INNER VIEWS with JESSE BAEZ
Jesse Baez is a Guatemalan R&B artist from Chicago with a happy-go-lucky attitude, sad boi sound, and a voice that flows like melted butter.
Baez already has a name for himself in the Latin music world but the rising artist is proving he’ll take the U.S. too. Baez wowed the New York crowd from the iconic SOB’s stage on Friday, with a Fendi bucket hat fixed on his head, whiskey in hand, and a signature smize etched on his face.
The SOB’s show was a cozy one where the Latin and proud crowd swayed under the red and blue lights to Jesse’s latest heartbreak song Malibu and started to get rowdy for the upbeat tracks Siempre and Fácil. Shit, even my roommate who doesn’t know a lick of Spanish was getting hype to his music.
As the towering singer took the stage you could tell he’s already got a round-up of hardcore fans - some shouting out every damn lyric without missing a beat. Jesse thanked everyone for showing up at the intimate venue - on God I had never heard him speak in English before - and he shouted out his OG Guatemala fans and cousin in the room.
When he was on stage, Jesse didn’t seem the slightest bit phased at the prospect of pioneering a new American audience. He closed his eyes, took a sip of his whiskey, joked with his trusted DJ Yoshi and genuinely had fun during the show, one of his last on his North America Tour: Amor en Español.
While his show seemed like an easy job done, his career has been eight years in the making. A long road that he paved for himself.
“I was like I’m just going to start making music and for me, I was on a farm in Guatemala, so it was really tough for me to believe I could be that person but I really, really believed. Sounds weird but I was like this is me - I’m going to make music and it stuck,” he said.
Jesse’s music career began with an edgy Spanish cover of The Weeknd’s Tell Your Friends, dabble in electronic with Dillon Francis on Quiero Saber, then get into his feels with his latest woozier hits Apagar La Luz (my personal favorite) and Egoismo. In his sound and style, we get a taste of his diverse roots with bits of Chicago swag interlaced with a Latin groove.
With two EPs on his back, Baez and Turbo, and another set to be released in January 2020 fittingly entitled Nitro, things are only speeding up for the singer who already boasts a dedicated fan base in Central and Latin America. Shit, maybe stans is a better word. Jesse laughed when I asked him his craziest fan experience and he said he once let slip the name of his hotel and a group of girls showed up and started banging on doors after a show in Monterrey, Mexico.
“Coming here is kind of like starting over again. Here I’m kinda like an up and coming artist again. It’s cool because it grounds you. You kinda get the sense that you have more work to do,’ he said.
When I asked him what his dream goal was, I was surprised it wasn’t some big record deal or flashy award. “I want people to run with whatever they like,” he told me.
"I don’t have any professional training or anything like that. I just really enjoy making music. I’ve always felt that everyone enjoys something, it’s just hard to believe that’s what you’re made to do. I just want people to believe in themselves and run with whatever they like."
With some big collabs in the works for release later this year, Jesse is a rising star and certainly one to watch. You’ll thank me later. You’re all welcome.