Sylvan Esso

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Sylvan Esso
Sylvan Esso performing in Hamburg, Germany, in 2015
Sylvan Esso performing in Hamburg, Germany, in 2015
Background information
OriginDurham, North Carolina, United States[1]
Years active2013 (2013)–present
Associated acts
  • Amelia Meath
  • Nick Sanborn

Sylvan Esso is an American electronic pop duo from Durham, North Carolina, formed in 2013. The band consists of singer Amelia Meath (born July 2, 1988) and producer Nick Sanborn (born March 8, 1983). They made their debut with the single "Hey Mami" and released their eponymous debut album on Partisan Records on May 12, 2014, which reached No. 39 on the Billboard 200. They released their second album What Now with Loma Vista Recordings on April 28, 2017, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album.[2]


2012–2013: Formation[edit]

Lead singer Amelia Meath, who was at the time involved with her trio, Mountain Man, created the vocals to the song called "Play It Right". She later met electronic music producer Nick Sanborn (who played bass in band Megafaun) in Milwaukee at the Cactus Club,[3] performing at the time solo as Made of Oak,[4] and asked him to make a rendering of her single, Play It Right, in his own way. From 2012 to 2013, the band slowly formed. Meath had returned from a year-and-a-half tour with Feist and was looking for an affordable place to live, thus landing in Durham with Sanborn[3] and began making their album, with all of their songs being recorded in Sanborn's apartment bedroom. The band named itself after a character in an early iOS game titled "Swords and Sworcery".[5]

2014–2015: Sylvan Esso[edit]

Sylvan Esso is the group's eponymous debut studio album, released May 12, 2014 (2014-05-12) via Partisan Records.[1] The album reached No. 39 on the Billboard 200 and No. 7 on the Independent Albums chart,[6] The single "Hey Mami" was named Paste Magazine's No. 1 song of 2014. They made their network television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on July 9, 2014, performing the single "Coffee".[7][8] It received considerable airplay in the US, increasing the profile of the band nationally.[9] In August 2015, the band released the single "H.S.K.T.", which included a remix by Hercules and Love Affair.[10]

In April 2015, Sylvan Esso played both weekends of Coachella.[11] Other 2015 dates saw the band perform at The Firefly Music Festival 2015, in Dover, DE, The Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on July 18 and on July 25 at the Wayhome Festival in Oro Medonte, Canada.[citation needed] Sylvan Esso played on Friday, July 31, 2015 at Lollapalooza in Chicago, Illinois.[citation needed] The group also performed both weekends of the 2015 Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, Texas.[citation needed]

In August 2015, the band also released "Jaime's Song", specially recorded for NPR's Radiolab, as a tribute to a story about bipolar disorder.[12]

2016–present: What Now, WITH, and Free Love[edit]

In September 2016 the band released the single "Radio"[13] back to back with "Kick Jump Twist".[14] A video for the latter appeared in January 2017.[15] In late February the group released the single “Die Young” along with a music video and an announcement regarding their new album, titled What Now.[16]

In early March 2017, the duo performed at South by Southwest, for NPR Music's showcase.[17] Later that March, the band performed on NPR's World Cafe to perform songs from their upcoming album.[18]

On April 28, 2017, the band released their second studio album What Now on Loma Vista Recordings.[19] The album received mostly positive reviews. In May 2017, they performed at the Boston Calling Music Festival.[20] The duo began their What Now US 2017 Tour on May 13, 2017. The tour ended in November 2017.

On November 28, 2017, the album received a Grammy nomination in the category "Best Dance/Electronic Album."[21]

They performed at Eaux Claires in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on June 17, 2017, the Melt! Festival in Ferropolis, Germany and the Citadel Festival in London, United Kingdom in July 2017. They also performed at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk, England, in July 2017. In October 2018, they performed at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, Texas.

Premiered by NPR, Sylvan Esso released Echo Mountain Sessions in July, 2018.[22] The band covered five songs from What Now with additional instrumentation by Matt Douglas, Ryan Gustafson, Molly Sarlé, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, Jenn Wasner, and Joe Westerlund.

In November, 2019 Sylvan Esso performed a series of concerts as part of the WITH Tour in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, and Durham, NC.[23] The couple was joined by Meg Duffy, Molly Sarlé, Daughter of Swords, Jenn Wasner, Dev Gupta, Adam Schatz, Matt McCaughan, and Joe Westerlund.[23] A live concert documentary of the Durham show was released on YouTube on April 23, 2020 with a live album titled WITH releasing the following day.[24]

On July 17, 2020 the band teased an upcoming project, and on July 21, 2020, the band announced their third album titled Free Love would be released on September 25, 2020.[25]

Band members[edit]

  • Amelia Meath – vocals, production
  • Nick Sanborn – instrumentals, production

Meath and Sanborn married in June 2016.[26]


  • Sylvan Esso Spring 2015 US Tour
  • What Now Tour
  • WITH Tour



Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions

Sylvan Esso 39 12
What Now 32 4 92
Free Love
  • Released: September 25, 2020[32]
  • Label: Loma Vista
100 12

Live albums[edit]

Title Details
  • Released: April 24, 2020[33]
  • Label: Loma Vista


Title Details
Echo Mountain Sessions
  • Released: July 28, 2017[34]
  • Label: Loma Vista


Title Year Peak chart positions Album



"Hey Mami" 2013 Sylvan Esso
"Coffee" 2014 33
"H.S.K.T" 2015
"Jamie's Song"[38] non-album single
"Radio" 2016 28 What Now
"Don't Dream It's Over / Everything Is Free"[39]
(with Flock of Dimes)
non-album single
"Kick Jump Twist" What Now
"Die Young" 2017 34
"There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You"[40] non-album singles
"PARAD(w/m)E"[41] 2018
"Funeral Singers"[42]
(featuring Collections of Colonies of Bees)
"Ferris Wheel"[43] 2020 12 Free Love
"Rooftop Dancing"

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album


"Paper Cup"
(Real Estate featuring Sylvan Esso)
2020 23 The Main Thing
"Dark Days"[46]
(Local Natives featuring Sylvan Esso)
18 49 non-album single


  • Slow Motion - "Phox (Sylvan Esso Remix)"[47]
  • Grouplove - "I'm With You (Sylvan Esso Remix)" (2014)
  • Die Young - Audion (2017)
  • Tune-Yards - "Heart Attack (SYLVAN_ESSO_REMIX_DOTFLAC)" (2018)


  1. ^ a b Monger, James Christopher. "Sylvan Esso - Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  2. ^ "Sylvan Esso". 2017-11-28. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  3. ^ a b Lawrence, Jordan (July 17, 2013). "Interview: Sylvan Esso talks debut single, bright future". Indy Week. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  4. ^ Simon, Scott (May 10, 2014). "The Music Of Oak And Forest Sprite Blend In Sylvan Esso". NPR. NPR. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  5. ^ "Sylvan Esso AMA". Reddit. March 11, 2015. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  6. ^ "Sylvan Esso - Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  7. ^ Kaye, Ben (July 10, 2014). "Watch: Sylvan Esso make TV debut on Fallon - Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  8. ^ "Sylvan Esso television debut on Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon! - Partisan Records". Partisan Records. July 10, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  9. ^ Carley, Brennan (December 18, 2014). "SPIN 2014 Exit Interviews: Sylvan Esso". Spin Media. Retrieved 2015-10-10.
  10. ^ "Sylvan Esso - H.S.K.T." Discogs. Retrieved 2015-10-10.
  11. ^ "Coachella 2015 Lineup". stereogum. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  12. ^ "Sylvan Esso & Jaime's Song". radiolab. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  13. ^ "Sylvan Esso release first single from upcoming second album with "Radio"". AXS. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  14. ^ "Sylvan Esso Returns With 'Radio'". Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  15. ^ "Sylvan Esso share cathartic new video for "Kick Jump Twist" — watch". Consequence of Sound. 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  16. ^ "Sylvan Esso Announces New Album 'What Now,' Releases New Single 'Die Young'". Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  17. ^ Thompson, Steven. "Watch Sylvan Esso Bring Bass And Twists To NPR Music's SXSW Showcase". NPR. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  18. ^ Dye, David. "Sylvan Esso On World Cafe". NPR. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Sylvan Esso: What Now Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2017-04-28.
  20. ^ Shelter, Carter. "Boston Calling's 2017 Lineup: Tool, Mumford & Sons, Chance the Rapper Headlining". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  21. ^ "60th GRAMMY Awards: Full Nominees List".
  22. ^ "Sylvan Esso: 'Radio' From The Echo Mountain Sessions". Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  23. ^ a b "Sylvan Esso playing collaborative shows w/ Hand Habits, Flock of Dimes & more". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  24. ^ "Watch Sylvan Esso's Concert Film & Documentary 'WITH'". Stereogum. 2020-04-23. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  25. ^ Yoo, Noah. "Sylvan Esso Announce New Album Free Love, Share New Song". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2020-07-21.
  26. ^ "Sylvan Esso is singing their way to the Grammys, and around the world".
  27. ^ "Sylvan Esso – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  28. ^ "Sylvan Esso – Chart History: Top Rock Albums". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  29. ^ "Sylvan Esso – Chart History: Billboard Canadian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  30. ^ "Sylvan Esso by Sylvan Esso on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  31. ^ "What Now by Sylvan Esso on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  32. ^ "Free Love by Sylvan Esso on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  33. ^ "WITH by Sylvan Esso on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  34. ^ "Echo Mountain Sessions - EP by Sylvan Esso on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  35. ^ a b "Sylvan Esso – Chart History: Triple A Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  36. ^ "Sylvan Esso – Chart History: Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  37. ^ "Sylvan Esso – Chart History: Hot Rock Songs". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  38. ^ "Sylvan Esso premieres new song "Jamie's Song" -- listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  39. ^ "Don't Dream It's Over / Everything Is Free by Flock of Dimes / Sylvan Esso on Amazon Music". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  40. ^ "There Are Many Ways To Say I Love You - Single by Sylvan Esso on Apple Music". Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  41. ^ "PARAD(w/m)E - Single by Sylvan Esso on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  42. ^ "Funeral Singers (feat. Collections of Colonies of Bees) - Single by Sylvan Esso on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  43. ^ "Sylvan Esso Announce New Album 'Free Love': Hear "Ferris Wheel" - Stereogum". Stereogum. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  44. ^ "Sylvan Esso "Frequency" - Stereogum". Stereogum. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  45. ^ "Sylvan Esso – Chart History: Rock Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  46. ^ "Dark Days (feat. Sylvan Esso) on Apple Music". Apple Music (US). Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  47. ^ "New Music Guide : The Neu Bulletin". DIY Magazine / DIY Presents. September 30, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2015.

External links[edit]