You’d most likely be greeted with a smile if you were to meet Jesse Boykins III, especially if you listened to his music and found yourself unsure what to make of it. You can hear the influences, but to hear music this eclectic would throw most people for a loop. Where Boykins excels, is utilizing his personality so powerfully that you end up enjoying the ride. His latest album, Bartholomew, is a true testament to his talent. It’s an album with the mission statement of making sure no one paints Boykins into a corner, and to say he succeeded would be an understatement.

Ken Grand-Pierre spoke to Jesse about covering James Blake at live shows, how a break-up inspired creativity, the story behind Bartholomew, and musical collaborations. Check out their conversation below.

“You have to find a way to stay passionate, and stay true to you in such an ugly city.”

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