The LargeUp Interview: Jesse Royal

2 3 4
August 28, 2013

Words by Chenee Daley, Photos by Martei Korleyโ€”


Reggaedom has been buzzing lately with the name and sounds of newcomer Jesse Royal, the 24-year-old, charismatic, self proclaimed โ€œpalace pickneyโ€ currently building musical traction in Jamaica and abroad.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, I snagged a very intimate and uncut interview with Jesse. Arriving to my home earlier than scheduled, his teammates spilling in behind him, he is unassuming and pleasant, militantly clad in army green shorts and Desert Clarks.

โ€œAny red wine or marijuana on the menu today?โ€ the forthright singer jokes, following my offers of ackee patties and coconut water to both him and his crew.ย In our dialogue, the artist is light, feathery and jovial, but his intent definitely heavy. You get the feeling that realness ranks high in importance to him in the context of his relationships and interactions, even more so in his music. His fervent, on-spot rendition of Bob Marleyโ€™s โ€œThem Belly Full”ย  underlines his continual emphasis on genuineness or, as he puts it, the โ€œfeelโ€ of the music. If youโ€™ve ever heard him perform live, you understand exactly what I mean.

Though Jesse is beginning to enjoy a wider audience these days, with popular songs from his recently-released In Comes the Small Axe mixtape such as โ€œLight Like a Featherโ€ and โ€œFeel Your Painโ€ (not to mention a highly praised performance at Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records in Kingston, where the photos for this story were shot), he doesnโ€™t seem too eager about any type of impending stardom. โ€œOur music is not no braggadocious music,” the artist says. โ€œIs not music that make you big up your chest and talk about who is the best.โ€

Click here to start reading the Q+A.