In a small room at Sony HQ in Kings Cross, Justin Jesso has music label and magazine people up and dancing, whilst he jumps across the furniture, singing his new song ‘400 Trillion’.
“I’m probably the first person to get people up on their feet at a thing like this,”, the singer jokes after his unexpectedly interactive performance. He’s promoting his latest EP, ‘Finding The Opposite Of Loneliness’, and explains this is all part of his mission to bring the stadium experience to any sized audience.
He tells us the album is split into two halves, the first representing the depression he’s been battling since college and what he went through after losing someone important to him. The latter half, (the side featuring ‘400 Trillion’) tells tales of what it’s like to get through those feelings, recognise them and find someone to love. “That’s the opposite of loneliness. There’s no real word for it,”, he says. “It’s not togetherness, it’s not happiness, so what is it?”
When Jesso isn’t jumping on tables or belting out stand-out track “Lose Ya” on the tiny stage, he’s making his way around the room, engaging with everyone, making sure we feel the opposite of lonely tonight. It’s clear this is a very personal and important album to him: “Lockdown gave me the chance to really think about the music I want to create. I’m inspired by soul artists like Aretha Franklin and James Brown.” And those influences can be heard throughout the EP. As he leans over his piano, another influence, Elton John, is plain to see.
This EP couldn’t come at a more relevant time, as we all come out of two years of lockdown and settle back into normal life, there is something we can all relate to through these nine tracks. There may not be a word for the opposite of loneliness, but Jesso has certainly captured that feeling.
Written and photography by Beth Bayes