In Bed With Jesse Thomas


The last time AfterEllen spoke to Jesse Thomas, the silver tongued singer/songwriter was dropping her sophomore album, Burn The Boats, and publicly coming out. Like her debut album, War Dancer, Burn The Boats hit the charts high and fast, climbing to #6 in the Singer/Songwriters category on iTunes. Jesse’s music is an addictive blend of romance, wry observation, heady beats, and catchy choruses.

A critical and commercial success, the out singer alternates between LA residencies and touring with the likes of John Mayer, Bret Dennen, Dawes, Lights, Tori Kelly, Crash Kings, Meiko, Cary Brothers, and Andrea Gibson. Her music regularly appears on major shows like Degrassi, Heart  of Dixie, Shameless, The Fosters, and Vampire Diaries. Her ass shaking, hilariously scathing hit “Leather Jacket” took down dudes who hit on lesbians and hit over a hundred thousand Spotify plays within the first week of release.

Jesse invited me over for some real talk before joining Andrea Gibson next week on a hotly anticipated (and hella gay) cross-country tour. Check out taped, highly informal lightning round questions session in Jesse’s bed, and read on for the full interview below.

AfterEllen: You’re going on tour with Andrea Gibson next week! How do you feel?

Jesse Thomas: I feel amazing! She is so wonderful and talented and I am the luckiest girl in the world. She has a huge queer following, which I think is really neat. She creates such a magical, safe environment and then disarms everyone in the audience with her words. I’m searching for a metaphor but I can’t really describe it. It’s very powerful. I love it. Go see her.


AE: How did Andrea reach out to ask you to be her opener?

JT: I was introduced to her manager back when Burn The Boats came out. She wasn’t interested in managing me, but she liked me enough to ask me to open for Andrea at The Troubadour. I dreamed of playing that stage, so all of it was very cool. I wrote her a thank you e-mail the following day, and told her that as long as I live, I’d never forget it. I guess she thought that was nice because she then asked me to tour with her. Moral: thank people. It can take you places.


AE: Had you listened to her work before or been to a show?

JT: I hadn’t actually. I was never big into poetry. Though, when all of the Andrea stuff happened, the timing couldn’t have been better. I was dating a lovely lady who really enjoyed poetry and reading Rumi. She really got me into it. Then suddenly I’m touring with a well known poet, so yeah, that worked out great.


 AE: Do you see any similarities between your songs and Andrea’s poetry?

JT: Yes, a lot! I wish I could write like her, but I think we are trying to say similar things. Taking something personal, turning it into art, and hoping it connects with people.


AE: How do you prepare for tour?

JT: Make sure someone is going to water my plants. Make a setlist. Make sure I know the setlist. Find places to sleep. Talk to AfterEllen.


AE: After the Andrea Gibson tour, do you have any more performances lined up?

JT: I am playing at the Hotel Cafe on April 9th in Los Angeles. Then after, at the end of April, I hit the road with The Young Romans. All the dates are on my website.


AE: The other opener on Andrea’s tour is Holly Miranda. Are you two alternating or will you be playing shows together?

JT: We are alternating. It would have been lovely sharing the stage with her, although we’ve never met.


AE: Do you know Andrea Gibson personally? If so, how did you meet?

JT: I do! We did a few shows together last year, and that’s when I met her. I was really intimidated at first, but then she is so nice and welcoming. I met her in the hallway, backstage of our second show with her dog Squash. She was cool as hell, man. Now she sends me really hilarious videos of her dancing to my songs. I wish I could share them with you. She really has some sweet dance moves.


AE: As Andrea’s opener, how long will your set be? What songs will definitely be on the set list?

JT: My sets are 30-45 minutes. I typically always play “Beverly,” “Lorraine,” and “Say Hello”.


AE: Are you going to perform with a band or solo?

JT: Just me! Yikes.


AE: What place are you most looking forward to playing?

JT: Probably Chicago. I LOVE Chicago. Its a big venue and I hear its really beautiful. Also my ex lives there, so doing something cool in cities where your ex lives is like, the best.

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