Jesse Harris
Background information
Born (1969-10-24) October 24, 1969 (age 54)
New York City
GenresPop, folk, jazz
LabelsDangerbird, Downtown, Tzadik

Jesse Harris (born October 24, 1969) is an American singer-songwriter, producer, and guitarist. He has worked with Norah Jones, Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux, Nikki Yanofsky, and Lizz Wright.[1]

Early life and education

Harris and his twin sister were born in New York City. He attended Riverdale Country School in New York City. He graduated from Cornell University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.[2][3]


Jesse Harris's music has been described as a "blend [of] folk, rock, jazz, and world rhythms."[4]

Harris gave guitar lessons and performed in musical groups before he formed the duo Once Blue with singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin. This was the first group he was in and his first experience writing for another singer. Once Blue released its self-titled debut on EMI Records in 1995 and nine additional songs were included in the album's re-release in 2003.

Harris signed as a songwriter with Sony Publishing in 1998 and then made three self-released recordings with his new band, The Ferdinandos, consisting of Harris, Tony Scherr, Tim Luntzel, and Kenny Wollesen.[5] The band released two more albums on Verve Records. Harris recorded three solo albums Mineral, Feel, and Watching the Sky on his own label, Secret Sun Recordings.[1]

In 2003, he was awarded a Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "Don't Know Why", performed by Norah Jones. Jones's album, Come Away With Me, includes five of Harris' compositions: "Don't Know Why," "Shoot the Moon," "One Flight Down," "I've Got To See You Again," and "The Long Day is Over." Harris plays guitar throughout the whole album. Jones and Harris have collaborated numerous times since then. Jones has been a guest on many of his albums and he appears as guitarist on almost all of her albums. Harris contributed songwriting to Jones' 2008 release The Fall.

Harris appears as a guitarist on Bright Eyes' 2005 album, I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, as well as Motion Sickness.

In 2007, Harris contributed songs to the soundtrack of the film The Hottest State, written and directed by Ethan Hawke.[6][7] The soundtrack featured new versions of his songs by Jones, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Feist, Cat Power, M. Ward, The Black Keys, Bright Eyes, Brad Mehldau and Rosario Ortega.[6] He also acted in the film.

In August 2010, Harris released his album Through the Night and recorded a new version of his song "The Secret Sun" for a Corona commercial.[8][9]

Harris's 11th album, Sub Rosa, recorded in Rio de Janeiro, was released in July 2012[10] and features guest vocals from Conor Oberst, Melody Gardot, and Norah Jones.[11] Harris's 12th album, the stripped down Borne Away, was released on June 25, 2013.

In 2013, Harris joined John Zorn's, The Song Project, along with Mike Patton, Sofia Rei, and Sean Lennon, writing lyrics for various Zorn compositions and singing them at festivals worldwide with a band featuring Marc Ribot on guitar, John Medeski on keyboards, and Zorn conducting. Two of the group's albums have been released by Tzadik Records. Recently, Zorn and Harris have begun a new project, Songs For Petra, which features Petra Haden and The Julian Lage Trio (for whom Harris has produced two albums, Arclight and Modern Lore), plus Harris on guitar.

Harris and Jones appear together in the 2014 David Wain/Michael Showalter film, They Came Together, performing his song, "It Was The Last Thing On Your Mind," which Harris produced. In 2016, he appeared in Showalter's film Hello, My Name Is Doris, performing his song, "Anything Was Possible."

Other artists who have recorded Harris's songs include Smokey Robinson, George Benson, Pat Metheny, Kandace Springs, and Solomon Burke. Songwriting collaborations have included Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Lana Del Rey, Maria Gadu, Maya Hawke, and Vinicius Cantuaria.

Production credits include albums for Forro in the Dark, Sasha Dobson, and Petra Haden. Haden recorded an album of Harris' songs, entitled Seemed Like A Good Idea – Petra Haden Sings Jesse Harris (Sunnyside).

In 2017, Jesse started Cosmo, a group for only his instrumental compositions, with CJ Camerieri (trumpet, flugelhorn, and French horn), Will Graefe (guitar), Jeremy Gustin (drums), Benjamin Lazar Davis (bass), Michael Boshcen (trombone), and Harris (guitar). They are currently working on an album with producer Jason Lader.

Harris's album Aquarelle was recorded in Lisbon, Portugal, and released in September 2018, and features Gustin and Graefe, Ricardo Dias Gomes (bass, keyboards), Petra Haden, Valerie June, Sophia Brous, Thomas Bartlett, Rob Moose, Jesse Carmichael, Marcelo Camelo, and Jason Lader. On Surpresa, in 2021, introduced by the song 'Waiting' Harris closely collaborated again with Vinicius Cantuária.[12]


As leader/co-leader

As sideman



  1. ^ a b Discography,, retrieved March 29, 2013
  2. ^ Weiss, Rebecca (November 7, 2007). "The Cornell Connection: Jesse Harris '92 Grammy-Winner succeeds in life despite (or because of?) low GPA". The Cornell Daily Sun. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  3. ^ "Notable Cornell University Alumni: Music". Cornell University. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  4. ^ Gorce, Tammy La (July 1, 2007). "Feel – Jesse Harris : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  5. ^ Johnson, Zac. "Jesse Harris – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Soundtrack, Original. "'The Hottest State' Gets an All-Star Soundtrack". NPR. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  7. ^ Farber, Jim (August 5, 2007). "'State' of the art". Daily News. New York. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  8. ^ "MediaPost Publications New Corona Efforts Redefine 'Beach' 09/16/2010". Archived from the original on September 17, 2010.
  9. ^ Biography,, retrieved March 29, 2013
  10. ^ "Dangerbird Records store: Jesse Harris, Sub Rosa". Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  11. ^ Chris Rutledge (June 14, 2012). "Watch Two New Trailers For Jesse Harris' Sub Rosa". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on June 16, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "MarlbankWebsite".