Mzansi Profiles! Local,People Jesse Clegg Biography| Early Life, Music Career, Discography

Jesse Clegg Biography| Early Life, Music Career, Discography

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Jesse Clegg is a renowned South African singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist. He is the son of Johnny Clegg, one of South Africa’s most esteemed musicians and anti-apartheid activists.

Early Life

Jesse Clegg was born on July 25, 1988, in Johannesburg. From a very young age, he was immersed in the world of music, touring with his late father from the age of six months until 1994, when Johnny Clegg’s band disbanded.


Jesse Clegg Biography

Jesse Clegg Biography (Image Credit: Instagram @jesseclegg)


This unique upbringing allowed Jesse to experience life on the road, often spending five months a year traveling. He completed his schooling at Crawford College in Johannesburg, where he graduated with six distinctions in 2006

Though initially inclined towards a career in law, Jesse’s passion for music ultimately prevailed. He enrolled at the University of Witwatersrand to pursue an LLB but soon found himself deeply engaged in music production and recording.

Also Read: J Molley Biography| Early Life, Music Career, Drug Abuse, Suicide Attempt, Personal Life

Music Career

Rise to Fame

Jesse’s music career began in earnest with the release of his debut album, When I Wake Up, which received significant acclaim in South Africa. This success brought his talent to the attention of Canadian record producer David Bottrill, known for his work with internationally renowned artists.

Collaboration with David Bottrill

In pursuit of expanding his musical horizons, Jesse moved to Toronto to work with Bottrill. His second album, Life on Mars, was recorded at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario. The album was further refined by the expertise of recording engineer Bob Ludwig, who mastered it in New York.


Jesse Clegg Biography

Jesse Clegg Biography (Image Credit: Instagram @jesseclegg)

International Success

In 2014, Jesse embarked on an ambitious seven-week tour across the United States and Canada, performing 32 shows in 31 cities. His international presence grew as he played at notable festivals such as the CMJ Music Marathon, New Music Seminar, and the CBGB Festival. A highlight of this period was his performance on the main stage at the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival on June 14, 2014.

Third Studio Album: Things Unseen

Returning to the studio in 2015, Jesse began working on his third album, Things Unseen, with producer Dennholm Harding. The album’s first single, “Use Me,” released in July, quickly climbed the national radio charts, reaching the No. 1 spot on several stations and maintaining a position in the iTunes Top 40 for three months. The second single, “Souvenir,” followed in December, leading up to the album’s launch in June 2016 at a sold-out event in Johannesburg. The album debuted in the iTunes Top 10 albums chart. Another notable single from the album, “Breathing,” featured a collaboration with Shekhinah and became the second No. 1 single from the album.

Ongoing Achievements

Jesse Clegg has achieved remarkable success with six Top 10 singles and extensive tours across South Africa. As an ambassador for the Nelson Mandela 46664 Foundation, he has performed at prestigious events such as the Mandela Day Concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York. His contributions to music have earned him three nominations for the South African Music Awards.


Studio Albums

  1. When I Wake Up (2008)
  2. Life on Mars (2011)
  3. Jesse Clegg Live & Unplugged (2012)
  4. Things Unseen (2016)

Jesse Clegg’s studio albums have made him a platinum-selling success in South Africa, cementing his place in the music industry.


JESSE CLEGG- HDS Entertainment

Interview: The Big JC – Jesse Clegg

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