Jesse Boykins III [feature]
Jesse Boykins the Third does not sound like a name I would have on my iTunes playlist. In fact, Jesse does not sound anything at all like anything else on my “recently added” songs in my iPod, or yours for that matter. His name is classic, and the man Jesse Boykins III is synonymous with soul.
I first came across this artist on a GFC mixtape singing along with head of the class rapper Mickey Factz on the infamous track “You Remind Me.” But Jesse certainly doesn’t remind us of anyone else with his extremely humble and relaxed persona. This young crooner donning braids, loose fitting jeans and his favorite hoody sat down with me on a couch in Brooklyn to talk about his journey, his inspirations and what drives him to push the bar higher with each song. He’s a chocolate brown twenty something with braids and one of the most soulful R&B albums out right now. He touches people with his soul-filled lyrics about love and lust, and no I am not talking about Omarion. This artist, Jesse Boykins III is on the other end of the R&B spectrum emitting a different frequency of sound.
Boykins is a singer, songwriter, producer and trained musician. A graduate of from The New School University for Jazz he has since then released two albums “Dopamine” and his current album “The Beauty Created” will hopefully broaden his touch.
“My biggest thing is you connect with people. I feel regular, I am not a major artist, I live in Brooklyn. But then someone will see me and be like yo, I love your music or my girl loves your music. I like hearing that. The money ain’t coming in crazy so it helps.”
“The most crazy message I ever got was from this young lady who was like ‘my brother passed away and I plugged his iPod in and the most plays he had was your song I Wish and that was him and his girlfriend’s favorite song. I just want to say thank you for being in his life.’ And I’m like whoa. Just to be able to be that powerful just to be able to touch someone with music that’s what I like. That’s what I am moving off of right now.”
A prolific artist, Boykins is a 24 year old who captures a eternal sound. With mentorship from fellow alumnus and music legend Bilal, Boykins worked hard to define his sound. Artists like Jesse Boykins are part of the reason I am not as satisfied with mainstream artists of today. Jesse puts his life in his music, without the big budget of many “major” artists and still manages to create some of the most beautiful R&B music we’ve heard in a long time. But he didn’t start out with such knowledge and prestige.
“When I first started out I didn’t really know what I was doing,” says Boykins. “I was just pressing buttons– like yea, Okay, I’m in the studio. And then once I started recording I was like I could do this. Its natural.”
Jesse had nabbed the thrill of creating something from nothing but he received conflicting advice about whether to be behind the mic or behind the board.
“It took me about a year and a half after I recorded these songs and had been working with producers in the industry [to make that decision]. They would send me tracks and [I would] record them and send them right back. They’d say wow you did this all today? So after all that I figured I might as well just do this myself. I’m going to be an artist.”