Let’s Explore the Sound of Essence
Birmingham’s soul sisters Essence talk Stars in your Eyes, Stiletto Shoes and the release of their debut album Let’s Explore. Becky Shand, 24, and Josie Soden, 23, have the ‘funky, catchy modern melodies and smooth harmonies’ to make your ears want to simultaneously dance and melt to their tunes.
Essence explain they grew up singing together as a family around the house and at church and ‘only started taking it seriously when we got a place on the TV show Stars in your Eyes hosted by Cat Deeley. We realised our potential and talent so began to nurture it.’
Essence’s lyrics and melodies are written by both sisters often separately ‘we tend to write our songs separately and then present them to one another, tweaking bits here and there to get the finished product together.’ Essence’s covers which can be found on their YouTube channel have hit towards 2,000 views including a powerful live rendition of Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’. A personal favourite of Youth Arts Online is the heel stamping energy of their harmony smashing song ‘Boy (Stilleto Shoes).’
Collaborating with musical friends helps Essence shape new songs before recording. ‘You really have to create an identity for a song and be firm with what you want, otherwise it could end up sounding nothing like what you intended. When developing a song we get a few of our musician friends round for a jam, singing the song till we get the right vibe. It’s a lot of fun!’ A duet with Ed Sheeran is something that Essence would like to experience in the future, watch this space!
Balancing work and producing a record is challenging enough, but both sisters have also been arranging and preparing for their weddings – both getting married in the last 16 months . Phew. ‘The challenging parts of creating the album has been trying to do everything ourselves, marketing and recording. So we came to the conclusion that if we were to get it done anytime soon, we would have to pay for studio time and artists. We approached different musicians we knew and rehearsed and recorded at Highbury Studio and 2nd City Productions.’
Essence believe the highlight of their career will be the release of their debut album Let’s Explore ‘it’s special when you’re working towards something that people can take home and experience in their own private space. We hope to inspire and uplift our listeners wherever they are!’
Youth Arts Online asked Essence for their advice based on their experience of independently scaling the fickle music industry, ‘getting your name and music out there is hard. You have to have financial support and the persistence to keep going. It’s not just about being talented, you need to be marketed uniquely otherwise you won’t stand out and get noticed. Social networking is a great way to market yourself but you need to be consistent and stay true to yourself and your music.’
Essence’s album Let’s Explore is set for release later this year and will be a delight to both Becky and Josie and their eagerly anticipated fans to hear their flawless tones at studio enhanced quality.