j solomon is the solo project of 18 year old, Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter jesse moldovsky. born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania, jesse takes inspiration for his songwriting from the nature that surrounded his upbringing. at a young age, jesse began writing poems, and a few years later he picked up a guitar and started writing songs. since his first release in April of 2018 (Hazel Eyes), j solomon has garnered over 450,000 streams and counting across platforms. j solomon’s sound draws from genres such as folk, neo-soul, mellow rock, and laid-back acoustic, with a retro feel and timeless lyrics. Whether he is playing solo or with his band, jesse attempts to retain his vulnerable, emotional tone in order to best represent his art to the masses.
You’ve seen success at such a young age! Tell us about your musical background and how you got to where you are today.
Thank you! I’ve been writing songs for most of my life, lots of poems and lyrics, and I started playing guitar when I was 12 or 13 (so about 7 years now I guess). Most of my musical development came from playing guitar and writing songs in my room, and I never really felt ready to play my music in public until I was around 17. Over the past two or so years, I’ve performed over 100 times, recorded a lot of music, and tried my best to learn as much as I can about music as both an art and a business.
How did you first come to classify yourself under the umbrella of Folk? What does that mean to you and who are some Folk artists that you love or respect?
Folk just made sense— when I started going by j solomon, I was just a guy with an acoustic guitar. When I started playing shows and pursuing music as a career, the Philadelphia Folksong Society’s Music Co-Op was an amazing opportunity for my development, so that really tied me into Folk even more. Growing up, my mom played a lot of James Taylor, so I’d say he was probably my first Folk inspiration. Since then, I’ve grown to love many folk artists like Gregory Alan Isakov, Andy Shauf, and Wild Child, and I take a lot of inspiration from artists like Bon Iver, Jack Johnson, Elliott Smith, Shakey Graves, Wilco, and many, many more.
You’re currently a student in New York at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Tell us how being a student of music has affected your new songs.
I just finished up my first semester at NYU Clive Davis! Studying the music industry has been huge for me— I’m working to become a knowledgeable and cognizant musician and business person. Learning complex music theory and recording techniques has started to influence the way that I write and record my music— my upcoming project, Cobalt, showcases some of this, and I’m excited to show it more in later projects.
For you, what is the most important part of the songwriting process?
The lyrics have always been the most important part of the song for me. I’m pretty obsessed with words, not just in their meaning but also in the way they look and sound. I keep a running list of phrases that I think sound interesting, and eventually some of them find their way into my songs.
You have an EP Release show happening at WCL on January 31! What can we expect from the new EP and from the release show?
I’m super excited for the release show! Fun fact, the first stage I ever performed on was at World Cafe Live for their open mic. It’s a full-circle moment for me to be able to come back to my hometown and headline a show at the same venue. I’ll be playing with my full band— they’re crazy talented musicians who really help to bring the songs to the next level— as well as some good old solo acoustic songs.
Anything you would like to add?
Make sure to listen to my new EP Cobalt when it releases on January 31st, 2020! Also come out to support at the release show if you’re in town! I’m always looking to make new connections and new opportunities, so feel free to email me at email@example.com.