R&B singer and songwriter Jesse Powell, known for his 1999 hit song “You,” died at his home in Los Angeles on Sept. 13 at the age of 51, according to his sister, singer Tamara Powell. No cause of death was revealed.
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“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother, and uncle Jesse Powell,” wrote Tamara on Instagram. “The family asks for privacy at this time as we mourn this tremendous loss and celebrate his everlasting legacy.”
She added, “Jesse loved music and he especially loved his fans who supported him throughout his career,” the message continued. “We want you all to know that you meant the world to him.”
Following her post, several artists expressed their condolences to Powell’s family. “Deep condolences,” wrote singer Deborah Cox. “What a gentleman and sweet soul. I remember we had a promo gig in St. Louis and he saaaaaang dowwwwwn! Whew! What a voice!”
Actor, singer, and songwriter Chester Gregory added, “My deepest condolences. You know Jesse was like a brother to me. I love you and your whole family so much. I’m here for you and with you.”
Born in Gary, Indiana on September 12, 1971, Powell started out in singing competitions with his sisters Tamara and Trina of the R&B group Trina & Tamara, before he caught the attention of producer Carl Roland during an artist showcase in 1993.
Signed to the Silas Records imprint, Powell released his first single “All I Need,” co-written with Sam Salter and Laney Stewart, in March 1996. He released his debut self-titled album in 1996 and gained more attention with his follow-up, Bout It, after the release of its second single “You,” which originally appeared on Jesse Powell but didn’t take off until it was released in 1999.
“You” became Powell’s biggest hit, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 10 on the Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy. Powell went on to release his third album, JP, in 2001 and its follow-up, Jesse ,in 2003.
Powell is survived by his sisters Trina and Tamara, and family.
In a separate post, Tamara shared a more direct message honoring her later brother.
“Aside from being one of the best R&B male vocalists out there, you were the best big brother ever,” she posted. “I loved you so much. I’m thankful that we were so close; a whole mess all the time. We absolutely adored you “Jet” and our family will not be the same without you.”