Jesse Jo has always been a creator of sorts. When she was six, she started playing with scraps of leather at her family’s jewelry business, Chrome Hearts. She layered and stapled the bits together, until, voila, her first design came to life: a super 90s style bag. Jesse had a knack for design at an early age. Shortly after her first creation, she became immersed in her family’s business which she’s still involved in today. But Jesse’s real love is and has always been her music. She rehearses and writes daily. This beauty grew up in Malibu and was raised on country tunes, among other sounds. The songs “Pancho and Lefty” by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard and “Sweet Jane” by the Cowboy Junkies had profound impacts on her. And Jesse and Lily actually go way back. As a kid, Lily lived with Jesse’s family for a year. Jesse’s newest music video, Dandelion, was even shot at Lily’s mother’s house. Jesse tours with The Vaccines this October and with Sunflower Bean in November. Get your tickets here, we know you want to.
Sun sign: Aries
So, tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do when no one is looking?
I have this weird thing with my friend where we make lil’ short movies on my finsta when I have my long nails and we pick things in the house to touch. It’s a texture thing and it drives my friends mad.
What guilty pleasures do you have?
Lots of candy and Food Network.
It seems these days, you split time between the family business (Chrome Hearts) and building your music career? Are you equally passionate about both projects and do they support one another or are you sometimes spread too thin?
If you had asked me this a a few years ago, I would say that they go hand-in-hand however, over the past few years my love for music has only grown deeper. My attention and time has evolved. Music is my number one commitment. I’m fortunate enough to have Chrome Hearts in my life and I do put a ton of energy into that, but when this magnetic force is pulling you one way and your body knows that you have to give every part of you to one thing, it’s hard to ignore that.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve designed for Chrome Hearts?
I would say it would be the pyramids I did, because it was the first piece of silver that I designed when I started working there and it’s a piece that will always be around. I feel like that was my initiation—my first stamp into the business.
How do you find balance?
I feel like balance has been a struggle lately. It’s why I’ve had to sit back and really look at what I want. I have so much energy and I do better if I am completely slammed with work. I believe that I can be creative at both, but sometimes I fall short if I indeed spread myself too thin. So, I have been separating my time a lot better. My heart is on that stage with my band and in the studio. But Chrome Hearts will always creep in. It’s in my blood.
How do describe your personal style?
I feel like my style is always changing a little. I believe I’ve gotten more feminine in the garments I chose. I am consistent with that tom-boy touch though. I feel like I’m a lil’ country... and a lil’ bit decade-y. I love a bombshell and I love to be naked.
How do you describe your sound?
Where do you draw inspiration for your music?
My friends, love, colors, my band, old movies, dreams.
What song has had a profound impact on you? Describe the first time you listened to it.
“Pancho and Lefty” by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard and “Sweet Jane” by the Cowboy Junkies. I grew up on country, so I’ll never forget hearing “Pancho” because it was actually only 6 years ago that I heard for the first time. It came on the radio when I was drivin’ into town and I was so taken by its beauty that I pulled over to look it up. It was the Willie and Merle version, but Townes Van Zandt actually wrote it. I ended up covering it a couple weeks later at a night called “Live at the Chrome Hearts Factory” where we were havin’ a live night and I surprised my dad and sang it for him. “Sweet Jane” for me is just pure love. I get a sense of freedom when I listen to it which makes me want to drive real far.
What three artists/musicians, dead or alive, would you want to share a meal with?
Merle Haggard, Poison Ivy of The Cramps, Elvis
What’s on the menu?
Baked potato, ribs, pickles and extra-dirty vodka martinis.
What do you want people to know about you?
I want people to hear my music. I hope it makes them feel. I love when people tell me their stories about when they heard my work for the first time. It’s important to me to share my songs.
How do you want this world to be different because you lived in it?
For responsibility to not be an option.
How do you want to be different because you lived in this world?
I just think we all have to lend our true selves, that’s how we make a difference while we are here.