Rapper and singer Jesse Markin combines various styles and genres of modern rhythm music together in a diverse way reflecting his background as well as open-minded approach. In the end of 2010’s, he skyrocketed quickly from the margin of local hip hop circles into widely celebrated stardom of front-row artists in Finland. He has been recognized also abroad thanks to his two successful albums and style, which has been described as “international”. Already before putting out his debut album, Finnish music magazine Soundi had selected Jesse Markin as the newcomer of 2018 and the music video of his debut solo single “Blood” had been awarded at the Oulu Music Video Festival.
The debut album Folk saw its release date in May 2019 and led Markin to be selected for example as the Newcomer of the Year and The Critics’ Choice at the respected Emma Awards (the Finnish equivalent to Grammys). The same year he was also granted together with producer Totte Rautiainen (Pietarin Spektaakkeli, The Irrationals) the Teosto Prize by the Finnish copyright society, selected as The Most Remarkable Artist at Femma Awards as well as celebrated for the Album of the Year at the Indie Awards. After all these acknowledgements, Jesse Markin was one of the most awarded musicians of the year in Finland.
The second album titled Noir, which was musically even more eclectic than its predecessor, was issued in June 2021 and got nominated in the category of Rock of the Year at the Emma Awards. And where you can clearly hear the hip hop, soul and r&b traditions on his debut album, the latter effort has been described most of all as a transgressive modern fusion bringing along psychedelic rock, soulful hybdir pop and progressive folk. The leading Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat described the album in their review as “Noir is wonderful music, because you can everything possible in it.”
After the second bestseller praised also by the critics, Jesse Markin has been considered as one of the most potential Finnish indie prospects both domestically as well as internationally. He has been able to gather some interest also abroad on media channels, such as American Songwriter, Fault Magazine, Afropunk and CQ Japan. He has also performed live in Europe for example at events like Eurosonic, Iceland Airwaves and Ja Ja Ja London. When playing live, Jesse Markin usually is accommpanied with his live band including professional musicians such as drummer Teppo Mäkynen (The Stance Brothers, Teddy Rok Seven) and guitarist Nicolas “Leissi” Rehn (Piirpauke, Yona & Orkesteri Liikkuvat Pilvet).
Before starting his solo career Jesse Markin was active for more than a decade in Finnish rap group The Megaphone State under the MC moniker Thelo Ekow together with producer Simo “SimonSound” Tuominen. The duo released three well-acknowledged albums Home of the Knockout Artist (2009), VLA Kings (2012) and Ghost (2014). They also performed all over Finland, including for example Funky Elephant Festival and Tampere-based Blockfest hip hop festival after their last album in 2015. Jesse Markin’s solo material is quite different in its eclectism compared to The Megaphone State, which focused on the boom bap -styled hip hop. He has also extended his forms of expression from rapping to singing.
Text: Joonas Kervinen / Funky Finland
Photos: Tero Ahonen