The SoulBounce Q&A: Jesse Boykins III Talks Love, Discovery & Getting Over Being Creatively Shy

Photo Credit: Keith Estep
Photo Credit: Keith Estep

Jesse Boykins III is in a good place mentally, emotionally and musically. He’s on his last tour date in Washington, DC and dressed in gold lamé, because fashion. Sporting a sovereign Afro and pants and jacket he designed himself, Boykins is dancing freely in the clouds of the Howard Theatre’s steam. The audience sways to his electro-pop-soul fusion and every couple in the theatre is either lovingly gazing at each other or having a full-on make-out session. The power of Boykins and his music, mostly about love, knows no bounds, so we sat down with the eclectic singer after his performance to talk about his Love Apparatus, his creative outlets and how he’s finally comfortable with himself as an artist.

SoulBounce: So you just performed at the Howard Theatre. How’d you feel about the show?

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Jesse Boykins III: I thought it was wonderful. It’s my first time finally playing in DC at a, like, legit venue where I have a stage monitor, and I have a sound man, you know? The energy was there, the crowd was there, and the lights were making me feel good.

SB: That was a good light show.

JB: It was, right? So yeah I feel great about it, especially performing my new music at a venue like this, I thought it was very fitting.

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SB: Absolutely, and we love the new album. It sounds like you’re in space on Love Apparatus. Where were you exactly?

JB: I was probably in space. For the majority of the songs, I was in space.

SB: What planet would you say?

JB: Man, Saturn. Definitely Saturn.

SB: [laughs] So Love Apparatus is your first full-length solo album since The Beauty Created in 2008 and your EP Dopamine: My Life on My Back. Why did you wait six years?

JB: Umm, a lot of reasons. I was living life and a lot of things happened that weren’t under my control and the situation in which I wanted to make the music kinda like changed when Machine Drum, who collaborated on most of the project, moved to Berlin on me.

SB: This is Travis Stewart?

JB: Yeah, so I had to go back and forth between Berlin and New York, and he would come to New York and so finally, after all the touring and stuff, we finally got a chance to link up and finalize the album in 2013 and, you know, I had to make sure everything was legit and that we liked it after recording the music in 2009, 2010. So I just took my time with it.

SB: That’s pretty major that you waited for him.

JB: I feel like it’s important, you know, collaborating. I always like albums when you know where there’s like a Quincy Jones and a Michael Jackson, you know, in the sense that there’s two people masterminding the whole project. I’m a firm believer in that and I collaborate a lot in my productions, so it’s a good feeling to be able to finish it.

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