Jesse Macht is reaching his breakout moment. Long having been a breath of fresh air in the music business, he's spent the past year-plus collaborating with other creative minds and continually improving his craft. Now he's back with "Suitcase Heart," the lead single off the forthcoming album of the same name, and he's never sounded better. Last week, we touched base with Jesse to discuss how he became an even more impressive artist, and what the future looks like from here.
"I'm really excited about this new chapter. The journey's been great," he enthused, telling us it all began when he met with former EMI employee turned music blogger Katie O'Halloran last year. "She's so generous in like connecting me with people. I think the first person she connected me with was Tyler Lyle; Tyler and I wrote this song 'Suitcase Heart.'
"I ended up writing with over fifty writers over the course of a year and a half...I'm just traveling back and forth from New York and Nashville to Los Angeles, writing and writing. Out of that came, I think, just an education. I learned a little bit more about my craft and felt a little more confident with it."
But it's not just skill that makes the best artists; it's the experiences that they bring with them, too, and Jesse experienced quite a bit as he was working toward this new album. Not only did he undergo heart surgery to deal with an extra electrical impulse, but six weeks later, his heart was broken. "I went through a breakup, which for me hit hard," he said. "That was definitely a lot of fodder...going into those writing sessions with a really intense love that just ended up being a lot of material for what we wrote."
And in Nashville, after performing at an ASCAP open listening event, he landed a meeting which led to a showcase that opened another door for him. "This producer came and listened to me, and it was Justin Tocket," he told us. Tocket then became the producer on Suitcase Heart, which was largely recorded at Dockside Studio in Maurice, Louisiana.
"That experience was one of the best experiences of my entire life," Jesse reflected, calling the musicians he played with at Dockside and Nashville's Southern Ground Studios - drummers Chad Gilmore and Jano Rix, guitarists Joe Stark and Kris Donegan, keyboardists Ben Alleman and Jefferson Crow, and David Labruyer and Tocket on bass - "consummate Nashville professionals...I was just in awe of the whole experience."
"Half the songs on the record are songs that I chose from all these writing sessions that I had over the year. And then the other five are songs that I wrote on my own," he continued. "I was inspired and wanted to make a great record and sort of encapsulate what had happened over a year of learning."
With the creative work completed, Jesse is hitting the road beginning this week. "This tour is going to be really fun, the house concert tour, and we're going to be following it up with a new tour in the fall," he explained, and that's not all he has in the works. Following the release of the "Suitcase Heart" music video, he's shooting another video for the single "Nothing Wrong With A Little Rain," and has a third video in pre-production. It's all leading up to the release of Suitcase Heart the album this September.
He's always been a musician capable of creating wonderful, memorable music, but something else special about Jesse that's never been more evident than now is how he represents real artistry. It's not simply about having talent. Rather, it's about putting yourself into the work to make that emotional connection, and constantly laboring so that you grow and improve along the way. An artist's work is never really done, and even as he's poised to have his best year yet, even while more and more people catch on to how impressive he really is, Jesse isn't slowing down for anything.
"It's a journey," he reflected, "and I kind of like the journey."
Jesse Macht's single "Suitcase Heart" is now available on iTunes. For more on Jesse, including his upcoming concert dates, visit his website (jessemachtmusic.com) and follow him on Twitter (@jessemachtmusic).