A sixth-generation San Francisco native, award winning singer-songwriter Essence has been immersed in art and music since childhood. She was raised by quintessential flower children, her parents being two free spirited bohemian artists from the Haight-Ashbury ‘Summer of Love.’ Since winning the Grand Prize in the National Lilith Fair Talent Search in 1998, Essence has been signed to RCA Records, Way Cool/ MCA Records, and Or Music (Los Lonely Boys, Matisyahu). She debuted with the successful indie release Conception, which garnered much Bay Area radio airplay and press and established a devoted fan base.
Essence’s latest long player could likely be her masterwork. It is a 12- track opus entitled Black Wings which chronicles the trials and tribulations of a failed marriage propelled by dishonesty and addiction. The undeniable weight of the pervasive subject matter is artfully handled with razor sharp couplets, gritty performances and smart arrangements underscoring obvious pain, but doing so with humor, wisdom and eloquence.
"This was the most difficult OneMic session of the series because the band had to control their balance against Essence’s soft vocal sections. After a few run throughs I felt it wasn’t going to work at all. I contemplated calling the session off and buy enough pizza and beer with the hope everyone would forgive me for wasting their time. However, once Essence and the band heard the first playback and I explained that they, not me, were responsible for the mix everyone went to work at rebalancing. I had them put on headphones and fed them the microphone’s output. They adjusted their own volumes so they could hear Essence sing the soft passages. I also moved her as close to the mic as I could. You would be surprised to hear how quiet it really is in the room. I took about eight takes on each song before everyone was happy with both the performance and mix. Knowing how hard it was to do this session I’m especially proud of these two recordings." - John Cuniberti