Jesse Clegg, born into a musical legacy as the son of South African legend Johnny Clegg, is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pianist. His musical journey includes three successful studio albums - "When I Wake Up," his 2011 follow-up "Life on Mars," and his latest release, "Things Unseen," all of which have achieved platinum-selling status in South Africa.

Growing up surrounded by music, Jesse's early years were immersed in the vibrant world of the music industry, thanks to his father's legendary status. The first six years of his life were spent on tour, exposing him to the backstage atmosphere and the unique lifestyle of the tour bus.

Jesse Clegg's musical talents garnered attention when he released his debut album, "When I Wake Up," at the age of 23. This album caught the ear of Canadian record producer David Bottrill, known for his work with renowned international artists such as Muse, Tool, Staind, and Smashing Pumpkins.

Under the guidance of David Bottrill, Jesse embarked on a musical journey, spending four months in Toronto at Metalworks Studio to create his second album, "Life on Mars." The collaboration with Bottrill opened doors for Jesse Clegg to join the ranks of global superstars in the music industry.

Jesse Clegg's unique blend of rock and South African influences has not only contributed to his success but has also solidified his place as a prominent figure in the South African music scene. His latest work, "Things Unseen," continues to showcase his musical prowess and further establishes him as a platinum-selling rock artist in his home country.

Early Life and Education

Jesse Clegg, born on July 25, 1988, in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a 35-year-old singer-songwriter. As the son of the legendary Johnny Clegg, Jesse's early years were unique, spending the first six years of his life on tour with his father. Growing up as a classic road kid, he became familiar with the backstage atmosphere and the lifestyle of tour buses. The touring chapter of his life concluded in 1994 when his father's band, Savuka, disbanded, leading the family to settle in Johannesburg.

Jesse pursued his education at Crawford College, graduating in 2006 with an impressive achievement of six distinctions. Despite considering a path in Law at the University of Witwatersrand, his deep-rooted passion for music redirected his career towards a more creative trajectory.

In 2014, Jesse took his music to an international audience through a 7-week tour across Canada and the United States. This tour comprised 32 shows in 31 cities, including high-profile events like the Country Bluegrass Blues Festival and the CMJ Music Marathon New Music Seminar. Determined to forge his musical journey independently, Jesse embraced a rock and roll vibe, establishing authenticity in his music without relying on his father's fame for assistance.

Navigating the early stages of his music career proved challenging for Jesse, given the significant matter of his lineage. As the son of Johnny Clegg, one of South Africa's most prolific musicians, Jesse faced the task of presenting his unique gifts without being overshadowed by the context of his father's enormously successful career. Despite these challenges, Jesse Clegg has emerged as a talented artist carving out his own space in the music industry.


Following the widespread acclaim of his debut album, Jesse Clegg's musical prowess attracted the attention of Canadian record producer David Bottrill. Relocating to Toronto for four months, he collaborated with Bottrill on his second album, "Life on Mars," recorded at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario. Renowned recording engineer Bob Ludwig also contributed to the album, mastering it in New York.

In 2014, Jesse Clegg took his music to an international platform, embarking on a seven-week tour across the United States and Canada, featuring 32 shows in 31 cities. He participated in prestigious showcase festivals, including the CMJ Music Marathon, New Music Seminar, and the CBGB Festival. Notably, he performed on the main stage at the UK's Isle of Wight Festival on June 14, 2014.

In 2015, Jesse returned to the studio to record new material for his third studio release, titled "Things Unseen." Produced by Dennholm Harding, the album featured the first single, "Use Me," which gained widespread success on national radio, reaching the No. 1 spot on several stations and maintaining a presence in the iTunes Top 40 for three months.

The second single, "Souvenir," released in December, preceded the album launch in June 2016 at a sold-out event in Johannesburg. "Things Unseen" debuted in the iTunes Top 10 albums chart. The album's latest single, "Breathing," a collaboration with Shekhinah, received acclaim and high rotation play-listing on national stations, securing the second No. 1 spot off the album.

Jesse Clegg's musical journey continued with his second North American tour, featuring 36 shows across the continent from March 17 to May 1, 2016. Throughout his career, he has released six Top 10 singles, toured extensively in South Africa, and earned recognition as an official ambassador for the Nelson Mandela 46664 Foundation. Invited to play at Radio City Music Hall in New York for the annual Mandela Day Concert, Jesse Clegg has garnered three South African Music Awards nominations.

Personal Life

Jesse Clegg, born to Johnny Clegg (Jonathan Paul Clegg), a renowned South African musician, singer, songwriter, and dancer, and his mother Jenny Clegg, hails from a family steeped in abundant talent. His brother, Jaron Clegg, is also a creative force in the field of filmmaking. From a young age, Jaron displayed his artistic inclinations, experimenting with stop-motion animation and crafting models by hand. Eventually, he graduated from the Vancouver Film School.

Tragically, on July 16, 2019, Johnny Clegg passed away at the age of 66 due to pancreatic cancer. Although laid to rest at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg, Johnny's musical legacy and impact on South Africa endure, inspiring many along the way.

Jesse's personal life also involves his wife Dani Clegg, with whom he shared over 10 years of companionship. Dani, who previously held a position in the finance industry in Canada, stood by Jesse's side through their journey. On March 2, 2021, the couple welcomed their daughter, Mylah Thandolwethu Clegg, into the world.

Tragedy struck the Clegg family on September 8, 2022, when Jesse confirmed the passing of his wife Dani. Diagnosed with cancer in 2021, Dani faced her battle with remarkable courage and elegance until the end. The news of Dani's passing prompted an outpouring of sympathy and support from friends and well-wishers for Jesse and their family.


This is a list of Jesse Clegg’s albums:

When I Wake Up (2008)

Life on Mars (2011)

Jesse Clegg Live & Unplugged (2012)

Things Unseen (2016)


Jesse Clegg has garnered acclaim and recognition through various awards, showcasing his multifaceted talents and captivating a global audience. With over four albums and a string of top-charting hits, he has solidified his position in the music industry. Notably, Jesse has received nominations for four South African Music Awards, underscoring the promising trajectory of his successful musical career. This is undoubtedly just the initial chapter in what promises to be a flourishing journey in the world of music for Jesse Clegg.