Best of 2021: Esther Rose Has Been on a Techno Journey This Year

The country singer-songwriter talks dancing alone to Robag Wruhme and more.

It’s been a really different listening year for me, and I think a lot of that has to do with my move to New Mexico. It started with the Field Supervisor techno remix of one of my songs, “Songs Remain.” Since then I’ve been on a techno journey, big time. Fun fact, I am in a relationship with said techno producer. 

My favorite artist right now is Robag Wruhme. He is from Germany and has released a lot of new music this year. When I want to listen to great songwriting, I’ll either listen to Megan Thee Stallion or Meg Duffy (Hand Habits). Other than the Megs, I mostly listen to non-lyrical electronic music.

It’s funny, because I am from Detroit, so techno should have been a thing that I did. But I guess whatever phase I was in when I was going to clubs and hanging out, it was just more punky rock & roll. Screamo was huge when I was coming up in Michigan. It feels like a totally new experience. And I think it has to do with community — the way that people get together in New Mexico, the way that I’ve experienced, is listening to techno music and dancing. It’s similar to how in New Orleans, people get together and partner dance. Whatever the community is doing, that’s where the music is. 

There’s this tweet that feels very accurate — it’s basically, “that’s my playlist he’s sending you, bitch you’re in love with me.” My 2021 has been leaving New Orleans, falling in love with techno and this amazing person. It would have never happened in New Orleans for me. Even though there’s probably an awesome techno-rave scene — I just wasn’t gonna find it. I’m like a little sponge, and I love getting to know people through the music that they love. It’s an expression of who they are.

As told to Annie Fell.

Inspired by the honest writing and timeless melodies of American greats such as Hank Williams Sr. and Joni Mitchell, Esther Rose’s songwriting has been called “The happiest saddest music.” Her 2017 debut, This Time Last Night, caught fire as her listeners tuned-in to a storied chronology of this soulful, heart-worn artist.

Influenced heavily by the collective pulse of her New Orleans musical community, Esther’s distinct sound began early in her Michigan upbringing. Reared on gospel records and folk songs on the family farm, she learned to sing the high end of three-part harmonies with her sisters. Rose moved to New Orleans in 2010 and became an active player in the traditional jazz and blues scene as a singer and percussionist, gigging regularly on Frenchmen Street and touring both at home and abroad.