Jesse Boykins III is a singer, songwriter, student, philosopher, poet, performer, artist, historian and romantic, among other things. Just don’t call him a renaissance man–he doesn’t believe he’s reached that title yet. Over the past three years the 26 year-old Boykins III has released two albums independently and is laying the groundwork for a third, Love Apparatus, due later this year. We recently kicked the actual factuals before an awesome performance and he laid out World Soul, the Romantic Movement, and a few secrets I’ve been sworn to secrecy to keep.
Mr. Boykins is the ultimate independent artist. He shares his music and his soul with his fans and takes risks with his sound, but don’t offer him any contracts. Record labels have been looking to get his signature since he was fifteen, but he’s been tutored by the likes of Bilal and Eric Roberson, so he’s far from a naïve artist just looking for a deal. Jesse’s music comes from a pure place within him, and the ideal label situation will nurture and grow that area plus be an institution of higher learning that furthers his sound and his brand.
In the interim he recently released Way of a Wayfarer, an EP to hold his fans over until the album is released. A devoted performer, he’s spent the summer crisscrossing the Atlantic performing for soul-starved fans, largely material from his critically acclaimed album The Beauty Created. It’s these travels that have shaped the sound of the new LP and helped further his musical philosophy of World Soul. He also defies being labeled and classifying himself a World Soul artist embodies all of the elements that make up a Jesse Boykins III album: soul, R&B, pop, dance, hip-hop, and everything else he’s picked up through his studies of art, culture, and music.
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The passion that shines through in songs like “Amorous” and “B4 the Night is Thru” pales in comparison to what he gives during live performances; Jesse Boykins III provides concert goers with an experience that goes beyond the stage. He reaches deep into his soul to provide each person in attendance a relationship with his songs. This is another way he separates himself from your average artist: He’s intent on creating an element on his albums that surpasses what comes through your iPod, and he wants your live experience to be one of a kind.
Maybe it goes back to his time in the Grammy Jazz Ensemble or studying at The New School University for Jazz and Contemporary Music that has shaped his view as a performer, his appreciation for artistry, and his desire to give his fans something special each time out. Undoubtedly, his stops on his way to manhood in Jamaica, Miami, Chicago, and New York City exposed him to various cultures and classes and made him THAT much of a better songwriter, as the poetry in his songs is more comparable to that of Frost, Poe and Hughes than The Dream. While his fans are awaiting the next album and his team is fielding calls from executives, expect much more music…and more of Jesse Boykins III’s soul.
Between rhetoric and reality is where you’ll find Al-Lateef Farmer; Black man, husband, social documentarian, and slinger of Soul by the pound. His brand of social commentary, rooted in independent thought can be found at http://www.worldaccording2teef.comand on Twitter @wrldacrdng2teef