27 Nov CANADA | JESSE THOMAS
“Something that’s important to me is the notion of promoting others instead of just one’s self.”
I first met Jesse Thomas in Nova Scotia, Canada the fall of 2013. Exchanging our tastes in music and learning about what we do, Jesse gave me a copy of his first ep. After giving it a good listen through and discovering that he wrote, produced and more or less did everything involved in putting the album together, I fell more in love with it. We’ve kept in touch, filmed a video or two and even have had the opportunity to share the stage as well. And now with his next ep just released, I had the pleasure of getting some insight on how and why he makes music with a little taste on the new ep titled Strong Love.
Q: How did you decide music was something you wanted to do?
A: A bit about me (My Past). When I was a kid, I would sing a lot. Walking around the house singing songs at the top of my lungs, clearing some pretty decent pre-pubescent notes I’m sure. These were songs I’d heard at Church; old Vineyard tunes mostly. However, when I went to school, I kept it pretty low on the radar that I could sing. For some reason, one that I’m not to sure about, I was scared of people knowing I had some talent. Eventually, some friends found out, and they conveniently were looking for a singer for their band. We covered all the necessary pop punk bands, Nirvana, Billy Talent, and a sad amount of metal, Metallica, Iron Maiden, which every 14 year old thinks is the most impressive music.
I have been leading worship at my local church for a little over seven years. It’s a small group of people, but every week the Spirit of God shows up. It’s the kind of unpretentious small town church that very few people know about, not to mention the caliber of what’s coming from the pulpit is nothing short of amazing.
Q: If there is one thing you would like your listeners to get from your music, what would it be?
A: Something that’s important to me is the notion of promoting others instead of just one’s self. I still remember the first time I lead worship in front of a large group of people. A good friend at the time was asked to put a band together for a prophetic/revivalist meeting at the Church, except he asked me to lead it instead. Another time a fellow worship leader, and mentor of mine, was asked to head up what was going to be a large Worship event in our area. He was in his thirties, a seasoned musician, and incredible worship leader. I was twenty. I was not as good as him. Yet, he knew what it was to cultivate and disciple, rather than just build around himself, and he gave up the lead position to me!
In both these cases these men used their platforms to promote me onto their metaphorical shoulders to give me a considerably generous opportunity. This is what has helped shaped my worldview, and what I want to encourage throughout my life, and musical career.
I think music is one of the most elemental aspects of our universe. How music is used to translate emotions as complex as love is one of the greatest mysteries I’ve never properly understood. Yet, we can all feel it. We all instinctively rely on melody to help shift, for the better, what is happening in front of us. I love to inspire people with my music. I want people to listen to it and be drawn in. As I explained above, I advocate using your platform to build up others, in a meaningful way. Of course I hope that people like the sound, the melody is catchy, the vocals are nice, etc. But always, the best responses from listeners are the messages and texts that tell of a real connection to the songs; of how someone was moved in a deeper way.
Q: What is your new EP “Strong Love” about?
A: This EP is three songs. The title track is called Strong Love. It’s all about the desires of a single man. There’s a bit of a call in the song for men to wait for the right woman, and look for someone who is independent, thoughtful, and can be a true partner. It’s basic, yet that’s why I like it. That’s why I wrote it. It’s a song that feels good to sing, and play with a band.
Q: What does the songwriting process look like for you?
A: I think every songwriter has a slightly unique process for writing music. But, when it comes down to it, you are looking for an original melody and lyrics. For me, a song always begins with a moment of inspiration. I can feel a melody hiding inside my head, even though I’ve never heard it before. I usually try not to wait when I feel that. It’s best to run to the piano or guitar and just play around until it emerges, usually with a small phonetic lyric concept attached to it. If it’s good, I pull out my phone and record a sound memo. If it’s bad, I do not. Over time, the good melodies stick out to me, and I become interested in turning them into songs. Lyrics come next, which often can be a bother to finish. The longer you spend on some songs, the more invested you become. This is fine, but I’m trying to learn how to become less attached to music. I think it’s probably healthy to be able to move on from an idea that won’t come together. Or, if it will come together in a way that was not your original plan of attack, be open minded enough to make the appropriate changes. Keeping the music in position to serve the song, rather than serving just your own sensibilities, might take you down some new paths, sonically.