Jesse Witney is an independent artist who weaves Soul, Brazilian and Roots styles into uniquely Australian music. His thirst for exploration and love of world music have seen him journey abroad to share his music in the UK, Brazil, Germany and Hawaii.
Splendour in the Grass, Woodford, Island Vibe and The National folk festival are just some of festivals that Jesse has performed at in Australia. Internationally he has toured twice in Germany as the Jesse Witney Trio, and performed in Hawaii with Artists such as Tubby Love, Amber Lily and Charlie Magee (Formidable Vegetable Sound System).
The success of his crowdfunding campaign in 2018 took Jesse to Brazil with his Co-Producer, Thomas Mitchell to record at Carolina Studios in Rio de Janeiro, allowing Jesse to work with, and learn from some of the best musicians in the scene.
Witney’s debut full-length album Animal Cities, recorded between Australia and Brazil, embodies the joy, precision and infectious energy that people have come to know Jesse for. The first single off the Album, The System (Due out April 6), explores Jesse’s passion for a more socially equitable and environmentally responsible world.
Hailing from Gympie – A small Australian town – Jesse’s humble beginnings as the youngest child in a musical household were alive with the sounds of the banjo, clarinet and guitar. And if you came to the house and there was silence, you’d soon hear Jesse dancing around the house singing Britney Spears or The Spice Girls to annoy his dearly beloved.
In high school, Jesse formed a punk rock band – aptly named Better Than Britney – before going on to study contemporary music/guitar performance at Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales. It was here he had a chance encounter with a Brazilian guitar. Captivated, Jesse immersed himself in learning the culture. A year later he was in Brazil.
His first visit lasted seven months, marking the beginning of major influences to his musical style and collaborations. His has created Brazilian bands in cities around the world and sings fluently in Portuguese.
With a thirst for experience, Jesse has travelled and lived in Australia, Europe and South America, creating connections with individuals and cultures, and bringing to life two EPs: Dynamo and Be It.
Be It, which was produced with Phil Stack of Thirsty Merc, took him on tour around Australia. It was in this time that he was recruited to be a contestant on The Voice Australia. Opting to remain an independent artist, he instead busked the streets of Byron Bay, and moved to Berlin.
In Berlin Jesse formed a trio and went on tour around Germany, making important industry contacts with local producers. On a visit back to Australia, he fell from a roof while performing a house concert and was lucky not to have broken his back. Naturally, he took this poignant experience to write new music, and instead moved to Melbourne.
It is there that you will now find him working on the release of his debut album.
"One of my favourite voices emerging as an artist in these times" Tubby Love
"Every now and then you find a singer/songwriter that changes your mood every time you see them… they light up the room, indulge your senses, incite wild smiling and leave you buzzing from their good energy…. Jesse Witney is that character for me" – Pete Longworth, 2x New York Independent Film Festival Winner
“Beyond a shadow of a doubt Jesse turned out to be one of the most talented guitar players that I have taught in the 20 years that I have been at the University” Jim Kelly, Crossfire Member, Australian Guitar Legend and University Professor (Southern Cross University)