Pop songwriter Ester Dean’s Brentwood home is vibrating with heavy synths as the singer-songwriter lays down the vocals on one of the handful of demos she is completing that day.
The first thing she does when she emerges from behind the sound booth is comment on this writer’s tardiness to a scheduled interview and listening session.
“You’re late,” she said, adding an expletive, before erupting into fits of laughter.
Dean’s unabashed demeanor is infectious -– especially as she apologizes for the amount of curse words she said she's sure will hit the cutting room floor. Her engineers and co-producer barely keep a straight face as they work as she cracks jokes and throw out vulgarities in between takes.
As clichéd as it sounds, it’s tough to imagine the amount of work the hugely in-demand, Grammy-nominated 24-year-old is able to get accomplished with her playfulness often keeping her doubled over in laughter. She's written songs for Britney Spears, Chris Brown and a host of others, and is prepping a solo record.
“Three years ago I was dead broke,” she said in a rare moment of seriousness.
A wall in her studio is covered with collages of the goals she still hopes to achieve. Pictures of castles, cars and money are pasted together and surrounded by self-affirmations. She dreams big, but is the first to tell anyone who will listen that her success came only after she altered her outlook on herself.
“My mind set changed. I started thinking I deserved more,” she said of her positive outlook, which she attributed to the popular self-help DVD “The Secret.” “Things started happening for me. And quick.”
And in those three years she went from “dead broke” to one of urban pop’s most sought-after scribes.