Ester Dean

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Ester Dean
Birth name Esther Renay Dean
Born (1986-04-15) April 15, 1986 (age 28)
Muskogee, Oklahoma, U.S.
Genres R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop, Dance
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, Actress, Rapper, Record Producer, Voice Actress
Years active 2006–present
Labels Streamline, Zone 4, Interscope
Associated acts Stargate, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige

Esther Renay Dean (born April 15, 1986),[1] Better known by her stage name Ester Dean is an American songwriter, singer, rapper, actress, and record producer. Her 2009 single "Drop It Low" featured singer Chris Brown. Dean has also co-written songs for many artists including Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, Keri Hilson, Beyoncé, Priyanka Chopra, Mary J. Blige, Nicki Minaj, Kelly Clarkson, Ciara, The Pussycat Dolls, Usher, Kelly Rowland, Girlicious, Rihanna, R. Kelly, Britney Spears, Melody Thornton, Vanessa White, Kevin McHale, Selena Gomez, G.R.L., Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, Pia Toscano, Tinie Tempah, Lil Wayne, Machine Gun Kelly and Eurovision Song Contest 2012 winner Loreen.

In 2011, Dean contributed to the soundtrack for the animated film, Rio by Blue Sky Studios. In 2012, she voiced two of the characters in the fourth film in the Ice Age franchise, Ice Age: Continental Drift, and also wrote a song for the movie, entitled "We Are (Family)". Dean made her acting debut in the film Pitch Perfect (2012), and performed on the soundtrack.

Life and career[edit]

Tulsa, Oklahoma where Dean grew up.

Ester Dean was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on April 15, 1986,[2] and was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In her late teens, she moved to Omaha, Nebraska. After graduating from Omaha North High School in 2001,[3] she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, until relocating to Los Angeles, California. She was raised by her mother, Hester.[4][5] In an interview Dean spoke on her family life,

Oh, my whole family can sing. When I was growing up, I said I was going to be a chef. And my cousin was like, “No you aren't. You're going to sing.” And I'm like, “No, I'm not. I'm going to be a chef. And that's it.” And they're like, “No, you're going to sing.” And I said, “Okay, well I'll sing and get the money and set-up a restaurant.” My mom, she used to do gospel plays. And we used to go on the road with her and perform in the choir, so I grew up watching her star in these gospel plays. And it just showed, like, “Oh my God, I want to do this or do something like this.” I noticed how I started to get jealous when they used to pick other little girls to sing certain parts. And I'd be like, “Well, I can sing that better.” Or we'd be in their studio and I'm like, “I want to sing in a studio.” When I was really young, that childhood jealousy and seeing what I really wanted – I used to sing into anything I could hear myself back on. That's what I'd do. Even if it was karaoke, I just wanted to be heard, you know? I believe my mom wanted me to be a star and an artist. I think it trickles down. Sometimes it takes them to want it for you to do it.[6][7]

When Dean relocated to Los Angeles, California, she became a successful songwriter, and was introduced to Polow da Don, and later signed to Zone 4 Records/Interscope Records. During her tenure, Dean has amassed a catalog of songs she has written or co-written for other artists, such as Britney Spears, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Vanessa White, Priyanka Chopra, G.R.L., Monica, Keri Hilson, Keyshia Cole, Kelly Rowland, Girlicious, Katy Perry, Trey Songz, Kelly Clarkson, Ciara, Usher, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Pia Toscano, Kevin McHale, Selena Gomez, Melody Thornton, Ginuwine, Teyana Taylor, Scotty McCreery, Beyoncé Knowles, and Mary J. Blige, among others.

Dean recorded and released her first single, "Drop It Low" which features singer Chris Brown, from the LeBron James documentary, More Than a Game (2009), which peaked at number 38 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming her first US Top 40 single. The song received positive reviews, and the song was remixed by artists such as Lil Wayne, Trey Songz and Diddy. Dean has co-written songs featured on the Step Up 3D Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2010) and Burlesque: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2010).

Throughout 2011, Dean carried on songwriting. While working on her album, she co-wrote "Super Bass", for Nicki Minaj's debut album Pink Friday (2010).[8] The song has gone on to achieve the position of number three on the Hot 100.[9] "Super Bass" is included as part of the title of a UK Deluxe edition of Minaj's album, Pink Friday (Super Bass Edition).[10] Dean has an appearance on Rio: Music From The Motion Picture (2011) with "Let Me Take You To Rio". Dean is a co-writer and is featured on the song "Invincible", the second single from American rapper Machine Gun Kelly's debut album Lace Up (2012). The song has been used in a HTC ReZound ad and also served as one of several theme songs for WrestleMania XXVIII.

Dean made an appearance in Ice Age: Continental Drift. "I'm just excited," she says of playing her character, the Sloth Siren. "On August 23, I go put my voice down. And my character gets to sing." Dean is one of many musicians in the Ice Age: Continental Drift cast. Drake, Nicki Minaj, Queen Latifah and Jennifer Lopez are lending their voices to the film.[11]

Dean's song "Drop It Low" appears on The Bling Ring: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2013).[12]

On May 13, 2014 Dean announced via Instagram that she had parted ways with Interscope, and would be acting as an independent artist.[13]

On March 23, 2015 Dean self-released a six song EP Miss Ester Dean while she was opening for Nicki Minaj on The Pinkprint Tour.[14]



Dean possesses a mezzo-soprano range. Her vocals were described by as "raw, energetic vocals cover a wide range: from club banger to melodic doo-wop/hip-hop."[15] Dean's vocals have also been described as similar to Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. "The songwriter’s voice is pitched dead center between two artists. The first is frequent collaborator Rihanna, the other is the singing voice of Nicki Minaj.[16]

Songwriting style[edit]

In a 2012 article in The New Yorker, Dean described her preferred method of songwriting: "I go into the booth and I scream and I sing and I yell, and sometimes it's words but most time [sic] it's not...and I just see when I get this little chill [on her upper arm, below the shoulder] and then I'm, like, 'Yeah, that's the hook.'"[17]


Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays, with selected chart positions, showing year released
Title Details Peak chart positions


Miss Ester Dean[18]
  • Released: March 23, 2015[14]
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Drop It Low"
(featuring Chris Brown)
2009 38 33 32 More Than a Game OST
"Get My Dough" 2014 TBA
"Twerk'n 4 Birk'n"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

As featured artist[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Love Suicide"
(Tinie Tempah featuring Ester Dean)
2011 7 Disc-Overy
(MGK featuring Ester Dean)
108 60 Lace Up
"We've Only Just Begun"
(Michael Woods featuring Ester Dean)
2012 Non-album single
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Guest vocals[edit]

Year Title Album Artist
2009 "I Think I Love Her" The State vs. Radric Davis Gucci Mane
"Birthday Sex (Remix)" Jeremih Jeremih
"I Love U" Graffiti Chris Brown
2010 "P**** Fight" (Uncredited vocals)[citation needed] Non-album track Game feat. Ray J
"Hot Tottie" Versus Usher
"Grammy" The DeAndre Way Soulja Boy
"Shakin' It For Daddy" Sex Therapy Robin Thicke
"I Know You Got a Man" Battle of the Sexes Ludacris
"Super Bass" Pink Friday Nicki Minaj
"Love Suicide" Disc-Overy Tinie Tempah
2012 "In My City" single Priyanka Chopra
"We Are (Family)" Ice Age: Continental Drift (plays during credits only) Various
2013 "Wide Open" Underground Luxury B.o.B

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director(s) Ref.
2009 "Drop It Low" Joseph Kahn
2012 "Invincible" Alex Nazari [20]


Year Film Role Notes
2011 Rio Boy in Gondola Voice cameo
2012 The Lorax Soundtrack - "Let It Grow (Celebrate The World)" performed in credits
Ice Age: Continental Drift Sloth Siren Voice
Pitch Perfect Cynthia Rose Acting debut
2015 Pitch Perfect 2 Cynthia Rose To be released


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Age of Ester Dean". Smarty9108. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Clayton Perry (26 October 2009). "Interview: Ester Dean - Singer and Songwriter". Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Interview: Ester Dean – Singer and Songwriter (2009-10-26). "Interview: Ester Dean – Singer and Songwriter". Blogcritics. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  8. ^ Gary Trust (15 June 2011). "Adele 'Rolling' Along Atop Hot 100, Jason Aldean & Nicki Minaj Reach Top 10". Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Nicki Minaj - Super Bass -". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Pink Friday (Super Bass Edition) -". Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  11. ^ Erica Thompson (19 August 2011). "Ester Dean Talks 'Ice Age 4,' New Album and Missy Elliott". Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Bling Ring: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Explicit] [+digital booklet]: Various artists: MP3 Downloads". 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  13. ^ "Instagram". Instagram. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ "Ester Dean: Artists To Watch 2010". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  16. ^ Asaph, Katherine St (2012-02-23). "The Singles Bar: Ester Dean ft. Nicki Minaj, "Gimme Money"". Popdust. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  17. ^ Seabrook, John (26 March 2012). "The Song Machine". The New Yorker. LXXXVIII (6): 48–55. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Irish Singles Chart (November 3, 2011)". Chart-Track. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Video: MGK f/ Ester Dean – ‘Invincible’". Retrieved 2014-05-19. 

External links[edit]