It might have taken him several years to overcome his fear of failing at his biggest passion in life before finally pursuing his dream, but newcomer to the music scene, Jesse Grey (35), certainly has all the right ingredients to become one of SA’s top artists as he releases his debut single, Lose Myself, with some impressive big industry names attached to his debut project.
Despite Jesse being a songwriter in his own right, as showcased by two songs he penned himself on his recently released album, Something New, Jesse states that he specifically included Lose Myself as one of several tracks on the album written specifically for him by hit songwriter Marc McCree, frontman of popular Cape Town band MCCREE, as “Lose Myself specifically relates to the overriding theme of the album”. On top of this, as if not impressive enough already, Jesse can also boast about the fact that his debut album was produced by none other than Theo Crous, one of the members of the legendary Springbok Nude Girls, which the fresh new talent describes as “one of the best experiences of my life when we worked together on the album”.
Jesse, who had always resisted recording an album based on his fears, only recently had the courage to do so, despite the encouragement and overwhelming support from others who recognised his potential for several years. And as he says, that is what Lose Myself is all about – facing your worst fears in order to chase the big dream that you have. “So forget about the naysayers and that ever-present inner voice telling you that ‘you’re not good enough’. The song is about proving it to myself that I can do this – to get lost in the moment of moving outside of my comfort zone and running towards the fire, while giving it everything I’ve got – even if I need to get a little crazy during the process,” he explains further.
So what is the overriding theme one can expect to hear on the album, Something New?
Furthermore, with Lose Myself complementing the album perfectly, Jesse adds: “The main message of Lose Myself explains it so clearly – never give up on the things that make you happy, even at the prospect of being disappointed by the end result. Our passions in life should never just float passed us and be left unattended, despite the lack of confidence in what the outcome might be. In your heart you always know whether it’s the right thing to do. Marianne Williamson said it so perfectly with her wise statement, ‘And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’ It’s probably the perfect summary of the message.”
According to Jesse, another key message of Something New, is about letting go of the past and embracing new beginnings, while also refusing to ever give up. “It’s not about forgetting the bad things that happened to you, but rather acknowledging the hurts, while at the same time moving forward and not letting the pain or the past determine your identity, nor dictate your destiny,” he reveals.
The lyric video of Lose Myself, designed by Echo Media, is also now available and can be enjoyed by clicking on: xxx.
So how on earth did Jessie Grey manage to get Theo Crous on board as producer
Before Jesse recorded the album with Theo Crous (Springbok Nude Girls), the two did not know each other personally. It was after singing at his mother’s wedding last year, where Jesse impressed one and all, that his stepdad took it upon himself to contact Theo via Facebook to ask him whether he would be interested in recording with Jesse. “Two weeks later Theo got back to him and my stepdad called me to say that he had set up an audition for me with a ‘big name producer’. Worst of all at the time, it was to take place that very same day! Although I went into panic mode immediately, I thankfully did audition. Theo liked my voice and a couple of months later we started recording. I’m still pinching myself about it,” recalls Jesse enthusiastically.
Describing his genre as Pop/Rock, Jesse states that his music should appeal to those who enjoy the music of bands like Coldplay, The Frey or those of similar guitar/piano driven artists. He adds that his songs are also for anybody who enjoys music that tells a story and has some meaning behind it. “This album tells my story, but there are thousands around the world who have the same or even worse story to tell. I believe many will relate to what I sing about, and that it’s not restricted to any particular age group.”
Jesse’s painful past explored on the album
The story of hardship and pain that Jesse references through some of the songs on the release includes growing up with a father who was an alcoholic, as well as the two of them having a very difficult relationship. “He also used other drugs and was very absent – something I now realise that at the time he battled the bottle and other substances that caused his entire world to collapse. But I loved him very much, although I didn’t understand then why he was that way, and despite him never saying it to me in so many words, I know that he loved me as well. Alcohol finally claimed his life when he was only 48. Before that, my parents divorced when I was only 3 years old and my mom struggled to keep things afloat afterwards, especially financially. However, the biggest obstacle I had to overcome was being physically abused by one of my mom’s boyfriends. I can still remember the flat…the room…and what he did. My mom never knew. He was violent towards her as well. I only told my mom about what happened after I turned 18. She blamed herself of course, but I didn’t. Overcoming this has been a lifelong battle for me and I’m still healing as life goes on. I am where I am today thanks to my mom who never gave up on me and would keep pushing me, always believing in me, even when I never did,” Jesse reveals.
Currently living in Durbanville (Cape Town) and working as an attorney until the time arrives when he becomes a global star, Jesse is also married to his wife who he refers to as “the only woman I know that is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside”. Together they have a son, Joshua (4), with another son on his way, who the happily married couple have already named Caleb.
Jesse concludes: “I want to share my story with as many people as possible. I want them to know that it’s never too late, and to never give up. Go for that coffee. Buy those flowers. Go to that interview. Ask her out. Forgive. Give second chances. I believe I have a story to tell that everybody needs to hear at some point in their lives. In the mean time, I too am dreaming really big of one day performing regularly on some really big stages around the world. I’m proud that I took that first step towards facing my fear…finally!”
Lose Myself, as well as Jesse Grey’s debut album Something New, is available on all popular digital platforms.