Meet Jesse Saint John, a Songwriter for Britney Who’s Going Solo
Jesse Saint John is a 27-year-old songwriter who’s penned hits for Britney Spears, Charli XCX, FOX’s Empire and Brooke Candy and co-written with the likes of Sia and Diplo.
2017 finds him making the transition into the spotlight, releasing his debut single MOVE in Spring. His honest and raw voice as a queer activist navigating the world of mainstream pop has been polarizing but ultimately effective as one of Idolators 2017 artists to watch and making the cut of the Out100.
Where are you from? How has that impacted who you are?
Orange County in Santa Ana. Always felt like a fish out of water so I moved to Los Angeles to get a more liberal creative experience.
Tell us about your new single!
Tim Pagnotta and I were in an exchange working on a new song. Inspired by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Uffy, Gossip sound going back and forth making edits on the song and decided that it would be an opportunity for this to be my song after writing music for other artist for so long. It’s a big change for me going into the studio thinking today we’re writing for me. Writing this song not thinking it was for me was perfect.
How would you describe your sound?
Alternative Pop. Vibrant. Dancey. Richer than fun, there’s a lot subtext up to interpretation.
You write songs for other artists like Brooke Candy, Britney Spears and Charlie XCX. What’s the process for writing music for other people?
Brooke and I have been friends since the get go so we already knew what we were looking for. Writing for Britney was a dream since I was 8 years old. Blackout influenced my whole life but it all depends on what they’re looking for sometimes they will reach out and you will already have and idea of what the artist wants and sometimes you’ll just make something the artist will really connect with. Future goals would be songs for Lana and Gaga.
Is it a mix of your aesthetic and theirs?
The songs always have a part of me. I would never pitch a song I wouldn’t sing, I would never sing something I wouldn’t pitch.
You don’t want to make something that you think they would sing this but you would never.
What are you working on right now?
I’m developing music for a potential album. Always evolving and creating.
Do you have plans for any music videos?
Oh yes! I think of the video while making the sound. I’ve actually have been playing with this idea that’s been lingering since middle school it’s very content heavy
Who are your musical inspirations?
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gossip, Lana Del Rey, Bowie, Prince, George Michael.
Bowie, Prince, and George Michael are so important to me because they represented no right way of expressing gender, strength, power, femininity or masculinity.
I know you’re very active on matters concerning trans youth and queer rights. Do you have any advise for people that would like to be more active in an impactful way?
It’s important that we all show up! Body count matters, if its important to you show up!
People are listening. We all have to live here together there’s no right way to be an activist. Call! If you don’t know what to say there’s always scripts online, writing it down or just calling and saying I’m calling because I oppose _______. Once you eliminate fear you can do anything. There is no wrong thing to say. Say what you feel. It’s not political, It’s basic human rights
Do you think you views on this topic this is evident in your music?
There’s an illusion to all of our dissatisfaction in my art. Move is fun with aggression and impact. Its not openly political but you will see layers being peeled back.
What is some advice you would give to young aspiring songwriters and singer?
Biggest piece of advice is what do you bring to the table, figure out why do you deserve to be at the table more than anyone else and perfect it. Don’t try to be malleable to fit in. Figure out why you’re valuable and learn how to market that. Be nice to everyone because it’s a small world in this industry and you are bound to work with them at some point in your career. PUT YOUR STUFF ONLINE! There are some many great resources like Youtube and Soundcloud where you can release music to see what people think and figure out how to market it.