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Essra Mohawk

 

Essra Mohawk made her debut on Liberty Records in 1964, writing and recording a 45 as Jamie Carter. While still a teen, both the Shangri-Las and Vanilla Fudge recorded her songs. In 1967, Frank Zappa recruited talented youth to join his band, the Mothers of Invention. She opened to Grateful Dead, Procol Harum, Cream, and more during that time. She was the first artist Zappa signed to Bizarre. Her first album was released by Zappa unfinished (Verve '69) under her birth name Sandy Hurvitz, but her name had already been changed to Essra by her friend and roommate. A year later, at the age of 21, after narrowly missing her scheduled slot at Woodstock due to her manager getting her there late, her true debut — as Essra Mohawk — arrived: Primordial Lovers was a thundering statement that received a 5 Star review in Downbeat. The album sold reasonably well, and ten more solo records have followed and stints as a prominent singer in the Schoolhouse Rock TV series, a backing vocalist for the Jerry Garcia Band, a collaborator with folks like Bob Weir, Al Jarreau and Keb' Mo'. In 1985 she self-released her now-classic E-Turn, a synth-pop record highlighted by the cosmic ballad "Silver Ships," written with Ronnie James, while they were tripping on acid. Richie Havens wanted to cut the song. Essra offered him another song instead but he loved "Silver Ships". In 1986, Cyndi Lauper scored a hit with Essra's composition "Change of Heart." which went to #3 on Feb.’87 Billboard Pop Charts. Since then her songs have been recorded by Tina Turner, Lorrie Morgan, Peabo Bryson, Lisa Fischer and others. Throughout a long career at the edge of fame, Essra has written over 800 songs, created her label, and in 2011, toured Europe. She continues to write and record with no end in sight. Her last CD was released in 2019. Her next is always a work in progress along with a CD of her favourite demos to be released later this year. Essra truly is an E-Turn living her truth. Saying simply, “E-Turnal Truth, E-Turnal Youth”. She shares much more in her book, another work in progress that we’re all looking forward to reading.