Jesse Markin

Jesse Markin is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing Finnish artists of the moment. Markin’s music uniquely blends elements of rap, indie, pop, soul, R&B, progressive rock, and African rhythm music. He himself states that through his music, he explores themes such as love, xenophobia, hope, loneliness, and brotherhood. The artist approaches these profound, serious, and personally relevant topics with an honest interpretation.

Markin’s career took off with the release of the FOLK album in 2019. Markin received two Emma Awards, the Teosto Prize, and the Artist of the Year Award (Femma-Femma) at the Femma Gala, as well as the Album of the Year Award at the Indie Awards.

His second album, NOIR, released in June 2021, continues in the footsteps of his debut album, garnering critical acclaim and earning Markin a nomination for the Rock Artist of the Year at the Emma Awards.

International media and the music industry have also taken notice of Markin. He has been featured in NPR, American Songwriter, KEXP, Fault Magazine, Afropunk, Complex, Clash Magazine, and CQ Japan. In addition to domestic festivals and clubs, Markin’s successful albums have taken him across Europe.

Currently, Markin is working on his third album with producer Totte Rautiainen. The new album, titled PUMP, is set to be released in the fall of 2024. Markin’s second single from the album will also compete in the 2024 UMK Competition. The Winner of UMK will represent Finland in 2024 Eurovision.

Jesse Markin was born in Liberia and spent his early childhood in Ghana. He moved to Finland with his father to the small municipality of Viljakkala, with a population of 2500, when he was 6 years old. Growing up in 90s Viljakkala was not easy, and Markin struggled with an identity crisis for a long time. However, at the age of 12, he discovered American rap music, where the self-confidence and energy of the rappers were something he had never encountered before. “I wanted to be just like those guys,” says Markin.

Markin took matters into his own hands and began studying everything he could find in English. For his birthdays, he asked for dictionaries and recorded TV shows and movies on VHS tapes, which he could rewind and watch over and over again. With a remote control in one hand and a dictionary in the other, Markin began learning English. The more he learned, the more he wanted to know. “Even today, I have this strange habit of taking mental notes of new words I hear,” explains Markin. At around 13 years old, he picked up a pen and wrote his first song. “Creating something from nothing sparked my musical ambition. Even today, sitting in front of a blank paper and finding new ways to tell a story is something that fascinates me forever,” says Markin.