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About Queen Esther
Queen Esther began making a name for herself in high school, first as one of only 30 juniors asked to attend the Governor's Honors Program in the state of Georgia in theater, then as one of 25 seniors asked to attend The National Foundation for the Arts' Arts Recognition and Talent Search in acting. She received a scholarship for theater at the University of Texas, and moved to Austin, but ended up leaving the program to pursue other creative outlets. It was during this time in Austin that she first met and performed with blues great Hubert Sumlin, and was a member of local favorites Ro-Tel and the Hot Tomatoes while remaining active in theater. After five years in Austin, New York City beckoned. There, Queen Esther enrolled at the New School where she received a B.A. in screenwriting, as well as becoming active in the music scene by sitting in regularly with Hubert Sumlin, performing with James Blood Ulmer and forming a blues duo called Hoosegow with downtown icon Elliott Sharp (they released Mighty in 1996). Additionally, she has collaborated in a host of creative settings, from alternative rock to spoken word and performance art. She also held on to her theatrical ambitions, developing, writing, and performing The Moxie Show, a one-person performance art piece, then joined the Worth Street Theater Company. Her second one-person show, the semi-autobiographical Queen Esther: Unemployed Superstar was performed at several theaters, culminating in a five-week sold-out run at Joe's Pub. After the attacks of 9/11, she acted as host and performer for Tribeca Playhouse's Stagedoor Canteen, a weekly hour-long USO-style variety show that entertained the workers at Ground Zero for free, resulting in the show winning a 2002 Drama Desk Award. She was also a cast member of the acclaimed Rent, as well as portraying several characters in George C. Wolfe's Harlem Song, which got her an Audelco Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 2003, she was one of six finalists out of 2500 entries in the Billboard Magazine/Discmakers' Independent Music World Series. Shortly after this, she was involved in Ulmer's No Escape from the Blues: The Electric Lady Sessions which led to the offshoot group 52nd St. Blues Project (also featuring Ulmer and violinist Charles Burnham) who released Blues and Grass in 2004. That same year, Queen Esther released her first solo album of "Black Americana," Talkin' Fishbowl Blues, on her own El Recordings imprint. She also sings regularly with the J.C. Hopkins Biggish Band.