What is emotional freedom? McKenna Esteb sees it as the ability to identify difficult emotions and learn from them – liberating yourself from negative feelings rather than attaching to them. Rather than predict the genre of music she will create during her residency at Surel’s Place, McKenna is challenging herself to write a set of songs by letting the music flow nautually and see what inspires her. She will share this new music with voice and piano during this performance followed by a Q & A.
At the age of 21, McKenna Esteb was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). “I recognized recurring patterns in my life that I felt I had no control over. I disliked myself deeply. This affected my self worth, relationships, and my ability to create.” Once diagnosed, she started to connect to her music on a much deeper level and started to create more freely and frequently. This evening of new music is a continuation of that journey and the discovery of where emotional freedom and creative freedom intersect.
While not unheard of to have a local artist in residence at Surel's Place, it doesn't happen very often. We are excited to be the creative home for local musician McKenna Esteb this month. McKenna grew up in Snoqualmie Wash. — where her love for music began — performing in talent shows, at coffee shops and restaurants around the greater Seattle area. Throughout her career, she has called both Austin, Texas, and Boise, ID home. Since releasing her first single in 2019, her career has taken many different forms. Pivoting from 2-3 hour cover shows at coffee shops, she began performing her own musical project at Treefort, Flipside (where she will be performing again this month), Boise Pride, and opening for touring bands like The Suffers. Her vocal style is heavily influenced by the likes of Norah Jones, Etta James, and Amy Winehouse. The roots of her music have soul and funk influences mixed into a nice cocktail of pop/modern rock. Her music is vulnerable, direct, and influenced by her life experiences. In most recent projects, she wrote about Row v. Wade being overturned and donated all profits received from streams to Northwest Abortion Access Fund. With songs ranging from power ballads to rocking out, she is guaranteed to keep her music relatable and raw.
Our selection panelists universally recommended McKenna for the residency, even over out-of-town applicants. Eric Alexander, one of these panelists, wrote that, "I feel McKenna is poised to do great things, I hope a residency would allow her to move to the next phase of her creativity." And that's what she hopes to do.