Monthly Artist Feature (February 2021) – Jesse Royal

Artist’s Name: Jesse David Leroi Grey

Artist’s Age: 31

Artform: Music

Name of Brand: Jesse Royal

When did you realize you had a passion for what you do?

Well in all honesty, the word passion gets definition when you become older. As a youth it was something I naturally loved. My grandmother was a choir director, so I use to frequent church. My mother was also in the choir. I heard music from that standpoint, and it awakened a spirit in me and from a tender age, I’ve held on to that. 

What is your educational background?

[I went to] Supreme prep in Montego Bay, [then] to Saint Peter and Paul prep in Kingston then Ardene High School. [I] did some brief things at other institutions and then COMC in Montego bay. I [also] went to Niagara College in Canada for 2 years [for the culinary arts].

What are some of the challenges you faced while trying to pursue your passion ?

Well, [I] faced many challenges, mentally, spiritually and physically also. Most of the challenges [I] have fought have been mental in terms of just breaking down the whole perception of potential and being brave enough to entertain certain ideas and dive full-force into these ideas with the belief that there is only one way it can go.

I’ve always been someone who travels by faith and not by sight.

Have you ever encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams and how did you deal with it?

I have definitely encountered people who have been skeptical. That is the world and that is also a part of you being the person who initially gets the vision. Everybody isn’t going to believe you right away, some will some won’t. But the more you express  your truth, and your reality is the more you force people to have no other option but believe. Even if they don’t want to believe, they have to accept it as what is reality. We accept good and bad criticism, because some time you have to know how to decipher what you need and when you need it. Sometimes some people’s word can be detrimental to you if you aren’t strong enough. I have always tried to judge myself before anyone else starts judging me, I question myself before anyone questions me. So, when people do come with questions that flick a switch in my head, I acknowledge it, address it and if it’s something that can help me move better and be stronger and it is coming from a righteous place, [I] hold on to it and soak it up, make it a part of who [I am], this whole thing is about growth. 

How do you react to those individuals now?

Well, (laughs) there is no reaction because [I] never made it a priority from the jump, [I am] so focused on [my] vision vs. proving people wrong.

[I] aim to prove jah right. 

Out of all your bodies of work which piece resonates with you most?

This is a song that is going to be on my next album is it called home, which I wrote for my daughter and came from a very honest place, it stirs up emotions every time I listen to it and I can definitely say it is one of my favourite pieces.

The word “ubuntu” means “I am because we are”; how have you seen that reflected in your own life?

It resonates with me, because I am truly standing on the foundation that my ancestors laid and also I do realize that whatever work I am doing now the youths after me will be standing on those, so we have to make sure that the path that we are paving, the messages that we are sending and the way we are living is in accordance with the ultimate goal which is getting black people back to the real glory.

What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?

First of all, understand that you aren’t walking Jesse royal’s path, you are walking your individual path, and once you address yourself honestly the world will open up to you and you will start to see yourself in ways you have never seen yourself before. Embrace that, don’t hold on to what you knew, embrace the unknown and be brave enough to feel like every other thing that was created by the creator is PERFECT. Everything was created perfectly, so likewise we were all created perfectly, wherever you are supposed to be you will shine effortlessly. I can’t paint a picture, but I have brethren and sistren who don’t take 5 minutes to create the most beautiful piece of art. [These same people] may say they can’t sing a song, [and] it doesn’t take me 5 minutes to create a beautiful piece of art. That is where we take everything from, owning up your uniqueness. That is  the only way you will have something to offer. 

What is something(quote or reminder) that you live by?

One of the things I live through is something my Mother left with me, everyday she used to remind us that “We can do all things through the creator who strengthens you”. I have also known that my fuel is divine, my energy, my life source, the wind beneath my sails is divine and that is something that helps me to push others and take it further time after time, Ya dig? 

“…the more you express  your truth, and your reality is the more you force people to have no other option but believe.”

~ Jesse Royal