HOLR had the pleasure of chatting with Toronto musician Jesse Gold, who spoke about his creative process, releasing his first EP “We’ll Be Fine”, and the release of his latest single “L”. Jesse, a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has collaborated with the likes of Craig David, Babyface, and more describes his sound as a blend of fresh pop and modern R&B. Read the full interview below.

Photographer: Mica Daniels @muamoo

You started sharing your music at quite a young age on YouTube. How has your music and experience with music changed since then?

I was really young when I was putting music up on YouTube, and I was mostly emulating whoever I was listening to at the time. So a lot of those early YouTube originals sounded like a bad John Mayer impression (I guess haters could argue that that’s still true). But I like to think that since then, I’ve found my own sound.

Was it easy for you to move away from doing covers to creating original music?

I’ve always done both simultaneously. So there wasn’t much of a transition. But I do think the covers helped me develop a musical style that is present in all of the music I make today. Working with someone else’s song is a great way to learn what you want to do differently.

Do you take a different approach when you are covering someone else’s songs vs. working on your own material?

Same approach! When I cover a song I try to make it my own. Do it in my style. I try and Jess-ify it. And I think that’s what makes people dig the covers I do.

Are there any artists in particular that inspired your passion for music? When you were younger and present-day?

I’d say that James Taylor inspired me to really dive into the guitar. And the legend Craig David was my introduction into the kind of singing I wanted to do. Present-day I’m listening to a lot of Lucky Daye, Brent Faiyaz, Burna Boy, Daniel Caesar.

How would you describe yourself as an artist or your style of music to someone who is a new listener?

I’d say I’m an r&b singer with an acoustic guitar making modern bops that you, your friends, and your mom can all enjoy.

Photographer: Mica Daniels @muamoo

Do you have any rituals or techniques for getting into a creative headspace?

So far the creative ritual has consisted of me getting broken up with. It’s not a ritual I’m particularly fond of, but it’s definitely had a positive impact on my writing. Other rituals can include but are not limited to new music that inspires me, drinking too much coffee or looking out the window when it rains and pretending to be in a 90s r&b music video.

You released your first EP ‘We’ll Be Fine’ last year, what was that experience like?

It was great. I’m proud of it and think it’s a nice introduction to my career. I learned so much from the whole experience – from the writing and recording process to the release and marketing strategy. I’m grateful to be able to get to use all of that knowledge going forward. To sum up, I think the shit still slaps!

What inspired your new single “L”

“L” looks inward. There’s a lot of finger-pointing in my work: “you broke my heart” or “you left me”. It was time to recognize patterns and write from a deeper place. Production-wise, “L”  combines soulfulness, acoustic guitar, and modern hip-hop/urban production. The juxtaposition of melancholic self-reflection and the “summer bop” feel of the music, to me, makes “L” my favorite song to date.

Why was it important for you to incorporate other individuals in the video?

It was important to me that the song feels relatable and inclusive. By getting people to tell stories of their “biggest L’s”, and make light of them, I think it helps take that power back and let others know they’re not alone in their screw-ups.

What do you hope your listeners will take away from your music?

I hope that it makes them feel good. Whether that comes from the lyrics, melody, or production, I’m happy. I want them to want to bump it over and over…and loud.