It’s safe to say Jesse Gold is a jack of all trades. From producing to songwriting to singing, he can do it all. Having always been a fan of music, Jesse began learning how to play the guitar from the young age of four. Over the years, he has released his own songs on platforms like YouTube and MySpace, however, it was in 2019 that he released music that he felt fully encompassed who he wanted to be as an artist. We’ll Be Fine is a six-track EP filled with songs about love and breakupS, amassing over 1 million streams to date on all digital streaming platforms.
In addition to working on his own music, the Toronto native has also collaborated with a number of artists like JP Saxe, Craig David, Babyface, and more in a number of ways whether that be co-writing on tracks or co-producing. One of his mottos in life is, “to make music is to study music.” With that in mind, Jesse is always looking for ways to keep learning and getting better and better, making him an unstoppable force and a promising artist for the music world.
Today, Jesse’s dropping his latest single, “One in a Million,” an R&B and pop-infused track about building up the courage to talk to the person you like at a house party. It was co-written with singer-songwriter and actress, Stefani Kimber, who is also featured on the track. We chatted with Jesse about his time at Berklee College of Music, his inspirations for songwriting, and his new single!
When did you know you wanted to be a musician? So I tell this story a lot, but it’s the truth. My parents tell me that when I was three years old, I was in the backseat of the car and Aerosmith was on the radio. And when the Aerosmith song ended, there was a silence and I apparently said to my parents, “I want to play guitar,” and they both turned around and were kinda shocked. I think that was kind of the start of the obsession. They got me a little baby guitar that I still have. It’s the cutest little thing ever and I started taking lessons at four. I was obsessed really, really young, and there wasn’t really any other option or path. It was the thing I loved the most from really early on.
So, you’ve been playing guitar since you were four? Yeah, I actually remember, we went to the guitar lesson place, and they were like his hands are too small, we can’t even teach him. They were like wait till he’s four, five to come back so we came back a couple of years later, and they finally agreed to teach me. I took lessons, probably until I was around 15 or 16 when my teachers then asked me to start teaching there. From there, I went to Berklee.
While you attended Berklee College of Music, what are the top three things you learned that you still carry with you today? How was your experience there? My experience in Berklee was amazing. I always refer to Berklee as like Hogwarts for music because it’s a very magical place for music. It’s like there’s music coming out of every single closet that you pass in the hallway. My time there was great. I think the biggest lesson that I learned was that I just wasn’t as good as I thought I was, which was a really humbling and important lesson for me to get to learn as a young musician. Being, you know, maybe the best guitarist or singer from your high school, and then going to one of the best music schools in the world, you’re one of a million best guitarist or singers in their high schools and they’re all better than you and that was like a huge and important lesson for me to learn. I learned a lot from so many friends and amazing people, and then just, like, technical stuff, you know, guitar technique and songwriting rules that I still use to this day. So, Berklee was a really transformative and important time of my life and I don’t have a bad word to say about it. I had an amazing time there, I learned a lot.
Where do you draw most of your inspiration from when it comes to songwriting? I would say the majority of my inspiration comes from love and breakups. I’ve gone through a couple of breakups in the last, you know, several years. And for me, songwriting is such a useful therapeutic tool that I was almost just doing it as a way to make myself feel better. I’ve always said that if I can take an emotion or the anxiety in my head and I can put it into a sentence that rhymes, it always makes me feel so much better. And so writing about heartbreak just kind of came really naturally when I was going through it because I was essentially using it as a tool to make myself feel better. So, the majority of it has been relationship stuff and I’m really excited to delve into other aspects of my life. For some new projects, I’ve already started, you know, talking about the music business and how I feel about where I am in my journey so far and I’m excited to tap into those other areas of my life.
You first released music in 2019. Were you nervous or excited? What was going through your mind, and how did it feel when you saw the positive reactions and reviews? Well, it always feels great to see positive reactions about anything so I was super happy about that. I don’t think I was nervous and excited to be releasing music because when I was 12, I put my first song up on YouTube, so I was kind of used to putting music out in the world. I was putting little demos that I made on GarageBand up on MySpace and those were getting listens or downloads or whatever MySpace used to get.
So I was used to being vulnerable and putting my music out into the world. I wasn’t nervous and excited for those reasons. I think that I was nervous and excited because that project in 2019 was the first time that I felt like I really was coming into my own as an artist and it accurately represented the brand and the artistry that I was going for so I was really excited for those reasons that it was like a cohesive sound. It felt great. I couldn’t have been happier with how it went and everybody’s support was a really beautiful thing, so I was really happy about it.
You’ve collaborated with a number of artists like Craig David, Babyface, and Johnny Orlando. What was it like working with them? I’ve worked with them in many different capacities. What’s so cool about collaboration in general is it can take on so many different forms, you know. So for instance, Craig David is one of my heroes and musical idols. And we kind of just connected over Instagram and we met up and we played a little music together and you know I’ve sent him guitar stuff for his album. That was one form of collaboration. That was a monumental moment in my life. Babyface, who is a songwriting legend, held little songwriting camps in different cities that I was lucky enough to be a part of and it was me and about 15 other incredible songwriters, producers, musicians.
In addition to collaborating with him in that experience, I got to talk to so many other incredible Toronto talents. Johnny Orlando and I wrote together for his project, so there are many different forms of collaboration, whether it’s writing for another artist, writing with someone else for my music, or something like that. I think that the most rewarding collaboration in my life for me has just been with my best friend who I have grown up playing music with. At the end of the day, the best collaborations are with the people that you have the best relationship with. I work with my best friend Jack Emblem every day. We’ve been doing it since we were kids and we get each other and that’s my favorite kind of collaboration.
In what ways do you and Jack collaborate? Jack started as my drummer. We were in a band called Trading Hearts when we were kids with JP Saxe, and the band broke up as we got older. Jack and I stuck together, and he continued to be my drummer and then he went to Berklee with me and he did production, so he produces, and now he co-writes with me. He’s kind of an all-encompassing creative partner. He’s a great, great man.
I’m sure it’s nice to have a partner like that who you’re comfortable with and can be vulnerable with. Exactly. If I’m in front of a big person, I might not have that comfortability to do that, whereas with Jack I can just scream across the room “wrong!” But no, we do very, very good work together.
You’re also going to be collaborating with The Command Sisters and Ryland James. What can you tell us about those projects? Yeah, those projects were really cool. The Command Sisters brought myself and Jack on to actually produce an acoustic version of a record that they already had out so they were amazing. They kind of blew us away with their talent. So that records actually out, so you can go hear it. It’s an acoustic version of a song called “I Like It,” produced by myself and Jack Emblem. With Ryland James, we’re working with him now. I’ve been brought on as a co-writer so we are writing for his project now and he’s an incredible talent. These experiences have been great and, you know, they’re different forms of collaboration that I love. I love to do it all.
You’ve really been making your mark in each aspect of creating music from songwriting to producing. I’m trying to, yeah, because by doing that, it really helps me learn, you know? By throwing myself into the deep end of some things I haven’t done before, you know, producing or writing…it all helps.
Tell us about your new single “One in a Million.” What inspired it? So “One in a Million” was a little idea I had. I wrote it with Stef Kimber when we got together to write, and we wanted to write a love song that just felt warm. I think at the time stuff that we were writing was a bit darker and, for me, I know I was writing a lot about breakup stuff. So I think we were cognizant of the fact that we wanted to write something a little lighter, a little more for everybody, a love song.
I had an idea that I had been thinking of for a long time. I had a crush on somebody who kind of just ran in a different circle than me and I didn’t really know them at all. And for that reason I kind of just never really pursued them and if and when I ever saw them around, it just didn’t feel right so I kind of started to avoid that person and it got to the point where like it had been so long that my avoidance kind of turned into a pride thing. Like, I’m not going to talk to them, and then I ended up being at a party with that person pre-COVID-19.
We may have been feeling a little loose at the party and it was a good time. I kind of thought at that time like this has been so dumb that I’ve been avoiding this person for no reason at all, like I’m going to go introduce myself and say hi, so I did that. And I told her that I had been kind of just avoiding her for whatever reason and she said back that she had been thinking the same thing and she didn’t want to say hi to me first for all these literal years, and I just thought that that was so stupid and dumb and like it was funny to me that it took like a bit of alcohol to break those walls down and just realize that what we had been doing was so unnecessary.
When I told that story to Stef, we said it’s a cute idea that two people like each other but they refused to tell each other, and we were saying how can we get them to tell each other. And the first thing that came to mind was like this house party scene and alcohol, and I take another sip and say, “you’re one in a million.” So that’s kind of a rambling version of where the whole idea came from. But you know when I see the song now in my head, especially in a time like this when I know we’re all super nostalgic for something like a house party that the song takes on a much deeper feeling to me, because we just don’t have that right now. And so I think that it’s coming out at a nice time, like, I know for me, I need that feeling.
This new single is a bit different than your other music in terms of genre as you lean a bit toward R&B instead of pop. What made you want to try out this new sound, and do you think down the line you’ll be exploring it a bit more? Absolutely! I love pop and I love R&B. I think I’ve always kind of had both in my head. Since that last project, I’ve kind of just been diving more into that R&B world just on my own, you know, listening as a fan. And my writing has kind of naturally leaned that way.
So when I started writing new stuff, that kind of just naturally came from deep within. It’s just a really natural progression of my sound. I think that my early poppier stuff still had a lot of R&B in it. And I think as I lean a little bit more in that R&B direction, it’s also going to have elements of pop music in it. It’s just been a really natural progression for me as I become a fan of different artists and listen to them. I’m just fully going for it and not questioning myself and I’m just leading into what feels natural.
You’ve said before that drawing inspiration from every genre is your secret weapon. Can you tell us a bit more about that? I was really lucky to grow up with parents who listened to different stuff. My mom was listening to Motown and soul and R&B, and my dad was listening to classic rock, and I kind of grew up with a very eclectic music taste because of that. As I got older and I started to choose music for myself, I gravitated towards many different genres. That’s been a huge, huge help for my songwriting.
For example, like metal music or hard rock music, I can take things that I like from there and then see how I can make it or how I can do it in my own way in the genre that I’m working in and that’s, you know, always the answer to how to get something unique. But I always listen to metal music because it’s actually a bit of a break for my ear. Anytime I will listen to pop music, subconsciously, even if I’m not thinking about it, I am studying. If I’m listening to a Billie Eilish song or something, which I love, subconsciously I’m like what is she doing?
What are those instruments and how can I use that? But if I’m listening to something like metal, I can just relax and enjoy it. So it’s all of those things together that really allows me to pick and choose what I want to use from where, and that’s been really useful for my songwriting and music journey. I kind of pluck ideas from everywhere rather than just the pop and R&B space.
You were recently featured on Brian Robert Jones’ *NSYNC cover album where you sang “It Makes Me Ill.” How was it being a part of that project? It was really cool. Brian and I met through a friend of a friend and he and I have now become really close. He is one of the most talented musicians and people I’ve ever met. And we had collaborated on many things before. He was actually one of the co-producers of my first project, We’ll Be Fine. So he and I had been doing stuff for a long time before this, and out of the blue one day, I got a text saying, “Hey, dude. I’m doing an *NSYNC cover record.” *NSYNC is one of his favorite bands of all time. And he asked if I wanted to do a song on there, and I was honored. It was super fun, super easy, and that was kind of it. A text, I did it, sent it over, and here it is out on all streaming platforms now.
What’s coming up next for you? We have a lot of stuff coming down the pipeline that we’re really excited about. I am sitting on about 15 to 20 new songs that I really love, and I know my team and everybody’s really excited about. So it’s really just about putting those out and getting music to the people who will listen as soon as possible, that’s my main focus and having fun while I do it.