At only 22 years-old, Jesse Boykins have been writing, performing, and producing music for most of his life. Boykins got his start in the church choir and growing up in Jamaica, and Miami, he developed a taste for Motown Classics, R&B, reggae, hip-hop, salsa, and bachata. He cites Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Sizzla, Bilal, D’Angelo, and Musiq Soulchild as his influences. However, through innovative musical arrangements, a unique vision, and a soothing voice, Boykins successfully creates a sound of his own that blends old school jazz and R&B with a modern edge. Boykins is the voice of the struggle, bringing that organic R&B music back to our ear drums, while bringing that Dopemine back to our hearts.
Singersroom – How did your time as a youth in Jamaica affect your creativity?
Jesse Boykins III – Growing up in Jamaica was different because it was strict. It was so strict, I had to wear uniforms every day. Everyone was into church. Music was just something we had to do; It was part of our everyday life. My cousins had instrument lessons and played the drums. I sang and had voice lessons. My aunt that raised me was so strict, the homework had to be done right after school. You had to get straight A’s. If I didn’t, I would get a beating. It was real school based. Everyone stayed focused; there was no time for TV so when I moved to Miami it was kinda weird. I’m glad I moved.
Singersroom – When did you wake up in the morning and know you were going to be a singer?
Jesse Boykins III – When I was growing up I always sang in school choirs. Teachers would say you sound better than the other kids. It was like people telling me that I was good at singing. But I think it was probably fifth grade when me and this girl sang this song called “Circle of Friends.” She did alright!
Singersroom – She was lame? Did they boo her? You booed her?
Jesse Boykins III – I didn’t boo her. I was singing and everyone was just talking about how great my performance was.
Singersroom – So how was the transition from Jamaica to the Miami? How did it make you into the artist you are today?
Jesse Boykins III – I didn’t really get to listen to anything but gospel in Jamaica. In Miami, I was trying to catch everything. Most of the music I listened to was Bachata and Salsa. I didn’t really know what they were saying but it was music that all came together to influence me. But by that time I met my mentor Ms. Hunt, a black teacher from Georgia that taught me from sixth grade all the way to high school. She introduced me to everything. I would ask for CDs and tapes that she suggested and I would listen to them. I looked up to her. I experienced a wide range of music.
Singersroom – Does your music reflect your life style?
Jesse Boykins III – Most of my music has to do with women. So most of it’s true, it’s either something I went through or something someone I know been through.
Singersroom– What’s the New School?
Jesse Boykins III – The New School recruited me because I went to the Grammys for the jazz ensemble. They go out and recruit the new hot artist. I wasn’t going to go to college. A lot of cats were in and out of there. I met my band at the New School. It was a privilege because these cats were already in the game and they were putting me on some knowledge. We got class and we talk about gigs and who’s coming out that’s hot.
Singersroom – Who is hot coming out on the scene in the NYC and in the industry?
Jesse Boykins III – Tiemba Lockheart is killing the scene. I’m hotâ¦ I got that Dopamine out. TL Cross is dope; everything, his songs, writings, and performance. This cat Lavell Evans that sings with him is dope. He’s from Harlem we write together. The passion is lacking. It’s so saturated with nonsense it’s hard to find people that are really sincere about this music. There are cats that can sing; Trey Songz and J. Holiday are singers. Trey Songz speaks for my age, he’s hood but he’s also a romantic. I got respect for cats like that but there are these other cats that are there for the wrong reason. Music affects people. I don’t have respect for people that don’t want to bother to write a song. I like Bilal because he had mood music. Go to a Bilal concert it’s that mood you set. People are not making albums. You are suppose to bring people in to where you at. I want my music to be like my movie. I want someone to put my music in when they are chilling with their shorty.
Singersroom â What would you choose if you had toâ¦ money or music?
Jesse Boykins III – If money wasn’t an issue then every song would be about saving the world. I’m not selling out but money makes the world go round.
Singersroom â How did you come out with this album title?
Singersroom â What is Dopamine?
Jesse Boykins III – Dopamine is like when you fall in love with someone; I call it the chemical for love. That’s basically what the album is about. My favorite joint is called “Think” inspired by Curtis Mayfield but lyrically it’s about me. My second favorite joint is “Tabloid”â¦ it’s basically a metaphor for gossip. Another favorite joint is “Baby I Don’t Know”â¦ it’s about when you’re caught at that thought but you know you really shouldn’t â¦like why are you still in my head.
Singersroom – Do you have a special someone?
Jesse Boykins III – It’s kind of hard to do that, it’s hard to give your all to your work and someone. It’s like they come to a show and I’m singing to someone else. It don’t work. I tried it once but it didn’t work. Because of situations like being in the studio instead of going to the movies. Females fantasize about you but its different when they are in your world.
Singersroom – How do you find a female that likes you for you?
Jesse Boykins III – It’s hardâ¦it’s so hard to tell when someone is sincere. When they could be saying in their head in two years I’ll have a Range if I stay with himâ¦I need someone that’s going to hold me down even if I decided to change my whole direction and go to dentistry school or something.
Singersroom – Do you think you have met that special women and messed it up? Jesse Boykins III – Well cats are young and they are going to do some dumb stuff. That’s one thing about the album because it talks about things I don’t know and should have known. Just being young and reckless. Some cats don’t realize ever but this album is almost like an apology.
Singersroom – If you were giving advice to femalesâ¦what would it be from a male’s perspective?
Jesse Boykins III – It’s funny you asked me that I was eating with my people Jay and talking about that… dudes are not that complex. There are cats that have goals and some that don’t. I surround myself with people that have goals so females don’t have to wonder I know what I want to do. I just need that support. When I come home and I’m stressed I just need someone to listen. Like if I’m stressed can I get a massage? So I just want some support, if I’m hungry feed me and some affection that’s all and I’ll give it back as much as I can. Those are the three things support, food, and affection. Some girls are like we got to go out. I feel like I just want to be with you! I don’t want to be seen. Females have become so worldlyâ¦love and relationships are not a reality show. It’s real life.
Singersroom – You’re not going to find love at the club? You’re not going to fall in love with the bar tender?
Jesse Boykins III â I ask why is the girl at the club. I want to meet a girl at a coffee shop or library. I want to get bagged around some books not in a club. Why go to a strip club when you could get your girl to do it way better.
Singersroom – What’s up with the strip club?
Jesse Boykins III â It’s wack cause I know they don’t want me. They want money to buy shoes or a bags. I’m not going to lie I done feel in love with a stripper (lol) but for the most part I know the deal.
Singersroom â Does Jesse Boykins III go on dates?
Jesse Boykins III – It’s always awkward with datesâ¦ I’ll make it a date but I’m not going to make it an official date. I’ll say let’s meet at this time and I’m paying for dinner. Just want to skip all the fakeness. It’s just finding a way to break tension. Maybe go watch a funny movie then it will break off into real conversation. That’s how I break the ice by just saying I’m feeling you and keeping it real…it’s a vibe thing you know when there is a connection.
Singersroom – What’s distinguishing you from everyone else?
Jesse Boykins III – Everything I do is because I want toâ¦I’m going to do it if it’s mainstream or not. I want to be involved in every aspect of my career from producing to singing I want to be involved. A lot of cats don’t name their own albums or write their own songs, a lot of cats just sing. I want to be in everything. I want to be involved from designing the CD cover to creating a concept for the video. I want to be a complete artist.
Singersroom– Give me a couple adjectives to describe these artist.
Jesse Boykins III – Stevie Wonder. Innovative. Real. He was skilled with detailed imageryâ¦ he always writing about seeing something.
Singersroom â Marvin Gaye.
Jesse Boykins III – Marvin Gaye. Patient. Passionate. Open minded because he went through so many styles to find his own.
Singersroom â Donny Hathaway.
Jesse Boykins III – Donny Hathaway. Amazing. Excellent vocal control. I don’t like cover songs but he had the ability to sing cover songs and make it his.
Singersroom â D’angelo.
Jesse Boykins III – D’angelo. I miss that cat. That man is slick with his vocals. He’s so laid back on the track. Naturalâ¦ everything is so natural. He’s dopeâ¦ he’s also an all around musician because he can play the keys and sing.
Singersroom â Jimmy Cliff.
Jesse Boykins III – Jimmy Cliff. Boo Yakaâ¦ Boo Yaka. I like how personal he was.
Singersroom â Eddie Murphy.
Jesse Boykins III – Eddie Murphy. Are you serious!!! Yeah singing,” Party all the time party all the time” You know Rick James produced it? I got it on my IPod.
Singersroom â Bob Marley.
Jesse Boykins III – Bob Marley. That man changed lives and influenced a lot of people. He influenced the world and was one of the first black international superstars. No matter where he was he would sell out.
Singersroom â Bilal.
Jesse Boykins III – Bilal. My man Bilal. He’s the definition of an artist. He could just lock himself in a room for a year and write â¦come out and just kill it. He’s a real artistâ¦he does art pieces. He is on a different level. I’m trying to do a show with him but he just got married and had a seed. —— By: Interview By Deyior Dunbar
Since 2005, Singersroom has been the voice of R&B around the world. Connect with us via social media below.