We had the good fortune of connecting with Esabalu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Esabalu, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m originally from Massachusetts, raised in North Carolina by two Kenyan parents. Like many first-generation Americans, I have teetered between a fairly strict immigrant parent upbringing and the freedom and opportunity afforded to all of us living in the U.S. I think that my parents learned a lot from us as well, I have two brothers in the mix that have navigated this same path. On one hand, life in Kenya can be very difficult. Jobs are scarce and the government can be very corrupt. But in the U.S., people don’t care where you’re from originally—you’re just Black here. There is far less racial discrimination in Kenya because the majority of the population is Black. I definitely pull from my experiences growing up in a Kenyan household, and the overall culture of singing is in my bones.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m Esabalu, an L.A. based artist who wants to sing for the world. I started my journey many years ago singing but decided to study audio engineering. That didn’t last too long as a career path as I found my way back to the stage shortly after college. Performances took me from cruise ships, to open mics, and even to Saturday Night Live. I had many years where I regretted my major and the debt I put myself in, but this year has been a complete turnaround. I have been able to dust off my studio gear and land several gigs, using my skills as an audio engineer to record and produce myself. My latest at home project is my single, “Where Our Dreams Begin,” featured in the latest Ulta Beauty ad here: https://youtu.be/MR1prgUWRIw
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend is in town for the week we’re hitting Hotel Cafe for an intimate show at least one of those nights. Then, for some contrast, we’ll go to the Greek Theater for that big venue experience to check out an artist we know and love. One morning we’ll go to Runyon Canyon to get that iconic Hollywood sign photo and hit up Stuff I Eat on the way home to fill us up with a dope vegan meal after a long hike. The last must is a trip to Playa del Rey for a fun beach day!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My first shoutout will always be to my mom. She is what I would consider a silent partner. My mom was never a helicopter parent, or a stage mom (that’s not the Kenyan way!) but she has always bent over backwards for me in her own way to make sure I have everything I need to succeed. That support started from art classes in elementary school and expanded to flights for auditions at colleges I couldn’t afford. Looking back, I know that her efforts meant that she always knew I was going to make it, even when it broke her heart to watch me struggle. Thanks, mom!
Marques Walls Maya Sharpe