By Avery Wood
Esjay Jones, local musician; songwriter; and music producer, has achieved celebrity-like status in our community as well as in Los Angeles. Between her weekly performances at The Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, her numerous productions there, her work with local bands, and her constant travel, it seems like Esjay is always in demand.
This incredible work ethic and commitment to the desert’s community is longstanding. After finding success with Stealing Love Jones, the band she started in her hometown in South Africa, which put out two albums that each included three chart-topping singles, Esjay moved to the United States to further her success. After the move, she quickly began working with top producers and writing for well-known people, such as Krewella; Jeffree Star; and Sean Kingston.
These days, Esjay spends most of her time flitting to Los Angeles and back to work on her myriad projects with her production company and consulting agency, Esjay Jones Productions and SLS Event Group, which, according to her, work with “all aspects of the music and entertainment industry including film score, sync and licensing for film and TV, music supervision for international brands, songwriting, production, social media, artist management, artist development, bookings and soon to be managing an artist /yoga compound and recording studio in Sayulita, Mexico.”
Esjay made the transition from pop star to producer out of necessity. “I actually fell into the Producer/ Engineer role out of frustration of the work ethic of a lot of the producers I was working with,” she says. “I found that receiving a fully produced record would take too long and that I was unable to communicate verbally the sounds and production tricks that I was looking for in a record, so I spent thousands of hours watching over engineers’ shoulders and learning how to produce and engineer from the pro’s on YouTube – Thanks Dave Pensado and Steven Slate!”
The long hours she put in paid off and now she manages these companies and works with some big names in the business. In the past, she worked with Ariel Chobaz, Grammy-nominated mix engineer who has worked with Nicki Minaj; Justin Bieber; and Drake. She has also worked with Gina Schock, Drummer of The Go-go’s and songwriter for Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, and Trey Vittetoe, who also worked as a producer for Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus. Esjay continues to work on exciting projects with prominent producers and bands, saying, “I have just finished up the new Before the Funeral single “When You Feel Weak” with Bjorn Thorsrud of The Smashing Pumpkins fame. This record is beautiful and I can’t wait for its release on March 18th! The new Basson single “When Push Comes to Shove” will also be out soon and I am about to start working on a new single with metal band Murkocet. I am currently working on two commercials, one film score and various other projects which I unfortunately can’t talk about until the labels approve the records.”
Esjay is also clearly passionate about her current home base, Palm Springs. She puts on and participates in shows every week at The Hard Rock Hotel, including the Acoustic Sessions and the Global Lounge sessions series, and the metal band she’s working with, Murkocet, is a local band. With talented musicians constantly springing up in the Coachella Valley, it’s understandable why she’d be supportive. “I believe great musicians and producers are born everywhere. It’s not a certain place but rather your destiny… Palm Springs is a great place for musicians [and] producers because it allows you to step in and out of LA at any time,” she says.
Palm Springs also has much of the talent that is present in Los Angeles without the fast pace and heavy traffic, and Esjay appreciates the slower pace, saying, “Palm Springs is my weekend getaway from LA to rejuvenate and draw creativity. Los Angeles is a beautiful melting pot of talented people and connections in the entertainment industry, but sometimes distancing yourself enables you to get a better perspective on what the industry is looking for and what life is really about. For me, Palm Springs is a place to breathe before diving back into the weekly smog of LA.”