Boston's Jesse Dee is a singing, songwriting, guitar-playing soul man—a modern day trailblazer inspired by the old school. Dee's passion is exploring and updating soul music for contemporary audiences. With his warm and honest sound, his instantly memorable melodies and positive, slice-of-life lyrics (evoking the heyday of the Brill Building songwriters), he accomplishes just that. His inventive, hook-filled songs are delivered with buoyant, youthful exuberance. Live, he always brings down the house, and keeps his ever-growing fan base coming back for more. His band lays down driving, infectious grooves while Dee's expressive vocals put him in a class by himself. On the strength of his fervent live shows, Dee plays to packed clubs in New England and has toured across Europe, earning new fans at every gig. The Boston Herald declares, "Dee has an explosive voice. He possesses a powerful, raspy tenor and an uncanny phrasing ability that can't be taught."
Dee won the 2010 Boston Phoenix Music Poll Award for Best R&B Act, both for the strength of his live show and the aftershocks of his 2008 debut CD, Bittersweet Batch (7Not Records/Munich Records). With his new album, On My Mind / In My Heart (AL 4952), his first for Alligator Records, Dee is now poised to break into the minds and hearts of music lovers across the country and around the world. The album, eleven original songs produced by Dee and Jack Younger, is a sweet soul masterpiece full of good vibes and funky, joyful music. Like Sam Cooke, Dee writes about real life with true emotional poetry. His lyrics are set to toe-tapping melodies with horn charts channeling The Memphis Horns and 1970s-era Van Morrison.
Much like an artist painting on canvas (another of his talents), Dee crafts his songs in layers, oftentimes starting with a melody and lyrics, then carefully adding guitar riffs, horn blasts, vocal inflections, or any number of other colors from his musical palette. He fills his songs with a wide variety of textures, allowing listeners to visualize the images he paints with his words. "I'm a music fan first," Dee says, "so it's important to me to seek out and create with original ideas. That's why songwriting is so important, and why I mean every word I write and sing."
Born in 1980 in Boston, MA, Dee grew up in nearby Arlington. He got his first taste of soul music from local oldies radio station WODS when he was eight years old. As a child, he was drawn to the sounds of The Drifters, The Shirelles, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke and other doo wop, Motown and R&B greats. He always loved singing, and would often record made-up tunes into his tape recorder. He sang in school theatre productions and church choir, and was writing songs by his mid-teens. Dee began fronting a band soon after, but didn't pick up his first guitar until he was 18. With help from his musically inclined father and The Bob Dylan Six-Chord Songbook, he taught himself the instrument well enough to start performing as a solo artist a year later.