It wasn’t long for Cali synth-pop artist Lincoln Jesser to set the music blogosphere a-buzz. After circulating online a series of high-flying tracks, the young songwriter looks toward his latest creation, debut album Modern Color. B3’s Geovani Donaires recently had the chance to catch up with the rising pop star to chat about his production prowess, high school bands, and (…of course) Elton John. Have a look at their conversation below.
B3: It’s an exciting time for you. Your debut album, ‘Modern Color’ drops on the 23rd of this month. Is there a theme to the album? And, were there any noteworthy inspirations while working on it?
LJ: It is an exciting time! This album has been in the works for about a year literally, but from a philosophical standpoint I’d say I’ve been building up to it since I moved out to LA 5 years ago. It’s a reflection of who I am not only as a musician but as a human being, about who we all are, about what we have in common and the things that distract us from happiness. But it’s also about remembering that most of the time, it’s better to say “fuck the over-analysis” and just enjoy life for what it is. Each of us has so much power to paint our individual realities the way we desire, more power than any generation of humans has ever had, so it’s up to us to use Modern Color to our advantage.
B3: You produce and write everything yourself, do you ever find that as a liberating or more confined experience?
LJ: Most of the time I find it liberating because I’m a bit of a control freak, but it can definitely get lonely and frustrating too. When I’m in the thick of working on a song, I find myself unable to really focus on anything else…if I’m stuck for a while on a particular lyric or passage, my life tends to go on standby. And there have definitely been times where my relationships have been affected by that. But the feeling when I finally connect the dots makes the loneliness and frustration worthwhile…and my real friends forgive me 🙂
B3: You’ve been in bands before. You were Yuna’s guitarist before going solo. Was being a solo artist always Plan A? When did the idea of starting your own band cross your mind?
LJ: I started writing my own solo songs at 13, but didn’t really begin performing until I started a band with my friends in high school. While I was involved with it, the band was pretty much my main musical focus. The summer after graduation was when I first really began exploring what I could achieve on my own, via a more electronic musical medium. I never had a very specific vision of what my long-term project would look like beforehand, I think it evolved pretty naturally. Yuna and I share management (Indie-Pop) which is how we met and became friends; she needed a guitarist/programmer and I was of course a huge fan of hers with a huge desire to get out and learn and experience live music on a much larger scale than anything I’d done before. But yeah, throughout all our touring together, I tended to spend my downtime in the green room corners, making my own stuff with a laptop and headphones (sometimes to everyone else’s dismay, haha).
B3: I noticed on Instagram you have a picture of Elton John. What’s interesting and awesome about this picture is the comment you posted stating, “he hit replay so many times that he hurt himself.” Tell us about that?
LJ: It’s so funny, so many people have asked me about that. Unfortunately, I’ve never actually met Sir Elton…I just came across that image and decided to Instagram it as a joke! I guess it looked like a real iPhone snap though. lol
B3: You recently performed at the Sunset Music Festival. How did you prepare yourself before stepping out on stage? Do you have any special or crazy rituals?
LJ: Yeah, I performed at The Roxy, which was a big milestone for me. I’ve seen a ton of inspiring shows there since I moved to the city…to perform there myself was definitely an honor. I like to do some pushups before my sets, to get the blood pumping a little bit. And occasionally a shot of Jameson.
B3: What’s next for Lincoln Jesser? What does 2015 hold?
LJ: I’ve got some visuals on the way for a few songs off Modern Color. Besides that, plenty of new music. I don’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
Reviewed by b3