Jesse Lynn Madera is a multi-faceted singer-songwriter who weaves a blend of pop, folk, blues, Americana, and jazz influences into her piano-driven compositions. Her vocals are powerful and haunting in one instant, and light, whimsical, and sweet in the next as she moves seamlessly and effortlessly across genres. A brief listen to just a few of her songs - the accordion-driven, colorful, and catchy “¡Hola Papi!"; the melodic, optimistic, acoustic pop sounds of “Revel;” and the dramatic virtuosic “Dante” – immediately telegraphs that this is an artist who goes where her muse takes her.
“I love so many genres,” says Madera. “When I sit down at the piano to write, it’s a mixed bag. To me, music is music, and I go with how I’m feeling in that moment. The simple truth of human emotion and experience creates an endless palette. I listen to all kinds of different music and my influences are equally diverse. Inspiration is everywhere!”
Born in West Virginia, Jesse’s childhood years were rooted in music. She lived near her grandparents, self-taught musicians whose 'stage' was either the back porch or the living room, and began playing her grandmother’s upright piano around the time she started walking. Due to a series of job transfers offered to her mother, her family embarked upon numerous cross-country moves over a seven-year period that began when Jesse was just four years old. In part, she credits these moves as helping her develop a rich interior world that led to songwriting at an early age. “Music kept me company. It became my passion and best friend.”
By the time she was 11 years old, her family moved to Houston where she would remain until she graduated from the famed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Following graduation, she studied classical theatre for a year in a conservatory program led by renowned director Gerald Freedman at North Carolina School of the Arts before enrolling in New York University’s acclaimed Tisch School of the Arts to study acting. Before graduating in 2004, she was accepted into an experimental theatre program in Amsterdam. After graduation, Jesse remained in New York and turned her full attention to music. Holding down a number of jobs so she could hone her craft, she was eventually booking venues like The Bitter End, Living Room, Rockwood Music Hall, Cutting Room, Highline Ballroom and was in the cast of a musical that was reviewed by The New York Times.
Meeting her future husband, Hemky Madera, in 2010 was the prompt to move to Los Angeles. While she focused on raising her two sons, George and Jack, Jesse continued to write, and in 2020, released her debut record, Fortunes. The album was widely acclaimed and had a strong impact on fans and critics alike. From the captivating string arrangements by one-man orchestra Stevie Blacke (Olivia Rodrigo, Pink, Rihanna, Chris Stapleton), to Jesse’s compelling lyrical storytelling (labeled “Cohen-esque” by one writer), Fortunes, cemented Jesse’s place in the music industry as an up-and-coming artist of note.
Jesse is set to release her version of “Unchained,” the haunting, gripping, song originally recorded by Johnny Cash and produced by Rick Rubin in 1996. Madera’s track, out February 24, is the production debut of singer-songwriter powerhouse, Dan Navarro (Lowen & Navaro), and engineered by multi GRAMMY award-winner, Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Sting, and The Bangles.) It is the first offering from her forthcoming album Belle Sent Me, to be released in 2023.
Whether performing solo on the piano or with her entire band, Jesse’s live performances have earned her a devoted following in Los Angeles and New York City. The Maderas presently reside in Los Angel with their two sons and a menagerie of four-legged family members.
Praise for Jesse Lynn Madera
“Madera’s upbeat and sunny personality is in contrast to the serious tone her music takes. Her…emotive voice and stormy piano…harness the feelings she’s been trained to express through music [and] her style has emerged into a sound that is exquisitely individual.”
Thursday August 3rd from 1:35 PM - 2:25 PMat Jim's Place / Wooden Nickel Back Patio
Thursday August 3rd from 7:20 PM - 8:10 PMat Lawrence University Harper Hall Listening Room
Friday August 4th from 4:05 PM - 4:55 PMat Stone Arch Brewpub North Lot Stage