Queen Esther is an award-winning vocalist, songwriter, librettist, playwright, actor and recording artist.
Queen Esther grew up as the middle child and the only daughter in the semi-rural environs of the Deep South with six brothers, a four-octave range and an IQ that set her firmly in the gifted program for English and creative writing as a five year old. While attending a prestigious performing arts high school in Atlanta GA, she thrived in citywide productions (Bernstein’s MASS with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) the Governor’s Honors Program (Drama), and competed for and won several scholarships in theater via ARTS Recognition and Talent Search (sponsored by the National Foundation for the Arts). As luck would have it, she chose the University of Texas and exploded in the local music scene in Austin as a member of Ro-Tel and the Hot Tomatoes, a regional favorite specializing in girl group music that began as a gag in the infamous local comedy/theater troupe Esther’s Follies.
It was guitarist “Big Al” Gilhausen who introduced her to the legendary blues guitar icon Hubert Sumlin. Because of his immediate influence, she lost herself in the blues and found her way back to her country gospel roots. This, along with a childhood of free-form radio on the airwaves, augmented by a steady diet of Hee-Haw, The Lawrence Welk Show and Soul Train – and the overwhelming presence of the rural sanctified black church, filled with sacred steel – solidified her Black Americana sound.