powerful vocals, electric persona, killer originals

Essie (Sarah Riddle) is a WV native who started her music career by attending Marshall University in Huntington, WV. There she double majored in music and special education.  Upon completing her final year at Marshall she was cast in the Marshall Music Department’s Production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute as “The Queen of the Night” this monumental role was the catalyst that motivated Sarah to continue her vocal training by pursuing a Master’s Degree in opera. Upon her acceptance to Westminster Choir College, Sarah moved to NJ to pursue her graduate studies. While there she began singing and song-writing with a local band in her spare time. The band soon established themselves as Essie & the Big Chill and were quickly a local favorite in large part to Essie’s high energy vocal stylings.  After a year with the Big Chill, Essie's passion turned to writing her own original music. She began performing under the name Essie Riddle with her own band across the genres of rock, blues, funk, soul, and gospel.


Essie’s vocal power is what makes her an immediate standout in any performance. This combined with her coloratura opera range and training make for an exemplary display of vocal capabilities. An Essie performance is not without a dramatic flair. Audiences are captivating by Essie’s ability to not only vocal capture the emotion in a piece but by her overall presence and delivery. Her initial singles display her diversity as a vocalist and her playfulness as an actress. Essie is a vocalist with a story to tell. 


She has been fortunate to have several high profile performance opportunities both in the classical and popular genres. Most recently she was honored to be a part of sold out performances with Remember Jones as part of his “YAS QUEEN” tribute shows at the Count Basie Theater (Red Bank, NJ), Hard Rock Casino (Atlantic City, NJ), and The Warehouse (Fairfield, CT). She has also been a recurring performing for Remember Jones “808s and HeartbreaK” Kanye West Tribute performances with sold out performances at Brooklyn Bowl (Brooklyn, NY), and House of Independents (Asbury, NJ). In August this past year, Essie was fortunate to have legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Michael Hampton “Kidd Funkadelic” of George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic perform on with her production of her Essie & Friends Funk Show. She regularly sings in the Invitational house band at John & Peter's fronted by Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween). Other notable performances include venues such as Ardmore Hall, and Underground Arts with renowned acts such as Junior Marvin (The Wailers), Justin Guarini (American Idol), and Constatine Maroulis (American Idol).  


Classically Essie has been fortunate to share the stage at Carnegie Hall with the Berlin Philharmonic for Beethoven's 9th Symphony under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. She also performed under Yannick Nézet-Séguin with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center for multiple works, as well as several performances with the New Jersey State Orchestra.


Over the years she has been recognized for several awards including the Hobson Award for Vocal Excellence and first place in both the Eloise-Campbell Long Competition and WV Nats competitions.


The name "Essie" was derived out of necessity. Sarah Riddle was used for opera and Essie was used for rock.