A singer, songwriter, and producer from Southern California, Jesse fuses elements of hip-hop and atmospheric electropop into his stylized contemporary pop songs. Also known as lead singer of the alt-pop group the Neighbourhood, he made his Billboard Hot 100 debut with the band in 2013 when they hit the Top 15 with the song "Sweater Weather." He released his first solo album, &, in 2017.
Born in Newbury Park in the greater Los Angeles area in the early '90s, Jesse James Rutherford was a child actor who began earning film credits around the age of ten. In 2002, he had supporting roles in films such as 2002’s Life or Something Like It and Bundy and appeared on an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. By the late 2000s, he had begun singing in local bands, and in the early 2010s, he recorded a handful of collaborative songs under the hip-hop alias Jesse James.
In 2011, Jesse co-founded genre-blending pop group the Neighbourhood, who presented a mix of atmospheric indie rock, electronica, and hip-hop beats with melodic, R&B-inflected vocals. With Jesse singing lead, he was joined by guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, bassist Michael Margott, and drummer Brandon Fried. In 2012, the Neighbourhood released the EP I'm Sorry..., featuring such singles as "Sweater Weather" and "Female Robbery." The songs gained considerable attention online and helped build interest in the group. Two more EPs followed in 2013, leading up to the release of their full-length debut I Love You. Buoyed by continued popularity of "Sweater Weather," which climbed to number 14 in the Hot 100, as well as the single "Afraid," the album peaked at number 25 on the Billboard 200 and number five on the Top Alternative Albums chart. The following year, the group's mixtape album, #000000 & #FFFFFF, appeared as a free download online. Included on the release was the single "icanteven," featuring French Montana. In 2015, the Neighbourhood returned their sophomore full-length album, the Justyn Pilbrow-produced Wiped Out!, which peaked at number one on the alternative chart and spawned several singles including "R.I.P. 2 My Youth," "The Beach," and "Daddy Issues." The Hard EP followed in September 2017 and cracked the Billboard 200 as a surprise release.
Just two months later, Jesse made his solo debut with &, a set of equally eclectic pop songs issued by Columbia Records under the name Jesse Rutherford. His band then followed up Hard with the EP To Imagine in January 2018. Songs excluded from the EPs were soon collected on the To Imagine EP, released that March alongside the Neighbourhood's third full-length, The Neighbourhood. With production by Lars Stalfors (Foster the People, Cold War Kids), the album continued its streaks on the Billboard 200 and the Top Five of the alternative chart.
Now going by simply Jesse, the singer was featured on Benny Blanco's late 2018 release Friends Keep Secrets alongside acts like Khalid, Calvin Harris, and Halsey, and in April 2019, Jesse returned with the solo album Garageb&. Mostly self-produced, it included contributions from the production duo Take a Daytrip. ~ Marcy Donelson & Matt Collar