Originally from New York City, Jesse Harris is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer of artists from all over the world. He has been making records since the mid 90s, when he started in the group Once Blue on EMI Records. It was his first experience writing for another singer, lead vocalist, Rebecca Martin. Combining folk, jazz and pop, the group defined a direction for Harris and was also notable for featuring the guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel.
As a solo artist since then Jesse has released 13 albums, including many with his former backing band The Ferdinandos and one all-instrumental recording (Cosmo). His forthcoming album, Music For Chameleons (to be released March, 2017 on Sunnyside Records) finds him again with Will Graefe (guitar) and Jeremy Gustin (drums) of Star Rover, as well as Jesse Carmichael (keys), of Maroon 5, and Jason Lader (bass). Special guests include Petra Haden on backing vocals and Brazilian string arranger Maycon Ananias, who played all the keyboards and arranged the strings on Jesse’s 2012 release, Sub Rosa.
In 2003 Jesse received the Grammy Award for Song Of The Year for Norah Jones’ breakout hit “Don’t Know Why,” from her debut album, Come Away With Me, which has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. Four other Harris compositions appear on it, “Shoot The Moon,” “One Flight Down,” “I’ve Got To See You Again,” and “The Long Day Is Over,” and he plays guitar throughout. Since then, Jones and Harris have collaborated many times. She duets with him on “What Makes You” from his album The Secret Sun and sings harmonies on several others,Crooked Lines, While The Music Lasts and Watching The Sky. He appears as guitarist on almost all of her albums, contributing songwriting to The Fall, and produced her version of his song “World Of Trouble” for the Ethan Hawke film The Hottest State. That soundtrack features not only Harris’ score, but new versions of his songs by Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Cat Power, Feist, The Black Keys, M. Ward, Brad Mehldau, Bright Eyes (on whose album “I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning” Jesse also appears as guitarist), and others. Recently Harris and Jones appeared together in the Amy Poehler/Paul Rudd comedy They Came Together, performing his song “It Was The Last Thing On Your Mind,” also produced by Harris.
Other artists who have covered his material include Kandace Springs, Smokey Robinson, Sasha Dobson (whose album Modern Romance he co-produced with Richard Julian), George Benson, Pat Metheny, and Solomon Burke, on whose album Like A Fire Harris also plays guitar and sings backing vocals. Songwriting collaborations have included Madeleine Peyroux, Lizz Wright, Melody Gardot, Maria Gadu, and Vinicius Cantuaria.
In 2013 Jesse joined John Zorn’s The Song Project, along with Mike Patton and Sofia Rei, writing lyrics for various Zorn compositions and singing them at festivals worldwide with an all-star band that features Marc Ribot on guitar, John Medeski on keyboards, and Zorn conducting. Two albums of the group have been released on.
Since then, production credits include albums for Julian Lage, Forro In The Dark, and Petra Haden, who recorded an entire album of Jesse’s songs, entitled “Seemed Like A Good Idea – Petra Haden Sings Jesse Harris” (Sunnyside Records). Harris and Haden are currently on tour in support of that release.