Vancouver-born songwriter Tobias Jesso, Jr. settled into his own style by singing his own material for his '70s-style singer/songwriter debut, but not before taking a bit of a detour.
While in Vancouver in the mid-2000s, he joined the indie rock band the Sessions as bass player, then moved with part of the band to Los Angeles to briefly back a young pop singer, Melissa Cavatti. After that work fizzled, and not confident in his own singing ability, Jesso set out to make a career for himself in Los Angeles writing songs for others. In 2012, after failing to find work as a songwriter and licking wounds from a recent breakup, he was hit by car while riding his bike (injuring his hand and having his bike stolen in the process), and the next day he learned that his mother had been diagnosed with cancer. The accumulated events prompted a move back to Vancouver. With his music equipment still in storage in Los Angeles, and deciding that songwriting would be relegated to a hobby, he used the family piano to write “Just a Dream" -- a father's lullaby to his newborn in light of a dream about an impending apocalypse -- for himself, and he sang it himself. He posted the song on social networking sites Facebook and YouTube, got good feedback from friends and soon strangers, and word began to spread about his work as he posted more material. He reached out to bassist/producer Chet "JR" White after hearing that his band Girls
, a favorite of Jesso's, had just broken up, and included links to his demos. This led to recording sessions with White and a record deal with True Panther. Producers Patrick Carney (the Black Keys, the Rentals
) and Ariel Rechtshaid (Kylie Minogue
, Vampire Weekend
) also worked on the record. As with the demos, singles released in 2014 and 2015 in anticipation of his debut album immediately created waves. Pop diva Adele
tweeted a link to his "How Could You Babe" video to her over 20 million Twitter followers, and Jesso was booked on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for his TV debut before the album was even released. Written entirely by Jesso and centered on his vocals and piano, the heartache-themed Goon was released in March of 2015. ~ Marcy Donelson, Rovi