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Mega Entertainer Keeps It Extra

By Billy Montgomery

When people call the multitalented entertainer Esther Ayana extra, she is ok with that. As a recording artist and DJ, the Colombian-born performer said she must be.

“While there are more opportunities there are still a lot of elements that play against female artists,” Esther said. “Often, as female entertainers, we must validate ourselves in front of males making decisions for us. Sometimes they can’t see beyond the looks, so I go that extra mile, practice longer, work harder.”


Doing things beyond the mark has always been a part of the multi-talented performer’s life. From her native Colombian roots, music is the foundation for her life.

“From the time I was a little girl, I made music with my dad and brothers. It's what brings us together,” Esther said.

The group played regularly in church and other venues. With her brothers tickling the keys on the piano and her dad holding it down on guitar, Esther was the perfect complement with the violin as her tool of the trade.

“I watched a movie where a little girl was playing the violin. She was an orphan, and when I heard the violin that sound activated something inside of me, and I fell in love with the instrument," Esther said.


With a tight family undergirded by a strict disciplinarian for a mom, Esther was launched into music where she spent her early years attending school and performing before live audiences in the conservatory and church.

“I literally had no life. It was very by the book and very scheduled. Subconsciously, that’s still my mindset. I am still trying to find the balance,” Esther said.


Adding she enjoys everything she does, Esther said, “I put my heart into it and am very grateful for where I am.”


Her journey from Colombia developed from political unrest causing her family had to abruptly relocate to seek political asylum. With Downey, CA as her new home, Esther started her new life. Faced with barriers of not being able to speak English and bullying from her peers, Esther found music to be her respite.

“All that I brought to this country was a violin and one (piece of) luggage,” Esther said. “My parents figured out a way to get me involved in an orchestra in Pasadena, CA, and helped to continue my violin instruction.”

By the time she was a senior in high school, Esther flourished to become part of the Young Music Foundation, which became her first job. Eventually, her performances led to more professional opportunities, such as performing with Kanye West and Rihanna at the NBA 2011 All-Star Game.

“That’s when I realized where I wanted to take this career, all the way to the top,” Esther said.

Since that time, she has performed domestically and internationally and added other elements to her performances as a DJ and a singer.

“This is an industry where you must remain relevant. The more knowledge you have equals more value. That is why I started taking classes for music production and DJing,” Esther said.

 

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Her talents have allowed her to perform with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Maluma, the NFL, and Cadillac among others.

“I love working with different artists and brands. I feel it's a blessing from God. They give me so much freedom in creativity,” Esther said.

Esther said she has been singing since she could talk, but it wasn’t until recently that she started adding it to her performances. The reason why she didn’t sing? Fear.

“In talking with my dad, he said ‘If you're afraid then you must go for it.’” From there she went full tilt with vocal coaching and started adding her voice to her performances, releasing her first singing single in 2019.

Amid her successful burgeoning career, Esther said her celebrity has come with challenges.

“There could be a lot of misconceptions, you know? You don’t know if people are getting close to you just because they want something from you,” Esther said. “I'm very cautious of who I am surrounding myself with. Not everybody wants the best for you.”

Overall, Esther said she enjoys the overwhelming encouragement from her fans but doesn’t take for granted that everyone supports her.

“There's always gonna’ be one or two people that are not going to like me and it's OK. I can’t always take it personally because you never know what people are going through,” Esther said. “Maybe I remind them of someone they don’t like. That’s not my fault. As long as the right people like me, that is all that matters.”

It is this similar message offered in the platform for her ASAF youth organization, a non-profit designed to bridge the gap between underprivileged youth and access to music education.

“We give free instruments and music lessons to less privileged communities,” Esther said. “They don't have the money for the equipment, so being able to bring that to less privileged communities is something everybody deserves.”

Esther is very active on social media as you will see by visiting her website and following her on Instagram.



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