Jesse Harris

Jesse Harris (born October 24, 1969) is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, producer, and guitarist.[1] He has collaborated with several musical artists including Norah Jones, Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux, Nikki Yanofsky, and Lizz Wright.[2]

Jesse Harris
Born (1969-10-24) October 24, 1969
New York City
GenresPop, folk, jazz
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, producer, guitarist
InstrumentsGuitar, voice, keyboards
LabelsDangerbird, Secret Sun, Downtown, Tzadik
Associated actsFerdinandos, Norah Jones

Early life and education

Harris was born in New York City,[1] along with his twin sister.[3] He graduated from Cornell University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, in English.[4][5]


Jesse Harris's music has been described as a "blend [of] folk, rock, jazz, and world rhythms."[6]

Harris gave guitar lessons and performed in musical groups before he formed the duo Once Blue with singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin.[1] 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.[1]

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.[7] 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][2]

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.[8][9] 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.[8] 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 (beer) commercial.[10][11]

Harris's 11th album, Sub Rosa, recorded in Rio de Janeiro, was released in July 2012[12] and features guest vocals from Conor Oberst, Melody Gardot, and Norah Jones.[13] 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.

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."

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.

Other artists who have recorded Jesse’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, and Vinicius Cantuaria.

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

In 2017, Jesse started Cosmo, a group for only his instrumental compositions, with CJ Camerieri (trumpet/flugelhorn/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 latest album, Aquarelle, recorded in Lisbon, Portugal, was released in September, 2018, and features Gustin and Graefe, as well as Ricardo Dias Gomes (bass, keyboards), plus special guests Petra Haden, Valerie June, Sophia Brous, Thomas Bartlett, Rob Moose, Jesse Carmichael, Marcelo Camelo, and Jason Lader.



  • Once Blue (EMI, 1995)
  • Jesse Harris and the Ferdinandos (Bean, 1999)
  • Crooked Lines (Bean, 2001)
  • Without You (Bean, 2002)
  • The Secret Sun (Verve, 2003)
  • Once Blue Reissue (EMI Toshiba, 2003)
  • While the Music Lasts (Verve, 2004)
  • Mineral (Secret Sun, 2005)
  • Feel (Velour, 2007)
  • Watching the Sky (Mercer Street, 2009)
  • Through the Night (Mercer Street/Secret Sun, 2010)
  • Cosmo (Tzadik, 2010)
  • The Secret Sun – Single Version (Secret Sun, 2010)
  • Sub Rosa (Dangerbird, 2012)
  • Borne Away (Secret Sun, 2013)
  • No Wrong No Right (Dangerbird, 2015)
  • Music for Chameleons (Sunnyside, 2017)
  • Aquarelle (Secret Sun, 2018)


  • Lisa LoebTails (Geffen, 1995); guitarist
  • The Hatters – You Will Be You (Atlantic, 1995); guitarist
  • Jewel – "You Were Meant For Me" Single (Atlantic, 1996); guitarist
  • Marie Frank – Ancient Pleasures (BMG Denmark, 1999); songwriter, guitarist
  • Seamus Blake – Stranger Things Have Happened (Fresh Sounds New Talent, 1999); guitarist
  • Norah Jones – EP First Sessions (Blue Note, 2001); songwriter, guitarist
  • Sean Wayland – The Colossus of Rhodes (DIW, 2001); guitarist
  • Norah JonesCome Away with Me (Blue Note, 2002); songwriter, guitarist
  • Ricky Fante – Rewind (Virgin, 2003); songwriter, guitarist
  • Ken Hirai – Ken's Bar (Defstar Japan, 2003); songwriter, guitarist
  • Norah Jones – Feels Like Home (Blue Note, 2004); Harris plays acoustic guitar on two tracks
  • Madeleine PeyrouxCareless Love (Rounder, 2004); songwriter
  • Bright EyesI'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (Saddle Creek, 2005); guitarist
  • Bright Eyes – Motion Sickness (Team Love, 2005); Harris as guitarist on last track only
  • Johnathan RiceTrouble Is Real (Warner, 2005); songwriter, guitarist, drummer
  • Lizz WrightDreaming Wide Awake (Verve, 2005); songwriter
  • Tristan PrettymanTwenty-three (Virgin, 2006); guitarist, songwriter
  • Richard Julian – Slow New York (Manhattan, 2006); harmonica
  • Sasha Dobson – Modern Romance (Secret Sun, 2006); songwriter, guitarist, producer
  • Madeleine PeyrouxHalf the Perfect World (Rounder, 2006); Harris is credited as co-writer of three songs
  • Norah Jones – Not Too Late (Blue Note, 2007); guitarist
  • Jessie BaylinYou (Hickory, 2007); songwriter, guitarist, producer
  • The Hottest State Soundtrack (Hickory, 2007); songwriter, guitarist, producer, vocalist
  • Miyuki Hatakeyama – Summer Clouds, Summer Rain (Avex Japan, 2007); songwriter, guitarist, producer, vocalist
  • Solomon BurkeLike a Fire (Shout! Factory, 2008); Harris wrote two tracks, guitarist, vocalist
  • Priscilla Ahn"We Were Free" Bonus Track (Blue Note, 2008); songwriter, guitarist
  • Jessie Baylin – Firesight (Verve, 2008); songwriter
  • Yuichi Ohata – Music From The Magic Shop (Warner Music Japan, 2008); guitarist, producer
  • The Verbs – Trip (Jay-Vee Records, 2009); songwriter
  • Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill (Universal, 2009); songwriter
  • Forro in the DarkLight a Candle (Natgeo, 2009); songwriter, singer
  • Port of Notes – Luminous Halo (Avex, 2009); guitarist, producer
  • Norah Jones – The Fall (Blue Note, 2009); Harris co-wrote two tracks and plays acoustic guitar on one track
  • Norah Jones – "Something Is Calling You" Bonus Track – Deluxe Edition of Come Away With Me (Blue Note, 2009); guitarist, songwriter
  • Yuichi Ohata – Man Drawing the Light (Columbia Japan, 2010); guitarist, songwriter, producer
  • Nikki YanofskyNikki (Decca, 2010); Harris produced half of the album, guitarist, songwriter
  • Chico Pinheiro – There's a Storm Inside (Sunnyside, 2010); songwriter
  • Joshua RadinThe Rock and The Tide (Mom and Pop Records, 2010); songwriter
  • Federico AubeleBerlin 13 (ESL Music, 2011); songwriter
  • Amanda Brecker – Blossom (Universal, 2011): guitarist, producer
  • Marisa MonteO Que Você Quer Sabe De Verdade (EMI, 2011); guitarist
  • Maria GaduMais Uma Pagina (Som Live, 2011); guitarist, songwriter, producer
  • Ila & The Happy Trees – Little World (Tube Jam, 2011); guitarist
  • Melody Gardot – The Absence (Universal, 2012); songwriter
  • Rosario Ortega – Viento y Sombra (EMI Latin America); guitarist, songwriter, producer
  • Wax Poetic – On a Ride (Nublu Records, 2012); songwriter
  • Alexia Bomtempo – I Just Happen to be Here (Biscoito Fino, 2012); guitarist
  • Pierre Aderne – Bem Me Quer Mar Me Quer (ArtHouse, 2012); guitarist, songwriter
  • Vinicius CantuariaIndio De Apartamento (Naïve, 2012); songwriter, vocalist
  • Chiara CivelloAl Posto Del Mondo (Sony Music, 2012); songwriter
  • Tiago IorcZeski (Som Livre, 2013); guitarist, songwriter
  • Butter the Children – True Crime EP (Downtown, 2013); producer
  • They Came Together Soundtrack EP (Lionsgate Records, 2014); guitarist, songwriter, producer
  • Amanda Brecker – Way to Be (Universal Japan, 2014); guitarist, songwriter, producer, keyboardist
  • Tiê – Esmeraldas (Warner Brasil, 2014); guitarist, producer, keyboardist
  • Ex Cops – Daggers (Downtown, 2014); songwriter
  • John Zorn – The Song Project Limited Edition Vinyl 45s (Tzadik, 2014); songwriter, singer, liner notes
  • Melody Gardot – Currency of Man (Universal, 2015); guitarist, songwriter
  • John ZornThe Song Project' (Tzadik, 2015); writing lyrics for various Zorn compositions and singing them with Marc Ribot, John Medeski, and Zorn conducting.[14]
  • Tomoyo HaradaLove Song Covers (Universal Japan, 2015); songwriter, singer
  • Forro in the Dark – Forro Zinho – Forro in the Dark Plays Zorn (Tzadik, 2015); producer
  • Lizz Wright – Freedom & Surrender (Concord, 2015); guitarist, songwriter
  • Julian LageArclight (Mack Avenue, 2016); producer
  • Petra Haden and Jesse Harris – Seemed Like a Good Idea – Petra Haden Sings Jesse Harris (Sunnyside, 2016); guitarist, songwriter, singer, producer
  • Kandace Springs – Soul Eyes (Blue Note, 2016); guitarist, songwriter
  • Ren – Love Song (Ren's Records, 2017); guitarist, songwriter, producer
  • Lana Del ReyLust for Life (Polydor/Interscope, 2017); songwriter[15]
  • Tiê – Amuleto Single (Warner Brasil, 2017); guitarist
  • Melody Gardot – Live in Europe (Universal, 2018); songwriter
  • Julian Lage – Modern Love (Mack Avenue, 2018); producer
  • Kandace Springs – Indigo (Blue Note, 2018); guitarist, songwriter


  • Dragon Tales – TV show – opening theme song (1998); guitarist, songwriter
  • Arrivals – stage play – Bank Street Theatre (2007); incidental music composer
  • The Hottest State – film – Think Films (2007); guitarist, songwriter, score composer, actor
  • Verano Maldito – film – Luis Ortega Film (Argentina, 2011); songwriter, singer, actor
  • They Came Together – film – Lionsgate Films (2014); guitarist, songwriter, producer, actor
  • Hello, My Name is Doris – film – Roadside Attractions (2016); guitarist, songwriter, actor


  • A Camp Story – short story – 3am Analog literary journal (2016)


  1. Jesse Harris biography. -
  2. Discography,, retrieved 2013-03-29
  3. "Marie Masters". Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  4. 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. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  5. "Notable Cornell University Alumni: Music". Cornell University. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  6. Gorce, Tammy La (2007-07-10). "Feel - Jesse Harris : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  7. Johnson, Zac. "Jesse Harris - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  8. Soundtrack, Original. "'The Hottest State' Gets an All-Star Soundtrack". NPR. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  9. Farber, Jim (August 5, 2007). "'State' of the art". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  10. Archived September 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. Biography,, retrieved 2013-03-29
  12. "Dangerbird Records store: Jesse Harris, Sub Rosa". Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  13. Chris Rutledge (June 14, 2012). "Watch Two New Trailers For Jesse Harris' Sub Rosa". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on 17 June 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  14. "Bio + Press". Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  15. "Beautiful People Beautiful Problems". Retrieved 2018-11-30.
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