Jesse Gold exercises greater songwriting strength across his brand new six-song EP. His adeptness, whether with silky-smooth melodies or lyrics that pierce the heart, guides the listener through a magnificent journey, one many might not expect. Stupid Hours, featuring producers Jack Eblem, Brandon Leger, and others, breaks open his art in fascinating ways.
“I started co-writing more than ever over the last year and a half. I learned so much from working with great writers. I realized that there were songwriting tools that I had never even considered for my own music,” Gold tells American Songwriter. “So, I just became super eager to use the tools in my own writing. I ended up with songs I was much more proud of, and I’ve just been chasing that feeling ever since.”
The EP draws its title from the late-night hours of jotting down ideas and constantly chasing his muse. While the mere idea of hustling often comes with a connotation of suffering for one’s art, Gold doesn’t exactly see it that way. “I won’t speak to other artists, but for me, I don’t view those ‘stupid hours’ as suffering─more just as hard work,” he says. “I’m starting to realize just how much of it is necessary for the goals I’m trying to achieve. As much as I’d like to call it my suffering, it’s just work.”
From the sensual slide of “R.I.P.,” in which he drops the EP title, to the emotionally-electrifying “One in a Million,” with Stefani Kimber (I’ve been thinking about you again, he sings), there’s a vulnerability Gold has chosen to put on full display. “It’s really the only method I’ve found that makes me feel better. Since I was a kid, whenever I wrote about what I was going through, I experienced instant relief,” he confesses. “Somehow adding rhyme and song structure to my pre-teen woes helped me get through them. The same holds true after all this time. Opening up about my struggles in a song is nothing new to me. The struggles are just more grown up. The relief is the same.”
Such vulnerability has given him considerable “reassurance that I am not alone and validation for me to continue being open and honest with anyone listening to my music,” he adds. “Not having to mask or sugarcoat anything I write about is the ultimate freedom as a songwriter. I see my best work come from the deepest digging.
“Let me get nerdy for a sec. I’ll describe a tool that has really helped elevate my writing,” he continues. “In the past, I’d start a song with a general idea or theme, and loosely write with that idea floating around my brain. But now, I make sure that I write a short cohesive phrase derived from that idea. For example, instead of writing to the general theme of ‘heartbreak,’ I would write down ‘I can’t move on without you..’ Then, as I write the song, I make sure that every individual line perfectly encapsulates the sentiment of that phrase. Does that make sense? Anyways, that trick has helped me to write much more cohesive and better songs.”
In conjunction with his new EP, Gold eyes the release of a new film, called Stupid Hours Live, out this Friday (May 14) with RnBRadar. “I’m so proud of this film. It was an incredible team effort and test of creativity. The idea started with a simple livestream concert but ended up morphing into something more unique,” he shares. “I was seeing so many artists do the same thing. With Covid restrictions, everyone opted for livestreams. I wanted to do something to stand out and do this EP creative justice. We arrived at this hybrid of a live performance and concert documentary. I’m so grateful to the talented group that helped me see this vision through.”
Stupid Hours Live invites the viewer through the long hours it takes to put on a live show─“from arriving at the venue in the afternoon, all the way to getting off stage, packing up and leaving that night─all while playing a song in every location throughout the day,” he says. “It was important to me that I show people another side of me—not just the recordings on their own. I think this film is the perfect companion to [the EP].”