Essie was born in 1992 as Sarah Ellen Riddle in Hurricane, WV. She grew up to study music and special education at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. (Go Herd!) Most recently Essie earned her Master’s in Opera Performance at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ.
Essie was a nickname that found her once she started singing in the band “Essie & the Big Chill.” She soon came to love the variety of genres she was able to explore with this group. She developed her ability to sing funk, rock, jazz, reggae, and even rap all while studying opera full-time. Essie & the Big Chill have been fortunate enough to headline several large events including Triumph Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest and Halloween Celebrations. This year the Big Chill will be playing Princeton’s Communiversity, New Jersey’s largest and longest running cultural art festival!
Essie has been described as having “powerful vocals” paired with “high energy” performances. Most recently Dean Ween said “Essie has got a great voice […] and the Invitational finds another great singer for the house band….” Other’s have commented on her ability to sing such a variety of music from Poulenc to Zeppelin. On Saturday nights she can be found wailing with The Big Chill. The next morning she can be found singing sacred solo works for various churches.
When she is not performing Essie is writing her own music. She hopes to release her first EPs within coming year with the overall goal of completing her first solo album. It will be a mix of styles across genres to express and explore her vocal capabilities.
Terez is a self-taught, multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter and producer from New Hope, PA, who uses music for good. Growing up playing violin and singing in church and school choirs, Terez developed a keen understanding of quality vocal performance and harmonies. Her desire to combine her love of writing with her love of music and performing led her to learn the guitar, which opened a world of expression and performance possibilities.
While studying sociology at Lehigh University, Terez joined the Music Box, a local collective of student musicians working together to bring a music scene back to campus. She performed her first live set at an acoustic unplugged show in 2011 and went on to win Battle of the Bands in 2012, performing her original song as front woman of the local band 3 If By Air. She also had the opportunity to link up with some artists and perform live acoustic sets in the local underground music scene in Germany. These initial experiences performing original material and traveling inspired many new ideas and sparked her desire to make music a bigger part of her life.
Terez relocated to New Hope, PA, where she began booking solo performances, briefly joining a local rock act, The Zeke Sky Band. In 2017, she parted ways with the band to focus more energy on finding her own sound. She linked up with local producer Spencer Blevins and experimented in more electronic compositions, culminating in an ongoing concept project known as The Odds.
Last summer, Terez hit the road and headed cross country to write and perform, spending time in Central Washington with her friends at Ducktown Records, recording folk covers and bare acoustic original tunes. She has been a featured artist at Godfrey Daniel’s listening room, John & Peter’s, and has performed at various secret house and barn shows throughout the country. More recently she has continued performing the local New Hope music circuit solo, while working with her new lady duo project, the Rod Hounds. She has collaborated with many artists in various styles including rock, traditional folk, jazz, and trip hop.
Terez’s songs explore the impermanent yet real emotions, spaces, and interactions that make up the human experience. She often sings of real and hard truths in a sweet and patient way, creating a space for her listeners to reflect and process the universal story into something personal. She is currently working on her debut solo EP.