Fri. Nov 27th, 2020

#MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with rock royalty Jesse Clegg

The beloved SA muso has a new track, ‘Speed of Light’, out now.

musicexchange rapid fire qa with rock royalty jesse clegg - #MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with rock royalty Jesse Clegg

As one of South Africa’s most rated singer-songwriters, guitarists and pianists, Clegg has created some of his best work while in Los Angeles. Under normal circumstances he often finds himself working under pressure, but add a looming travel ban and Clegg was in uncharted territory in March.

Thankfully, he managed to make magic in the studio and get back to South Africa just before complete lockdown. 

Clegg inspired by upbeat new track

The result is his long-anticipated new hit single, Speed of Light, an upbeat, pop-inspired track about how life can still hold good surprises even when we are at our lowest ebb.

“The song is written from the perspective of someone who is dealing with disappointment and regret, and then suddenly stumbles into an experience that allows him to rediscover his passion and feeling of connection,” Clegg said.

“It’s ultimately about how, even at our lowest points, life can still hold some inspiring surprises.”

Clegg wrote and produced the song with Nick Furlong (Avicci, 5 Seconds of Summer, Kygo, Steve Aoki) and Nick Petricca (lead singer of Walk the Moon). The track was mixed by Tim Pagnotta, Grammy-winning producer for Blink 182, Neon Trees and Walk the Moon.

Speed of Light comes on the back of Clegg’s previous chart-topping hit, Let It Burn, which marked his first new original music since the release of I’ve Been Looking in March 2018, the first and only collaboration he did with his late father, Johnny Clegg.

The South African catches up with Jesse Clegg

a8f787a3 jesseclegg1 - #MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with rock royalty Jesse Clegg
Jesse Clegg’s new track is about finding the positive amid disappointment and regret. Image: Supplied

The new decade means?

I have a lot of exciting prospects coming up and I can’t wait for things to go back to normal. This year has definitely changed my perception of how to engage with the future. I feel optimistic but there are a lot of challenges facing the world right now and we all have a responsibility to be a part of the solution. 

Retirement will happen when?

I don’t see myself retiring from music. Music will always be a big part of my life.  

What does music mean to you?

It gives me purpose, a means of expression, an outlet and a way of understanding my life. 

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

 Songwriting.

Which living person do you admire most and why?

I admire David Attenborough a lot. He has devoted his entire life to fighting for the environment and, right now, that message couldn’t not be more vital. 

What is your most treasured possession?

My Tailor acoustic guitar.

It’s your round — what are you drinking?

Whisky on the rocks.

Dream gig to do?

 I’d love to play at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the Colorado Desert.

If you were not a musician, what would you do?

I would probably be a writer — either journalism or literature. 

Pick five words to describe yourself

  • Introvert
  • Passionate
  • Control freak
  • Sensitive
  • Open-minded

Your five favourite SA songs at present? 

  • Juluka — Simple Things 
  • Springbok Nude Girls — Blue Eyes 
  • Sun El Musician — Akanamali 
  • Savuka — Jericho  
  • Black Coffee — We Dance Again 

Greatest movie ever made?

I have a lot of favourite movies. Right now the movie that is coming to mind is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

What song changed your life?

 Fleetwood Mac’s Dreamer.

Who do you love?

 My family and my cats.

Top of your bucket list?

I’d like to spend a month travelling through India.

What do you complain about most often?

Traffic! 

What is your fear?

Not knowing what the future holds. 

Happiness is?

Performing is a great source of happiness.

On stage I tend to?

 Lose myself in the moment. 

The best life lesson you have been taught?

Know thyself. 

Where would you like to be right now?

I’d love to be in Los Angeles, working on my new album. 

Do you do charity work and if yes, what do you do?

Yes, I’ve worked with many charities — the Smile Foundation, the Click Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Paws R Us and several others. 

Wishes and dreams?

 To make music that connects and brings joy and meaning to people’s lives. 

WATCH: Jesse Clegg impresses with new single

  • Website: www.jesseclegg.com
  • Facebook: @JesseCleggMusic
  • Instagram: @jesseclegg
  • Twitter: @Jesse_Clegg
  • YouTube: @JesseCleggOfficial

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#MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with Springbok Nude Girls’ Theo Crous

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