Marshall Music is proud to announce that Jesse Clegg is now a Taylor Guitars endorsee. He is using a Taylor 914CE exclusively.
In the space of two short years, Jesse Clegg has streaked into the top of the radio charts and into the hearts of music fans throughout South Africa.
The vehicle for this has been the 22-year-old’s debut album, ‘When I Wake Up’ which was released in 2008 and has, so far, produced an enviable five radio singles. It’s also sold gold (20 000) and is heading for platinum status – a not inconsiderable feat for an out-and-out pop-rock album in a market where these genres have to fight for media attention and airtime space.
The success of ‘When I Wake Up’ is also no small achievement for a singer and songwriter who only revealed his work to close friends and family when the album was virtually done. “I was very tentative in those early days,” the Johannesburg born-and-raised artist now reveals.
Listening to Jesse’s debut, however, there is no trace of that initial hesitation when the Wits University law student first pushed his creative work out into the public. The first single - the elegant ballad “Today” - rapidly established Jesse as a fan’s favourite: on its release to radio mid-August 2008 it debuted at number one on Joburg radio station, Highveld’s "Homebrew" Chart, a considerable feat for a debut artist with a debut single and an historical first for this popular, public-voted chart.
From there on in, Jesse’s initial strong showing on radio proved no fluke and three more chart-topping singles - “Girl Lost In The City”; “Heartbreak Street” and “End of the Rainbow” - followed. Between them, these self-penned songs more than showcased Jesse’s ability to move with ease between more rock-orientated material to pop, as well as his innate feel for a memorable hook. ‘When I Wake Up’ was supported an increasing number of live shows – including sell-out shows at the Joburg Theatre in both 2009 and 2010, and a slot at the 2009 Mandela Day concert in New York City, featuring Steve Wonder, Alicia Keys, Baaba Maal and many others.
Against this background, it was no surprise when Jesse earned two prestigious South African Music Award nominations in 2009 – for Record Of The Year and Music Video Of The Year, both for his supercharged debut single, “Today”. This was followed by another Record of the Year nomination in 2010 – this time for “Heartbreak Street”.
It took a while for the initially reclusive music talent but, late 2010, Jesse has accepted that music is the only career he craves and he’s looking ahead to the coming years as a time to cement his signature sound. In pursuit of this, Jesse took time out in 2010 to record songs for his second album in Canada with Grammy Award-winning producer, David Bottrill (Muse, Tool, Staind, Silverchair, Placebo). Those who have heard the sessions (due to be completed when Jesse returns to Canada early in 2011) are taken aback by the explosion of creativity that Jesse is now immersed in.
The new material is everything you would expect from someone whose debut made a mark right out of the gate – confident, and increasingly sure-footed. Still, for fans of this genuine talent, there are plenty of surprises awaiting when Jesse Clegg again steps into the public spotlight with his second solo offering sometime in 2011.