February 5, 2008
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Esthero joins will.i.am, Obama
By -- For JAM! Music


Esthero is the lone Canadian participant in Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am's song and video of 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama's "Yes We Can" speech.

Directed by Jesse Dylan, son of Bob, the video also includes such familiar faces as Scarlett Johansson, John Legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Common, Nicole Scherzinger, Herbie Hancock, Taryn Manning, Tatyana Ali and Ed Kowalczyk as they recite lines from Obama's New Hampshire primary speech over top of the Senator's original delivery, seen on split screen.

One posting of the video on YouTube has received more than 1.2 million views since it was uploaded Friday, Feb. 1.

In the video, esthero appears 1 minute and 10 seconds in, singing "Yes we can, oh, we can" and she returns at the very end, where she shows her "LOVE" ring.

Esthero, who lived in Los Angeles six months of every year for 10 years and finally moved there two years ago, is a legal resident but not a citizen. "I can't vote so this gave me the opportunity to have a vote, to show some solidarity, to show that I cared," esthero told Lowdown in an exclusive interview.

When asked if she would've said yes to being in the video if it had been for Hillary Clinton, Obama's running mate for the Democratic nomination, and she says, "I think I would have. I like Hillary as well. I think she would be a powerful and welcome change as well. Personally, I lean towards Obama for numerous reasons, but, at this point, I'm down with both of them. My dream ticket would be Obama-Clinton.

"It's not so much that I'm like, 'Vote Obama,'" she clarifies. "It's more about the idea of backing a community of people getting together to demand change, and believe it can happen. I've never actually been more interested or cared as much about the state of politics in the U.S. as I do now. Basically, it's the fact that I live here and I still deal with the repercussions of the government."

Esthero has known Black Eyed Peas for years, pre Fergie. She sang on "Weekends" from the group's second album, 2000's "Bridging The Gap" and appears in the music video for the single.

She was asked by Hollywood promoter and bar owner Pantera Sarah to come down to The Record Plant studio to sing on "Yes We Can."

"She said, 'What are you doing between now and midnight and what are you doing tomorrow between 2 and 10?' and I was like 'Why?' and she said, 'We're doing this song. William set music to Barak's New Hampshire victory speech.' That speech in itself is pretty f**in' fantastic. I remember watching it and it was so surreal as it was happened," esthero told Lowdown.

"In the studio, I was so grateful the whole time to be part of it, for numerous reasons. I got to meet Herbie Hancock which was really cool, but that was really an extra cherry on what was really going on.

"Just being here [America], you are really aware that something is happening, something really really important is happening -- and it always matters but it really really matters this time -- and the climate in the studio and the vibe, I just knew I was participating in something really really important, and I was really grateful for the opportunity to have a voice in some way because I can't use my voice to vote."

Esthero, who is happily out of her recording contract and working on new songs, has recently been writing with fellow Canadians Greg Wells (Mika, Pink, Timbaland) and Lukas Rossi, as well as Tommy Lee. She says she realized just how "spoiled" we are in Canada when it comes to things like universal healthcare when two months ago, she had severe abdominal pain but refrained from going to the hospital because she couldn't afford it.

Like many others, she believes it is time for some major changes in America.

"My favorite part of the speech is when he says, 'We have been warned about giving the people of this nation false hope but in the unlikely story that is America, there is never been anything false about hope,' and every time I hear that, I just want to bawl. It's so beautiful. It's so powerful.

"As I was in the studio, it was so overwhelming," she recounts. "There was so much going on. You're just there to do your job and do it well. It wasn't until it was done and I got to watch it on You Tube that I really was able take in everything, take in the speech, the words and the poetry of those words, and how fantastic they are."


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