The Neighbourhood‘s Jesse Rutherford — who now goes by Jesse — has formally announced his plans to embark on solo endeavors, and he released two new tracks, “Rainbow” and “Joker,” on Tuesday (March 28) to kick off the new era.
Rutherford spoke with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to share what inspired him to start creating music on his own, through his new solo deal with Atlantic Records.
“It’s a true solo journey, and the music is just kind of soundtracking what I’m going through in my life. And I thought it was kind of time to grow as an individual, because I’ve put a lot of my time and energy into growing within relationships, which is a great thing,” said Rutherford, who is currently in a relationship with Billie Eilish. “I mean, I love and I hold dear all my relationships, and I feel like I have a lot of strong ones. And even the ones that didn’t last, I feel like we’re lovely, and nobody’s on any sort of bad terms or anything.”
He continued, “I just needed a moment for myself. It was just kind of like it had to happen sooner or later. So this felt like the best time to do it. Honestly, taking some time away from touring and music in general was probably a really good thing for me. And even now, jumping back in, I’m kind of like, ‘OK, here we go.’ I wish I could sit here and be like, ‘Man, I’m so excited. Everybody’s got to go hear it.’ But I’m kind of like, ‘I mean, I’m being honest. I think it’s good, if you get around to listening to it.'”
As for the new songs, Rutherford noted that while new track “Rainbow” details his personal relationships, “Joker” serves as a “note to self.” Reflecting on the latter track, the 31-year-old added, “Identity’s a tricky thing, and I feel like when you’re in front of people and you’re lucky enough to have an audience like I do, people could kind of tell you who you are. Even if you’ve already told them, ‘This is who I am,’ but then you’re like, ‘Wait, but I want to grow.'”
Rutherford’s new tracks mark his first releases since The Neighbourhood’s 2021 single “Fallen Star” and the group’s 2020 album Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones. Listen to “Rainbow” and “Joker” below.