“I don’t really have a daily routine. Every day is so different. If I’m home, I always, always have breakfast in the morning. I eat a pretty healthy breakfast. When I’m at home I exercise every day. I swim and do yoga. I usually play guitar for a bit in the morning. I travel a lot.
I never take a break from music. I’ve taken a break from elements, like from producing other people or co-writing with other people, but it’s always so I can pay attention just to myself and be more selfish. And it wasn’t to take a break from music; it was actually to immerse myself more in music.
I started playing piano when I was 10 and I was always really obsessed with music and records and lyrics. When I was a young kid I would read all the lyrics of the bands that I liked. I was really obsessed with The Who and I was obsessed with certain punk bands like Stiff Little Fingers. I was obsessed with Bob Dylan. In high school I went through all kinds of phases—rock phases and reggae phases and punk phases and then, of course, there was the music my father listened to, which was a lot of jazz, a lot of fusion, and soul. A lot of soul. I was exposed to a lot of music.
Songs can exist on a lot of different planes. Sometimes you start off writing about one thing and end up writing about something else, or it could be about two things at the same time or you could be writing about another person and also writing about yourself at the same time.
One of my favorites of my own songs is an old song called Rockaway. There’s something about that song. It just captures something. It reminds me of some friends, and a certain period of time.
Each time I make a record I’m solving a problem. I’m figuring something out that I did wrong before. Each time I make a record I think it’s the best record I’ve ever made. Eight or nine months later, I start to see things wrong with it and I want to fix all those things and do it differently next time. It’s this ongoing process of always trying to achieve something and never quite achieving it.
I never feel totally satisfied. I’m always striving to do more to reach new places, whether it’s musically or through new projects or working with different people. I’m never like, okay, this is it, I found it. Anytime that I’ve ever thought that, I was wrong. But those moments of illusion can be really happy moments, even if they’re not real.”
Jesse Harris is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer.