Biography

Eska Mtungwazi (born 1971), known professionally as ESKA, is a London-born British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Following her inaugural release as a solo artist with her 2013 Gatekeeper EP, her eponymous debut album, ESKA, was released on 27 April 2015.

After gaining a BSc in Mathematics from the London School of Economics, Mtungwazi became a teacher of Maths and Music. During this time she spent many years as a backing singer on other musicians' projects, and steadily built a reputation in the UK for her featured work with an eclectic range of established British artists and bands, including Grace Jones and Bobby McFerrin.

Following vocal credits on many independent releases throughout the 2000s, in 2013 she released her debut solo project titled Gatekeeper EP on her own Earthling Recordings label, which featured five original tracks and was co-produced by acclaimed producers Matthew Herbert and David Okumu. The EP attracted worldwide critical acclaim, including BBC Radio 6 tastemaker Gilles Peterson, who called her "one of the most important singers in the UK right now", and Jamie Cullum, who declared the EP's title song to be "an unbelievable track that will be hard to beat in 2013". The title track from the EP was also selected by Peterson for his Brownswood Bubblers 10 compilation, which was released on Brownswood Recordings.

Mtungwazi released her eponymous debut album ESKA on 26 April 2015. ESKA was well received by critics, and was nominated for the 2015 Mercury Music Prize.

On 18 August 2016 it was announced via Billboard that ESKA would be one of 18 emerging artists to receive #Momentum funding from the PRS Foundation Speaking on her selection, PRSF said "ESKA’s restless inventiveness will continue to be explored further on her sophomore album and in her live performances which have become legendary showcases for this inimitable artist.

Richard Kaby

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Eska Mtungwazi (ESKA)