Origin: Maple Ridge / Surrey, BC
Genres: R&B, Pop
Studio Albums and Hit Singles
2008: Elise Estrada
• Juno Nomination for R&B / Soul Album of the Year
• Singles: “Unlove You” (#11), “Insatiable”, “Ix Nay”, “These Three Words”, “Crash & Burn”, “Poison”, “One Last Time”
2010: Here Kitty Kittee
• Singles: “You’re So Hollywood”, “Lipstick”
• Singles: “U Don’t Need 2 Know”, “Wonder Woman”, “Piece of Me”
“Being an Asian singer in North America hasn’t always been easy. There is nothing more rewarding than being a role model for my culture and showing aspiring artists that if you want something bad enough, you can achieve it, regardless of the odds stacked against you” —Elise Estrada
April 5, 2008 was an inspirational milestone in Canadian music history: it was the first time a Canadian of east-Asian descent scored a Top 40 radio hit. The feat was accomplished by a young woman from Maple Ridge, BC named Elise Estrada.
Elise was born in the Philippines but when she was four, her family immigrated to Canada. She grew up in the Vancouver area where she participated in a number of singing competitions as well as beauty pageants. When she was 17 she was crowned Miss Vancouver Princess. After travelling to Los Angeles, U.S., she landed a role in a Disney Television pilot based on her life as a singer.
Vancouver radio station The Beat 94.5 FM offered a singing competition which she won. Graced with a beautiful voice, she was offered a record contract with RockSTAR / Universal and released the single “Insatiable”. It received radio airplay on The Beat.
Her second single, “Unlove You” was released and was brought into regular radio rotation. It entered the Canadian Hot 100 on December 22, 2007 gradually rising into the Top 50. When it was made available on iTunes, it shot up to #11 on the charts where it peaked on April 5, 2008. It made the Top 100 year-eand chart. This is remarkable given that no music video was shot to promote the song.
Estrada performed at the Canada Day Festival in Surrey, BC and released a full-length (self-titled) album in September. The album was produced by Adam H (Loverboy, Ne-Yo, George Clinton) and Sean Hosein & Dane DeViller (Hedley, Jessica Simpson). Grammy winner Orlando Calzada (Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez) took care of the mixing. It was nominated for a Juno award—R&B album of the year in 2009. She won the Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Artist in the R&B/Dance category. Several other singles were released from the album. “Crash and Burn” was nominated for two MuchMusic video awards (see below).
Estrada hosted a dating competition MuchMusic television series called Love Court which featured her “First Degree” as the theme song. In 2010, she released her second album, Here Kitty Kittee which spawned two singles. The music video for “Lipstick” was filmed in London, England.
In 2012, Elise released single “Piece of Me” as well as a charity single about the suicide of Vancouver bullied teen Amanda Todd. In 2013 she released a charity single “All It Takes Is a Moment” with proceeds going to victims of typhoon Haiyan which devastated part of The Philippines. Her third album, #Round3 appeared in 2014.
Elise’s younger sister Emmalyn is part of internationally charting group G.R.L.
Elise Estrada hasn’t racked up gold and platinum certifications as of yet, but she has set the stage for all future Canadian recording artists whose roots lie in east Asia. And in so doing, she is a true heroine and will be remembered in the generations to come as a Canadian legend.
Elise Estrada’s Official Website