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Jesse Clegg was born in Johannesburg in 1988. By the time he was six months old he was on tour with his father Johnny Clegg and between 1988 and 1994 he spent at least 5 months a year on the road.He was a classic road kid and grew up back stage and on tour busses. In 1994 his father’s band broke up and the touring subsided. Jesse schooled inJohannesburg atCrawfordCollege and matriculated with six distinctions in 2006.
In school Jesse Clegg experimented with a number of different instruments – which included saxophone, clarinet, drums and piano – until he finally settled on guitar. He started playing when he was about thirteen, focusing mostly on chord structures and simple licks.
Early on, Jesse carved out an independent direction for himself in the rock genre, very different from the world music style developed by his dad . As someone who grew up in the environment of a succesful musical father, he strived to express himself in the most authentic way possible and understood the imporatnce of being able to perform live. In high school he began performing as a solo act with just acoustic guitar and voice. He performed at regular school concerts and small clubs. He also joined a number of different bands, and experimented with electric guitar. At around sixteen he began to write his own material. By seventeen, songwriting was his musical focus and it was in this period and the years to follow that he honed his writing skills and put together the songs recorded on the first album.
After Jesse matriculated, he took a gap year in order to record more demo tracks and finally put together an album. He also started a band where he got the opportunity to rehearse and perform some of the songs around Johannesburg – appearing under a number of different band names. It was here that a few of the songs took shape in terms of arrangement and guitar sounds. By this time, Jesse was looking to proffessionally record the songs with producer, Brian O’Shea who joined the project and they began work on what was to be the final album “When I Wake Up”.
The highlight of Jesse’s career came in June 2007 when he got the opportunity to tour internationally with his father Johnny Clegg once again. He performed alongside his father at a number of festivals in France to crowds of more than ten thousand people. Another highlight for Jesse was when a major Belgian producer, Nicolas Fizman, agreed to co-produce the album alongside Brian O’Shea. By the end of 2007 the album was completed and in early 2008 signed a major record deal with David Gresham Records.
Sold out concert period @ The Nelson Mandela Theatre.
Debut album charted # 1 singles and already closing in on Gold status.
2 x South African Musica Award nomniations on the debut album.
Nominated & performed @ 2009 “YOU” Magaizne Spectacular
Sold out main theatre @ 2009 Grahamstown Arts Festival
Performed for numerous corporate clients including BMW, HP, Spar & more
Jesse Clegg is an official Ambassador for Mr Mandela’s 46664 campaign worldwide.
Performed at “MANDELA DAY” @ “RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL” in NEW YORK CITY on 18 JULY 2009, alongside the likes of STEVIE WONDER, WILL.I.AM, JOSH GROBAN, WYCLEF JEAN, ALICIA KEYS, JESSE MCCARTNEY & many more