Interview with indie singer-songwriter Jesse Denaro

By on May 7, 2014

Jesse Denaro

Pat Capriglione Photography

Upon hearing Jesse Denaro’s new album, Dear Love, set for independent release on May 13th, listeners may not know the amount of work Denaro did to create music that resounds with love, longing, and positivity through turmoil.  An excerpt from his Bio states:

“I believe true success isn’t found through YouTube or some dumb social media website,” the artist shares. “It’s found through hard work. Through touring in a broken van, playing to no one, making barely any money and sleeping on stranger’s floors. It’s about getting the nine-to-five job, to pay for your dreams. Nothing comes easy.”

Denaro has definitely undertaken a substantial amount of effort in the making of Dear, Love. Once I read that Jesse Denaro wrote the songs, played most of the instruments, partially engineered the album and did design work for it, I was determined to find out more. In a society where hard work is not often seen as valuable or gratifying as instant success, Denaro stands out for his candor about what is takes to create sincere music which reflects his passion.


HHM: I truly admire your work ethic as outlined on your Facebook page bio, I am curious as to what you do to earn money to enable your musicianship besides playing shows.

Jesse: I am a database analyst & project scheduler for a medical company in New Jersey. Real fun stuff, I tell ya.

HHM: Since your parents are musical, were they concerned about you living the somewhat uncertain life of a performer?

Jesse:  Not really actually. They have been ridiculously supportive and helpful throughout my whole life / career as a musician. Their support and belief in me is a big reason why I still push myself.

HHM: How has your degree in Recording Arts assisted you in the process of making this first album, Dear Love?

Jesse:  I am able to understand all aspects of music now. Especially the technical side. I can lend my helping hand to the engineer with finding the correct tones, or picking the correct microphone/placement. I understand the amount of work that goes into a recording and have a ridiculous appreciation for full-time engineers.

HHM: How has doing almost all aspects from playing instruments to singing then background work like engineering and designing been a learning experience for you?

Jesse:  It’s been an awesome experience. I am free to create and expand on my ideas. I am a novice in almost every program ever, so I create very mediocre things. BUT, it helps while working with other people who are experts. I understand the language in which they communicate, and that is a big help. As far as recording and playing the instruments, I enjoy writing the track, basic parts like drums, acoustic, vocals some electric guitar and lyrics. But in the studio I love to bring in my friends and collaborate on some electric guitar parts, keys and other things. My friends are super talented and have so much to offer, so I am blessed by them.

HHM: Do you miss or desire additional musicians to craft the songs musically or lyrically with you? Or has having autonomy been freeing to your creative process?

Jesse:  Similar to what I said above. I write all the songs, and perform MOST instruments, but I do collaborate on some electric guitar, keys and whatever else I feel is necessary in the track. My best friend Matt scored “Dear, Love” and he KILLED it. I was able to work with him to create some amazing string arrangements. It was an awesome experience for me.

HHM: One of the aspects of your music that I appreciate as I know your fans do, is the references to God (or higher power). Have people commented on this?

Jesse:  People haven’t really commented on it. But I appreciate that you appreciate it, haha.

HHM: Which song on Dear, Love is the most gratifying to you in terms of overall sound and lyrics?

JesseYoung & Naïve”. I am super proud of the lyrics in the chorus. Also the groove of the track is my favorite that I have ever written. I really, really enjoy playing that song live.

HHM: Which comparisons to other artists are the most flattering to you?

Jesse: The most flattering comparison I have ever gotten was Marvin Gaye & The lead singer of Minus the Bear. I don’t see it, but I thought it was cool. Also when people relate me to John Mayer or Glen Hansard. I am honored that they would ever put me on the same playing field as them.

HHM: Where will you be traveling to in the future? Are any out-of-state shows coming up?

Jesse: I am doing a summer/fall tour out to California with Matt (Animal Flag). It’s going to be great. As far as out of state shows, I don’t have many one-off shows. I am playing a few shows in NYC coming up, but my summer is pretty open.

HHM: Which band or artist would be your dream touring mate?

Jesse:    Death Cab for Cutie. There is not much I wouldn’t do to open for them on a tour.

 The album sports an adult contemporary feel, but with raw, stinging emotions still highly evident. The New York native Denaro is reminiscent of John Mayer, without the tabloid headlines. Catchy choruses crafted and sung by Jesse Denaro will stick in your mind and you’ll find yourself singing them hours later. While some tracks are smooth and sensual, perfect for slow dancing and more, Denaro can switch gears mid-song and remind you that he can rock as well. Each song emotionally involves the listener and connects them lyrically to common life themes.

Two of his songs, “Young & Naïve” and “Break Your Heart” can be streamed now through links on his Facebook page and website, but the entire 40 minutes of his debut album are worth the wait.

Interview by Andi Williams HHM



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Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.