Jesse Kinch may not be a name you are immediately aware of, but having been hailed a fucking rock God by the iconic Kesha, his is a name you will soon seen everywhere. Having soared to victory on Rising Star in the States, the vintage rock driven performer boasts a vocal that will shake you to your very core. With his debut album I’m Not Like Everybody Else set for UK release, headed up by the goosebump filled rendition of Billie Jean, we caught up with the exciting talent to find out more.
Hi Jesse, for those not in the know – give use a quick intro…
Music has always been an essential part of my life. I picked up a guitar at age 6 and began to embrace classic rock, R&B and classical crossover. At age 11, I found my voice and began to sing. At that young age, I was fronting my own band and performing on the New York City, Long Island club circuit. Throughout my teens, I continued to perform and master my craft, fronting a band with seasoned players. Two of my band members had toured the world. At age 20 I was invited to audition for a music show on ABC television called Rising Star and ended up winning the whole competition. After that, I was signed to Capitol Records but parted ways due to creative and artistic differences. At 24, I have just recently released my debut album on Curb records, and I am beyond excited to have it also released in the U.K.
Your profile was raised by winning Rising Star. What drew you to the competition?
I was very attracted to the dynamic concept of the audience voting through an app and also the contestants having to reach a certain percentage of votes to raise the “ wall.” The drama of the contestants having to perform and stand behind the wall to start… and only their performance determined the outcome to receive enough votes to raise the wall… hence, (Rising Star). Once the wall was raised the performer could see the audience and advancement to the next round was guaranteed. I also thought the choice of judges and host were a cool mix. Josh Groban was the host, Kesha, Ludacris, and Brad Paisley were judges/mentors. Most importantly after my initial auditions in Boston and Los Angeles I was told by the producers of the show that I would be free to be me!
What was the biggest lesson it taught you?
I was taught the realities of the industry after winning. It was a learning experience for sure. I was front and center to the inner workings of the music business…both the good and the bad.
How has it altered your ambitions?
My ambitions have always been constant. They’ve never changed since I was a child.
What was the best advice you received from one of the mentors?
Probably from Kesha…She had relayed to me some of the mistakes she made in her journey and told me to always stay true no matter what!
You released your debut album, I’m Not Like Everybody Else, in the States earlier this year. Tell us a little more about it…
The album consists of 9 originals and 4 covers. It’s a great representation of who I am as an artist and showcases my many sides and layers. There are love songs, socially conscious songs, introspective songs, but there are also some great covers that give the listener a taste of my musical roots.
It contains a collection of covers and originals – how did you strike the balance?
I would’ve preferred maybe 12 originals and one cover but my label was so in love with a few of my covers that they asked me to include them on the first record!
You are releasing Billie Jean as a single – how did you select it?
I originally performed it on the semi-finals of Rising Star in the style of Chris Cornell. I greatly admired his idea to slow the song down to the point where the listener could appreciate the captivating lyrical story. With that being said, I took that idea and created my own arrangement with a haunting string part, my own vocal nuances and chord changes!
What is the secret to making an already known song your own?
It’s all about the different layers of emotional depth and the musical arrangement and mood I create. Most importantly, I put Jesse Kinch into it.
Which song were you most nervous about people hearing?
There is never any anxiety about a specific song because I only perform songs that I believe in and feel. I never could or would treat any song as a filler in an album mix. I take each song I do very seriously and always put 100% of my creativity and soul into it.
Lastly, if you could collaborate with one artist on your next record, who would it be?
I would love to get Duffy out of retirement! Her album “Rockferry” has always been a favorite of mine. In fact, I have covered a few of her songs.