Q&A: Singer-songwriter Jesse Saint John

After being behind the scenes for so long, how did it feel to release your own album?

I don’t think there’s that big of a difference between being a songwriter and being an artist. The fact that people heard [the album] and put it on their playlists was a net win for me. But this is an ever-changing process. I didn’t step into artist mode; I just put my music out and kept writing for other people and doing the same stuff I’ve always done.

What was it like when “Truth Hurts” exploded in popularity?

Lizzo is an artist that means so much to so many people. I first saw her perform at the [Los Angeles music club] The Echoplex for 200 people in 2017 and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is an empowering, Beyonce-level performance.’ It means so much to me to have this song with her. Before “Truth Hurts,” I was grateful for my career and the way that it was. But the minute you accept whatever fate your career has, the universe rewards you. "Truth Hurts” was a year-and-a-half old song before it started to appear on the charts, which was just the universe saying, ‘We’re gonna give you a little bump right now!’ For me, gratitude and the work is the fun part. The results are the bonus.

How do you find fulfilling projects?

I just really trust my gut. It’s important to feel good about what you’re doing because at the end of the day, people can sense if there's actual excitement and joy in creating a product. I always say to try stuff that’s outside of your comfort zone because you never know what will fulfill you. Then, check in with yourself at the end of the day.

How do you stay mentally grounded in such a grueling industry?

My mind works in so many different ways as far as creative direction, styling, and music videos—all in addition to writing and performing. If I’m feeling super tapped out on words and melodies, I can switch over to the visual side and make a mood board for a music video, write a treatment, or prepare for a photo shoot. Also, I don’t take anything too personally, I know what it’s like to be on different ends of the spectrum of this business. At the end of the day, everyone’s trying to just make it work and keep their job. So empathy to other people inside the industry is really important as well.

You have a yoga and meditation practice. Can you talk about that? 

Yoga is so beneficial for my day, and it’s something that has nothing to do with the music industry. The biggest thing for me is having a mantra during meditation. I have a three-minute mantra that I put on an MP3. It’s a reset to my mentality and my day. Anything that happened before that I let go, and it allows me to open myself up to the possibilities of my day. It opens me to the channel of creativity and sets my mood going in, allowing me to be present in the process.

Photo courtesy of Fields  

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