Woven together by a wavy guitar lick, “nosedive” has a special groove that Jesse uses in his storytelling to reflect on past struggles with addiction from the perspective he’s gained in over six years of sobriety. Paired with distant horns and rich vocal harmonies, it’s a song to mellow out and lose yourself in.
Jesse gravitated toward music early on, studying classical piano and theory as a child, playing coffee houses in his teens, and ultimately moving to New York and joining a local blues band who put out the word that they needed a singer. Over the next 18 months, he continued to hone his chops as a songwriter and producer.
Energized by his experiences writing and performing in New York, after returning to Toronto he put a band together and released his debut album, Radio Silence (Trans Phatt Records) in May 2020. The record garnered substantial play on SiriusXM and soon racked up in excess 300k streams on Spotify. Maxwell fed his growing audience’s hunger for his fresh take on Pop/Alternative R&B with Hellion, a 6-song EP released in early 2021, and went straight to work on LP2 as a means of pushing himself to evolve as an artist, as usual, at high speed.
In just three years Jesse Maxwell has indeed gone from 0 to 100: racking up nearly 700,000 overall streams on Spotify; becoming a regular fixture on radio across Canada; making inroads internationally (via a #1 on the People’s Soul Choice Charts on the UK’s Delite Radio); and gaining a well-deserved reputation as a prolific, deeply lyrical storyteller and a distinctively compelling voice in modern soul.
We had the opportunity to chat with Jesse about his new single, his creative process and what’s next.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single “nosedive”?
Jesse: This song tells the story of a high and comedown, the feeling of invincibility and the moment of breakdown. The sound of this song was inspired by D’angelo mostly, specifically in the approach of the vocal arrangements and the sexy and cruise-y feeling that song gives me.
Kat: What do you hope fans take from the track?
Jesse: I hope people listen to it and feel powerful. My music is always very introspective, that’s just my writing style, but in that I hope people feel that introspection in me and in themselves. I want my listeners to feel intimately connected to my music when they listen to it. My music is a space without judgment, without limitations, to be completely yourself, so I just want people to feel that. I love when I meet people who love my music, I feel like I’m providing a service for the soul, and I’m grateful to be able to connect with people in that way.
Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?
Jesse: For me, it’s easy to write and make a song, but to make something that has a character and is bold is important to me and can also be difficult. There is so much noise out there to break through so in order to stand out I try to be completely unfiltered with my creative process and extend beyond my usual boundaries thinking about what’s best for the song rather than what’s “trendy” at the moment. On this song as well, I worked alongside my co-producer Andrés Alzate. Collaboration comes with it’s perks – two minds working together can bring a greater outcome as so much energy is put into the creative process but can also get challenging when you, ideally, have to agree on every idea that is brought to the song and make sure that both parties are given the chance to flesh out their ideas completely.
Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?
Jesse: We recently played a sold out show at Supermarket in Toronto and that night was so overwhelmingly beautiful and the energy was electric. There is nothing like that feeling. When I was first starting out, I never loved playing live, I always felt a bit uncomfortable, but now the stage is really a second home for me, sounds funny but I almost get somewhat of an outer-body experience when I play – I’m so in the moment and I’m just soaking up all the energy in the room, and I don’t think about anything else. Someone told me a while ago, this always stuck with me, that I can’t be nervous or judge myself at live shows because people are just there to see you, support you and have a great night, it’s not that serious. The second you start a set, it’s already over, in the blink of an eye, so make the most of it.
In general, I’ve been learning along this journey that things take time, and I can’t force anything. I can’t be hard on myself. I work very hard at what I do, and I just have to keep putting myself out there and be open to whatever comes.
Kat: What’s next?
Jesse: So excited about the music video for nosedive that will be releasing on Feb 16 2022. Throughout the next few months, more singles from the album until the release of the album. Another music video. A beautifully filmed live song. More shows. Excited to continue to evolve as an artist, and as a human. Hopefully you follow the journey!
For more on Jesse Maxwell visit: https://www.jessemaxwellmusic.com