Jesse was born in Johannesburg in 1988. By the time he was six months old he was on tour with his father Johnny Clegg and between 1988 and 1994 he spent at least 5 months a year on the road.He was a classic road kid and grew up back stage and on tour busses. In 1994 his father’s band broke up and the touring subsided. Jesse schooled in Johannesburg at Crawford College and matriculated with six distinctions in 2006.
Early on, Jesse carved out an independent direction for himself in the rock genre, very different from the world music style developed by his dad . As someone who grew up in the environment of a succesful musical father, he strived to express himself in the most authentic way possible and understood the imporatnce of being able to perform live.
With his second solo record, platinum-selling artist Jesse Clegg takes a bold step forward to create a rock ‘n roll record that is as true to the genre’s roots as it is visionary. Titled ‘Life On Mars’, the album sees Clegg make a pretty astonishing leap from his 2008 debut, “When I Wake Up” – which, in spite of the substantial sales, radioplay and nominations it earned, was now clearly only a first step into an exciting music career for the 22-year-old.
“If I can point to one thing that has changed in-between ‘When I Wake Up’ to ‘Life On Mars’ is that I now know that, no matter how hard or challenging the journey may be, my life lies in music,” confides Clegg.
It’s understandable that Clegg’s initial foray into music may have been tentative: a deep thinker, Clegg left school, with the idea of immersing himself in law. He’s still intent on completing his LLB at the University of Witswatersrand in Joburg, but over the past year he has poured his heart and soul into recording “Life On Mars”.
There’s also no doubt that holding Clegg back in the early stages of his music career was the not inconsequential matter of his lineage. As the son of one of South Africa’s most prolific and highly regarded musicians, Johnny Clegg, it wasn’t easy to present his own gifts without the context of his father’s enormously successful career.