Darren Jessee

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Darren Jessee
Background information
Birth name Darren Michael Jessee
Genres Folk, alternative rock, lo fi acoustic
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, drummer
Instruments Vocals, drums, timpani, piano, guitar
Years active 1994–present
Labels Sony, Bar/None
Associated acts Hotel Lights, Ben Folds Five, Sharon Van Etten, Hiss Golden Messenger
Website www.hotellights.net

Darren Michael Jessee[1] is an American drummer, songwriter, singer and member of the rock bands Ben Folds Five and Hotel Lights. In 2014, Jessee joined Sharon Van Etten's touring band. He is currently touring with Hiss Golden Messenger as of September 2016.

Born in Houston, Texas, and raised in North Carolina, Jessee currently lives in Brooklyn. Ben Folds Five are known for energetic live shows and vocal harmonies. Jessee's drumming style has a strong jazz influence, from his longtime love of the genre. Referred to by WXPN's Bruce Warren as "Ben Folds Five's secret weapon",[2] Jessee formed Hotel Lights in 2003 after many years writing songs, playing drums, and touring in the trio. In his own band, Hotel Lights have had their songs featured in hit TV shows (Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill) and a major motion picture Baby Mama. The song "Sky High" from Ben Folds Five's 2012 release The Sound of the Life of the Mind written by Jessee and performed by Ben Folds Five was also heard in ABC TV's Quantico.

Ben Folds, on a recent iTunes Originals compilation, credited the Jessee-penned chorus for "Brick" as the missing element to a song that he had tried to compose for a long time, remarking "I've never understood a hit chorus. I wish I did."[3]

Darren can also be heard drumming on the song "Strangest Thing" from The War on Drugs (band) 2017 album A Deeper Understanding, and Josh Rouse's album Under Cold Blue Stars, released in 2002.


Ben Folds Five

Hotel Lights


Hotel Lights is the project name for songwriter Darren Jessee. Notable Jessee songwriting contributions for Ben Folds Five include: [4][5]


  1. ^ BMI Repertoire. Retrieved 2013-02-10
  2. ^ "Bio: Hotel Lights". Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ "A really tough year". iTunes Originals - Ben Folds (Interview). August 30, 2005. 
  4. ^ "Joey's Guide to Ben Folds Five B-Sides and Rarities". Web.archive.org. October 27, 2009. Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  5. ^ "Darren Jessee". AllMusic. April 8, 1971. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 

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