Katy Perry, Rihanna, Usher, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Ciara, and R. Kelly can all thank Ester Dean for their chart topping success. The Oklahoma native’s song writing resume reads like a who’s who of music’s A-list. After relocating to Atlanta, Dean teamed up with producer Polow da Don, Zone4Inc., and Interscope Records. After years of singing on demos and being met with opposition to her raspy voice, in 2009, Ester released “Drop It Low,” featuring Chris Brown, which gave the singer her first Billboard Top 40 Hit on her own.
Most recently Ester penned the feature single for the Dr. Seuss inspired film “The Lorax” out in theaters March 2nd. The song “Let It Grow” which closes out the film celebrates the message of showing your love for the Earth. Dean worked along side Tricky Stewart who produced Beyonce’s super smash hit, “Single Ladies.” The duo worked hard to make sure “Let It Grow” would inspire listeners to work harder to take care of the earth without sounding too gimmicky.
I really haven’t been writing that long. I look at it like this: we aren’t writers until we start getting paid for it. So for me, I only became a professional writer three years ago because that’s when people actually started paying me for it. You can be a lawyer all day but until you start getting paid for it, you aren’t really a professional lawyer. When I met Polow and started working with Interscope, it really started getting good. Cranking out good songs that people appreciated.
Performer vs. Songwriter
I was an artist first, but I wasn’t getting paid yet, so I wasn’t anything! When you’re an unknown artist, no one is going to write your songs if you aren’t signed, so I had to write my own. Then people were so into my songs, but I was like: I’m an artist! I love writing music. It’s really the thing that saved my life. Mentally, soul searching and figuring life out. It makes me feel safe. Financially, it’s obviously changed my life. And also I had to let go of fear. As an artist, there’s a lot of fear. You have to write a song, hope someone will like it when you sing it and when they sing it, and then the record label has to like and then the radio has to like it and then hope their fans like it and buy it!
Her music style
Everything I do is emotional-whether I’m happy or sad or angry or calm-it’s all just what I’m feeling. My song style is about feelings. I just write songs from emotion and people can relate. I have relatable songs. I’m a relatable singer.
The artists she loves
Music inspires me through sound-of course growing up with my cousins playing the music they listen to-90s pop stuff. Beyonce, Destiny’s Child. But my inspiration to be an artist was being broke, my stomach growling and paying my rent. That’s what inspires you to get up and do something. I didn’t wanna be poor anymore.
Her favorite song she’s written
Firework by Katy Perry. It really speaks to who I am in a positive side and I’m so happy it got that kind of life to inspire other people. We needed something like that in the world.