Last month we talked about super song writer Ester Dean, and pontificated that she just might be the next big thing to cross over from behind the scenes to center stage after her amazing new track “Gimme Money” featuring Nicki Minaj was released. The New Yorker has profiled Dean (along with producer team Stargate), and the article only serves to future enforce her prowess as a hit machine. The New Yorker says, “Dean has a genius for infectious hooks. Somehow she is able to absorb the beat and the sound of a track, and to come out with its melodic essence. The words are more like vocalized beats than like lyrics, and they don’t communicate meaning so much as feeling and attitude—they nudge you closer to the ecstasy promised by the beat and the “rise,” or the “lift,” when the track builds to a climax.”
The article describes Dean’s process for hit making, and the whole thing seems so intrinsically organic that we can’t help but feel that Ester is destined for pop greatness. “Dean’s preferred method of working is to delay listening to a producer’s track until she is in the studio, in front of the mike. “I go into the booth and I scream and I sing and I yell, and sometimes it’s words but most time it’s not,” she told me. “And I just see when I get this little chill, here”—she touched her upper arm, just below the shoulder—“and then I’m, like, ‘Yeah, that’s the hook.’ ” If she doesn’t feel that chill after five minutes, she moves on to the next track, and tries again.”
The article goes on to say, “After several minutes of nonsense singing, the song began to coalesce. Almost imperceptibly, the right words rooted themselves in the rhythm while melodies and harmonies emerged in Dean’s voice. Her voice isn’t hip-hop or rock or country or gospel or soul, exactly, but it could be any one of those. “I’ll come alive tonight,” she sang. Dancing now, Dean raised one arm in the air. After a few more minutes, the producers told her she could come back into the control room. “See, I just go in there and scream and they fix it,” she said, emerging from the booth, looking elated, almost glowing.”
We’re starting to have even more confidence in Ester Dean being the next big crossover act, because writing hits for artists like Rihanna (“Rude Boy”, “What’s My Name”, and “S & M” to name a few). And it seems that as well as her natural talent, she’s got a genuine love for her work, “When I’m working alone, I have no feedback, just the occasional nod or ‘I like it’ from Aubry… Stargate is the only producer where I go to their place, ’cause everyone else is so hit-minded. They’re always looking at you, going, ‘Didja get it? Didja get it? Is that the hit?’ And I don’t know what I’m going to give them. I never try to tap and find out what it is; I just do what I do.” We think it’s time to start preparing for the rise of Ester Dean — and even Dean domination &mdhash; for 2012.
The Song Machine [The New Yorker]