After spending the past couple of years working behind the scenes as a producer and/or a touring musician alongside The Marías, Claud, Maude Latour, and Brandt Orange, 20-year-old industry multi-talented Jesse Munsat finally steps into the spotlight with his debut single, “Where He Slept When He Stayed Here.”
Written after a trip to visit a long-distance love interest went wrong, Munsat expertly juxtaposes a smooth, dreamy synth with a raw vocal. The dissonance between the two forces reveal his struggle to move with candor.
Under the mentorship of pop hitmakers John Ryan and Julian Bunetta (One Direction, John Legend, Maroon 5, Charlie Puth), Munsat completed “Where He Slept When He Stayed Here,” as well as the rest of his forthcoming album, All Our Talks Are Silent, set to release later this fall.
We sat down to chat with the new artist to ask him about his influences, the story behind his first single, and his work behind the scenes.
OTW: This is your first single, but you’ve been working in music much longer than this, in various other roles… Can you tell me a little about your background and why you decided to start releasing your own music independently?
JM: Yeah most of what I’ve been doing recently has either been as a producer/keys player for other artists or in studios working for other producers. My background is really as a songwriter and pianist though, and all of my production stuff started with me doing my own music. Working for other people has kept me really busy for the past couple years, and I’ve been able to get pretty far just through the technical skills I have, but the core of it all for me has always making my own music. It’s honestly just hard to make time to focus on it when there’s always people hitting you up for gigs and sessions, which I guess feels like a more definite route to a stable career? It’s a lot to take on for other people though, and I was just starting to get a bit run down from it. Everything fell into place with this release around the same time I became ready on a personal level to take some time for myself and say all of these things which I’ve been sitting on for so long. Releasing my own stuff now feels like a really natural next step in the multi-faceted career I’m hoping to have.
OTW: How did your work with other artists impact your own songs?
JM: I definitely got way better as a producer just through constantly having music to work on, and in some ways I’m able to put less pressure on myself when it’s not my name going on the release. The artists I’ve worked with have been really different from one another, too, so that’s helped me get comfortable with lots of different sounds and styles. When I sit down to make something for myself, what comes out is usually a combination of everything I’ve been working on and listening to, so as much exposure as I can have to other people and ideas just gives me that much more to work with.
OTW: Who are some of your all-time greatest influences as a musician?
JM: Ooh I loved Gavin DeGraw as a kid, he’s such an amazing writer. That was the music that I really developed my sense of how to craft a song from. James Vincent McMorrow is a favorite - specifically the way he writes slow, kind of folky songs but then produces them to be these banging synthy-pop tracks. I look up to Mac Miller so much, as a writer and producer, but also just as an artist how thoughtful he was about himself and the world, and the way he was able to put that into his music. Had a huge Chance the Rapper phase in high school, too - the way he writes for his voice and the lines he was able to break down between genres was a huge influence on me.
OTW: What’s the story behind this song?
JM: It’s about a girl I went to high school with, we had both moved away but were still talking all the time, it got kind of deep, and I thought we both had developed feelings for each other. I decided it would be a good idea to go visit her, which obviously turned out being really bad. I got to her place, and spent the first night just listening to her talk about all the other people she had been with so far. We were sharing her bed, and even when we were lying down she was telling me about someone else she had been sleeping with right where I was. I ended up being awake the whole night, just like by myself pushed up against the wall, and I wrote this in bed the next morning.
OTW: Why did you select “Where He Slept When He Stayed Here” as your first single?
JM: It kind of just happened that way. The album is pretty musically diverse I think, but it‘s also directly supposed to tell the story of my last three-ish years. It was hard to choose one song whose sound represented all the others, but this felt like the best place to start trying to explain the whole story of the record.
OTW: I know this is the first of many songs you will be releasing… Which of your unreleased songs off your debut album are you most excited about?
JM: There’s one called “Do You Love Me or Not” which I think is my favorite… can’t decide whether to make it a third single or just put it on the album though.
OTW: Who are some of your Ones to Watch?
JM: Ah there’s so many!! Mato Wayuhi, Maude Latour, Michael Casper, and Brandt Orange are all friends who are making really amazing music. I found this dude Nyan on someone’s Instagram; he only has one song out but it’s dope. There’s also a girl named Remi Wolf who I don’t know at all, but everything I’ve heard has been so sick.