Jesse Dee on the Morning Mix

Jesse Dee talks to Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix before his appearance at WYEP's Summer Music Festival: June 28, 2013. The R&B/soul singer and Boston native, Jesse Dee's latest album is On My Mind / In My Heart and will be here on June 28th at WYEP’s Summer Music Festival. He spoke about listening to the local oldies station when he was younger, "I grew up in a religious household, so I was kind of steered away by my parents from listening to popular, secular radio. I was, for whatever reason allowed to listen to the oldies station. I remember hearing The Shirelles, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, The Coasters. They played a lot of different stuff back then". 

There is a fine line one walks when creating retro soul and R&B where listeners could be wowed  or it misses the mark. Jesse Dee is definitely on the WOW side of things. When asked about this, he explains, "As a music fan and fan of classic Soul and R&B music, I listen to a lot of it and continue to do my homework, so to speak. Not of of necessity, but because I enjoy it. I'm just trying to write good songs, let the songs be themselves and incorperate elements of soul music that I like. I guess I'm trying to write a good song first and foremost as opposed to writing a song of a specific genre". 

When listening to Jesse Dee's new album, you really get a sense of his personality and his humor. Specifically on the song, “I won’t Forget About You”, Dee throws in some quick comedy asides and pretends to forget the words at one point, but it's all pulled off very smoothly. He comments, "I think in creating art and music, to be perceived as genuine, you have to be yourself. It's certainly a challenge for me and for a lot of people, but it's something to strive for: to have your music ring true to who you are. That's the ulitmate goal for me."

One of Jesse Dee's other passions is painting. He went to the Boston art school, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Mass Art) and painted the cover of his last album, 2008's Bittersweet Batch. Because his music takes up most of his time, he doesn't get to keep up with painting as much as he'd like, "Every now and then, I'll get to do some artwork. I figure if I live to ripe old age of 80, I can sit in a chair and paint then". 

Jesse Dee's latest album On My Mind / In My Heart is out now on Alligator Records.