Hometown: Nashville, TN
Web site: http://www.essramohawk.com/
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Essra's 1st record release was a single “The Boy With the Way” /b-side “Memory of Your Voice” on Liberty records when se was 16. “Newcomer Pick” in Cashbox, it was produced by Hutch Davie (He produced Shirley Ellis “Name Game”). A year later in New York both Koppelman & Rubin and United Artists offered her a position as a staff writer. She took neither offer but Shadow Morton who produced both the Shangri-Las and Vanilla Fudge, discovered her and her music and two years later the Shangri-La’s recorded Essra’s song “I’ll Never Learn” . Soon after that, her song, “The Spell That Comes After” was recorded by Vanilla Fudge on their “Renaissance” album. at age 19, Essra was discovered once again. This time by Frank Zappa who, after hearing her play was so blown away, he immediately invited her to join his band, The Mothers of Invention, thus making her their first female member. Within a year he signed her and released her first solo album on Verve. While performing with the Mothers, Essra also opened for Cream (their first time in New York), Procol Harum(Keith Reid’s lyrics to “Quite Rightly So” are about Essra), Albert King, Electric Flag, Grateful Dead(their first performance in N.Y.),and Jimi Hendrix.
Essra’s career as a songwriter took off when Cyndi Lauper recorded “Change of Heart” in 1986. It went to #3 on Billboard’s top 200 in 1987, winning an award from BMI for airplay. The album it was on (“True Colors”) went platinum. Since then many artists have recorded Essra’s songs and continue to do so. (see list below) The singer-songwriter’s over 600 songs, have recently been archived for future releases. Three of her early LPs were reissued on CDs in Japan in spring 2003, followed by her recent tours to California, the East Coast and Japan . Essra’s first album on CD “Raindance” which was released on Schoolkids Records in ‘95 was reissued on Evidence Feb., 2005. Her 1999 CD, “Essie Mae Hawk Meets the Killer Groove Band”, was remastered and reissued on Essra’s own label, MummyPump, in 2003. Essra’s been living in Nashville, TN since 1993 where she continues to write and record, playing her music on piano, mandolin and guitar. Keb’ Mo’, Steve Cropper and Bonnie Bramlett are among the stellar performers who joined Essra on her 2003 Evidence CD “You’re Not Alone”.
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