e s s e n c e
A sixth-generation San Francisco native, award winning singer-songwriter essence has been immersed in art and music since childhood. Her birth name really is ‘essence’ – she was raised by quintessential flower children, her parents being two free spirited bohemian artists from the Haight-Ashbury ‘Summer of Love.’ Her songs draw from the traditions of folk, Americana, and rock n roll, but ultimately her voice is very much her own. Gutsy and emotionally raw, she cuts to the bone, as she strums her banjo and runs her glass slide up the neck of her 1934 dobro. In addition to winning the Grand Prize in the National Lilith Fair Talent Search, and the Grand Prize for the Great American Song Contest, essence has made 5 CDs on both independent and major labels, and toured nationally opening for Jason Mraz, Shawn Colvin, Tom Petty, Sarah McLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Chrissie Hynde, Steve Miller, Pat Benatar, and Linda Perry. Her sound nods to songwriting legends like Tom Petty and Lucinda Williams, Dolly Parton, and Gillian Welch. In addition to writing folk/americana, pop, and rock songs, essence expanded her repertoire by creating a collection of charming, catchy tunes inspired by her son that turned out to have a life of their own and have become a favorite for parents and children nationwide. essence's spirited children's album 'A Dog Named Moo' was was entirely funded by loyal fans on Kickstarter, named 'Top Album of The Year' by Daily Candy, and was picked up and released by My Kazoo/ Universal Music. essence has performed for audiences ranging from 8 to 80,000, in venues from New York's Bowery Ballroom to The Los Angeles Rose Bowl, to San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium. essence's recordings have been placed in major network television shows and films, and she has received national radio play and critical acclaim in publications ranging from The San Francisco Chronicle, Acoustic Guitar Player Magazine, and Billboard Magazine. Additional essence trivia includes her being the
voice of 'Barbie' for several national commercials. essence's recently released 5th album entitled "Black Wings" is for the grown-up set, and is a return to her organic musical roots. "Black Wings" is a collection of essence's most raw and personal songs to date and has earned critical acclaim and high praise in both the US and UK.
essence's most recent project is also quite likely her most important to date. It is a project she could not have planned. The story began began 2 years ago when essence was teaching voice lessons to a man named Bernie Dalton. Bernie is a down-to-earth, kind hearted, devoted single father to a beautiful 16 year old daughter named Nicole. When essence first met Bernie, he was a dedicated surfer who had a passion for music and writing songs. In 2016, Bernie reached out to essence for voice lessons. Bernie showed up to each lesson filled with inspiration, songs to share, and was eager to learn healthy vocal techniques to expand his range and build his confidence as a singer. Two months after starting voice lessons, Bernie’s voice mysteriously disappeared. They could not figure out why. Bernie saw a neurologist, and after a series of tests, he was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of ALS - Bulbar Onset (Lou Gehrig's Disease). The life expectancy for people with Bulbar onset ALS is 1-3 years. Bernie was shocked and devastated. He was only 47.
essence wanted to help raise money so Bernie could take his daughter on a trip while he still could, but Bernie had a different idea. Bernie wanted to make a record of his songs. He wanted to leave a musical legacy for his future grandchildren that he would likely not live long enough to meet. He wanted them to know who he is, he wanted them to know his views of the world, and convey his advice for living in the lyrics he wrote. essence launched a Go Fund Me campaign, and the outpour of love and support from family and friends made it possible to record an album of Bernie’s songs.
Bernie had a vision, but since ALS had already robbed of him of his ability to speak or sing, he asked essence to be his voice and put melody and music to his lyrics. In the early recording sessions, Bernie was able to walk and he even drove himself to the studio in his pickup truck. He was able to sit with us in the studio and give feedback using hand signals and write notes on a dry erase board to indicate his approval or disapproval of what the musicians were playing. Two thumbs up from someone who can't speak means a lot. But due of the aggressiveness of the disease, in 6 short months Bernie lost the ability to walk, move his arms, swallow, and travel, and final recordings have to be shared in the nursing home.
Go Fund Me was so inspired and moved by this story that they made a documentary film about Bernie, essence, and the band. It is a story of courage, creativity, and the triumph of music in spite of great adversity. A campaign for Bernie’s campaign has been launched and the outpour of community support and donations has been tremendous. Gofundme.com/sendberniehome
essence is the voice, producer, and co-writer on Bernie’s album, “Connection.” The record is now complete and will be released with the band name Bernie and The Believers on Friday February 9th at SLIM’S in San Francisco. BernieAndTheBelievers.com
When essence is not recording, writing, and touring she leads a leadership development program called “Finding Your Voice” for business professionals and executives. The workshops jumpstart creativity, build professional presence, and develop public speaking and presentation skills in the boardroom and in life. www.essencegoldman.com
For more info, please visit: www.essencemusic.com