball and Down With Love soundtracks, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Chris Rock's HBO series, and The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn, among others.

In early 2010, while working on the follow-up to Wikked Lil Grrrls, Esthero released the song "Black Mermaid" on her website. Listen to it -- it's indescribably beautiful. (I humbly ask that you /msg me and tell me what you think of it if you listen to it... I'd really like to know!) It was originally written by E for Cree Summer, but circumstance lead to her recording it herself. It has been confirmed that it will be on Esthero's next album, Everything Is Expensive, to be released in 2012.

The lead single from Everything Is Expensive is called "Never Gonna Let You Go". The song was released in March 2012, in advance of the album, though the full video (directed by Sean Michael Turrell) didn't appear until August 17, 2012. The full album, in turn, was digitally released through PledgeMusic on October 28, 2012, with the CD release following a few days later. I've got a signed copy!

Finally, since this doesn't fit anywhere else, the song "I Get Down" was possibly recorded during the Breath For Another sessions, which can't really be verified. It never appeared on any album, single or EP or on any compilations. It was available for download on a music website called Snopop in the late 1990s then disappeared. It reappeared on YouTube in 2012. It doesn't really fit with the rest of BFA, so although I can see why it was left off the album, I think it's a great song and you can really hear how young E was when it recorded.

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