Artist, Guitarist, Composer, and Producer—certainly an impressive set of credentials. With accomplishments including four solo LPs on A&M, four LPs with The Time, numerous Gold and Platinum LPs, countless performances and recordings with top artists around the world, Jesse is undoubtedly one of the most unique and established elite musician/artist today.
Jesse, not one to live in the past, is always writing and producing and is currently in the studio recording new material for his next release. Sampling other projects out that still resonate, “Condensate” – The Original 7ven” (formerly The Time) and “Verbal Penetration Vol. I & II) – Jesse Johnson (Available on iTunes) Jesse exhibits the guitar playing and vocal style that early on exposed his talents to audiences worldwide. In his movie debut “Purple Rain” – Jesse co-wrote alongside Prince three of The Time’s biggest songs: “Jungle Love”, “The Bird” and “Ice Cream Castles”.
Jesse left The Time to pursue a solo career after finishing “Purple Rain” and The Time’s “Ice Cream Castles” LP. He dove into producing and writing his first solo LP for A&M Records, “Jesse Johnson’s Revue”. His solo efforts proved to be another successful move as his first solo project produced three top ten singles, “Be Your Man”, “Can You Help Me” and “I Want My Girl”. Jesse Johnson’s Revue soon became one of several Gold/Platinum Records to decorate his walls.
His accomplishments don’t go unnoticed. After the success of his first album, Jesse receives a call from the director of “The Breakfast Club” and is asked to write music for this blockbuster movie. Jesse shines through by writing one of this soundtrack’s most dynamic tracks, “Heart Too Hot To Hold”. Another artist on her way, Janet Jackson, seeks Jesse’s help for her first album where Jesse writes, produces, and performs the track, “Pretty Boy and Fast Girls”.
Jesse adds more movie soundtracks to his impressive resume, “Pretty In Pink”, “Another 48 Hours”, “A Time to Kill”, “White Men Can’t Jump” “Action Jackson” and “Graffiti Bridge”, but now the itch to play guitar “live” is back. Jesse goes into the studio to write, produce and perform another solo album but with a much different sound. “Bare My Naked Soul” is Jesse’s Rock album that does exactly what the title implies. He digs deep, and once again produces an album that exposes him personally and professionally. The album has a Rock, Blues and R&B flavor uniquely different from anything he has ever done before. “The listener’s biggest faux pas will be attempting to label my music”.
Jesse takes “Bare My Naked Soul” on the road debuting at the Troubadour in Los Angeles to a very receptive audience. They embrace the new sound and new look with rave reviews.
Jesse’s reputation precedes him – as hot, new artists approach him to produce songs for their next release. Jesse briefly steps away from life on the road to delve deeper into his producing talents, working with acclaimed artists and producers like DJ Quik, Butch Cassidy, Floetry, Meetch Wells, Nate Dog, DJ Battlecat to name a few. Jesse’s producing chores include recording and performing Jimi Hendrix’s “Castles Made Of Sand” on Chaka Khan’s, “Funk This” which won a Grammy for Best R&B Album. Jesse also completed work with Usher with the Avila Brothers, and working with the Grammy winning production team at Flyte Tyme.
Jesse’s undying need to express himself through music compels him to create his latest release, “Verbal Penetration Vol I & II”. This album, once again exposes Jesse’s soul to the world by creating a truly timeless piece addressing issues that affect society today. This album is sometimes reminiscent of his past work, but with a new twist that is sure to please many a fan that fell in love with Jesse’s style of music, guitar playing, and songwriting. “Verbal Penetration” will capture audiences ready for something new as well as thought provoking.
Jesse has performed at the White House for the PBS special “Red, White and Blues” along with Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Booker T., Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks and Gary Clark Jr., etc…
Social media and Jesse’s loyal following made it quite clear how much they have missed seeing him perform. Jesse did not disappoint treating the sold out 2014 show in Santa Monica, CA to hits never played live before as well as a few covers. The long line around the block only confirmed just how much people wanted to see him play.
Jesse has always made himself accessible to projects other than his own, often sharing his expertise and techniques to up and coming musicians, as well as the many popular artists that he has inspired. So when he got the call from D’Angelo (huge Jesse fan) to tour and work on his “Black Messiah” 2015 release – Jesse put his vibe on it. For his efforts, Jesse and the rest of the Vanguards received a Grammy in 2015. Just another confirmation how far reaching Jesse’s talents keep evolving.
In 2016, Jesse was dubbed “Guitar Hero” as he returned to Minneapolis’ First Avenue to showcase his guitar prowess. Leading a ferocious line-up that included bass extraordinaire Sonny Thompson and drummer phenom Michael Bland -the trio left the filled house in awe. as they chanted more. Famed writer, Jon Bream for the Star Tribune, wrote two high profile articles on Jesse before and after the show. The latter says it all “Jesse Johnson soars as guitar hero in power trio marathon at First Avenue” …
In 2019, Jesse wanted to tour more to showcase new arrangements that would not give his audience to much time to rest before he effortlessly fused in hit after hit. Jesse, a prolific song writer, sometimes has to ponder which songs to include in the setlist, because of his vast catalog, adding “It’s a great problem to have”. Paisley Park Celebration 2019, Jesse delivered one of the most mesmerizing performances, delivering the necessary vibe needed to perform not only his hits but that of Prince and The Time. Philadelphia journalist Tonya Pendleton of BlackAmericaWeb.com, who has covered all three celebrations – wrote, “Jesse Johnson – L.A.-based singer-guitarist and his band delivered a 14-minute medley that tied it all together — “Be Your Man,” Johnson’s first solo hit; followed by “Controversy,” the title song from the first Prince tour that Johnson went on in 1981, and “Jungle Love,” the Time’s biggest hit that Prince and Johnson co-wrote”. On this day, Jesse truly bared his naked soul in song and standing ovation interview.
Following the huge success at Paisley Park, the summer saw him take his show abroad, hitting Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, at the highly popular venue Billboard Live. There was no language barrier when Jesse issued call and response, as that audience they were fans that knew his lyrics.
Late December 2019, Jesse marked the 35th anniversary of the movie Purple Rain, with a standing room only two-hour long performance at the iconic blues venue Antone’s in Austin, Texas.
Warner Brothers Records, The Time
Warner Brothers Records, The Time “What Time Is It”
Warner Brothers Records, “Vanity 6”
Wrote & performed: Bite The Beat
Warner Brothers Records, The Time Ice Cream Castle
Wrote & performed: Jungle Love, Ice Cream Castles, The Bird & If The Kid
A&M Records, Jesse Johnson’s Revue (Debut solo album) (869,000 SOLD)
Performed, written and produced by Jesse Johnson
A&M Records, The Breakfast Club soundtrack
Wrote & performed: Heart Too Hot To Hold
A&M Records, Janet Jackson, Dream Street
Wrote, produced & performed: Pretty Boy & Fast Girls
Ta Mara & the Seen
Wrote, produced & performed
A&M Records, Pretty In Pink Soundtrack
Wrote, performed & produced: Get To Know Ya
A&M Records, Jesse Johnson “Shockadelica” (330,000 SOLD)
Solo LP performed, written and produced
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Action Jackson
Wrote & produced: Undressed & Faraway Eyes for Vanity
Virgin Records, Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl
Wrote & produced: I Need You
A&M Records, Jesse Johnson “Every Shade Of Love” (320,000 SOLD)
Solo LP performed, written & produced
Capital Records, da Krash
Co-wrote & produced
MCA Records, Sue Ann, Blue Velvet
Produced & wrote five songs
CBS Records, Clarence Clemens
Produced: Shot Gun
Virgin Records (France), Les Rita Mitsouko: Marc & Robert
Produced LP & mixed first American release of Andy
Columbia Records, Wendy & Lisa, Fruit at the Bottom
Wrote & co-produced: Satisfaction
Virgin Records, Cheryl Lynn
Co-wrote & produced four songs
Paisley Park Records, Graffiti Bridge Soundtrack
Performed on LP
Another 48 Hours, Soundtrack
Co-produced & performed: The Boys Are Back
Paisley Park Records, The Time, Pandemonium
Co-wrote & co-produced: Pandemonium, Blondie, and The Skillet
Capital Records, Debbie Allen, Special Look
Wrote: Sexy Ways
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, The Five Heartbeats
Wrote & produced: Nights Like This
Interscope Records, Three Shades Brown, Stronger Than Strong
Co-wrote, co-produced & performed
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, White Men Can’t Jump
Wrote, produced & performed: Jump For It
Universal Music/Hippo Jesse Johnson “Ultimate Collection”
Wrote & Produced (A Compilation)
Chaka Khan Sony/Burgundy
Produced and Performed Jimi Hendrix’s “Castles Made Of Sand” & Played Guitars on “Sign O’ The Times” & “Foolish”)
Jesse Johnson Bellavenix Music/Sony Red “Verbal Penetration Vol. I & II”
Wrote, Performed and Directed by Jesse Johnson
The Original 7ven “Condensate” (The Time)
Wrote, Performed, and Produced 4 Compositions – Played assorted Guitars, Synths, Drums, etc…
D’Angelo “Black Messiah” RCA Records
Performed Guitars (Won 2 Grammys)