When Jesse Royal was only a cub, the Lord revealed to his mother that she would have to release one of her sons to the world, proclaiming “he will be a psalmist, declaring righteousness and justice throughout creation.” As Jesse matured into a young lion, his mother observed in him a strong sense of integrity and a natural ability to positively affect those around him. But, it was his deep spirituality, passion for life and unique connection to music that would convince her that he was being molded to be used by the Creator.
Jesse David Leroi Grey, aka Jesse Royal, was born April 29, 1989. He enjoyed his early years in the hills of Maroon Town and the District of Orange in St. James before moving in the late 90’s with his mother and brother to join his father in Kingston. As fate would have it, Royal developed a special relationship with Daniel ‘Bambaata’ Marley (son of Ziggy Marley) at school. His friendship with Daniel proved to be fuel to the fire as they shared a deep passion for music and football. Their friendship evolved as they spent a great part of their childhood together. Soon the natural inclination confirmed they were simply brothers with different mothers. As these cubs became lions, so grew their devotion to music. With the help of longtime friend Curt ‘Qban’ White they began composing and creating their own music. And together they proceeded to fulfill what they knew was a predestined musical journey, designed to inspire, engage and unite people beyond all geographic borders.
After Jesse returned home from schooling abroad, he reestablished a relationship with high school friend and producer Kareem ‘Remus’ Burrell (son of Philip ‘Fatis’ Burrell). They began creating and composing music together, which developed into a Movement as they shared similar views on the social state of Jamaica.
Blessed with a voice that captures the pain and hunger of a ‘downtrodden’ people; Royal’s militant character and profound lyricism caught the heart of heralded reggae producer, Philip ‘Fatis’ Burrell. Fatis Burrell, affectionately called ‘Father’ had a great and pure impact on the ‘old soul’ of Jesse; as he credits him as an invaluable inspiration and one of the most influential individuals that he has ever encountered.
Over the last few decades, dancehall music has spread around the world and has become the predominant sound of Jamaica. Since the early 2010’s there has been a group of artists leading the charge of bringing back the roots reggae sound. Jesse Royal, Protoje, Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, and a few others are the faces and voices of what is referred to as the reggae revival. In 2015, Noisey featured them individually in a six part documentary series highlighting their influences, philosophies, motivations, and music.
In 2017 Jesse Royal released his debut album called “Lily of da Valley” produced by Kareem Burrell of the XTM.Nation that featured legendary musicians Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Donald Dennis, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith and Monty Savory. The album was received with critical acclaim and topped the Billboard Reggae Album charts.
Over the course of his musical journey, Jesse Royal has been blessed to work with some of the world’s most respected musicians and producers including Vybz Kartel, Noise Cans, Steve Aoki, Damian Marley, Major Lazer and many others.
In the spring of 2019, Jesse Royal released “LionOrder” featuring label mate and friend Protoje produced by Sean Alaric as the lead single for his upcoming second album. The project is slated for a summer 2020 release.