SABINA — A local artist has experienced a lot during his life.
Jesse Littleton, of Sabina, also known as Gran Bel Fisher, has dabbled in many types of art. He’s a musician and puppeteer, but his journey started as a passion to be an animator.
“Not just any animator but a Disney animator,” he said. “So, I think just the ability to use my eyes first and catch what I see. I like that challenge.”
He wanted to do that and nothing else when he was younger. But then he and his siblings had to take music lessons. So, he decided to go with the piano.
“I wasn’t excited about it … it wasn’t until the third or fourth grade that I started to excel at it,” he said.
Playing the piano sparked a certain tick that put him in the moment and soothed him.
“I was like ‘oh this makes sense’. I just had a lot of energy to get out and organize,” he said.
It was on the piano he wrote his first song. He described it as a line coming to him and it morphs into this song while he was in fifth grade.
“It was a spark,” he said. “From that moment, I don’t even know what it was, but I was like ‘that’s what I am.’”
As he grew he found himself doing the typical activities that a middle and high school student would do (including school musicals), but all the while he kept writing.
“This was the first time I was good at something,” he said, in regards to music.
This led to him taking any and all opportunities to dedicate his time to music — writing, practicing, or performing.
At age 16, he moved out of his parents’ house and Sabina to attend the School for Creative & Performing Arts in Cincinnati. After his senior year, he auditioned for a show on ABC called “Making the Band”, a music reality show where the participants competed to be a member of a band. This group would later become the boy band O-Town.
“I thought it was a drama about a boy band. I didn’t know they were putting a band together,” he said.
While he wasn’t chosen, he was taken aside and asked whether he wanted to pursue a solo career with Transcontinental Records.
A year and a half after the ‘Band’ audition, Littleton got a call to be a part of a group in Nashville.
“I asked ‘do I have to dance?’ They said ‘no, just play your instruments.’ I said, ‘I’m in (to audition)’,” recalled Littleton.
This led to him being in a five-man country group called Marshal Dyllon. Littleton said they were recruited by legendary country singer Kenny Rogers and talent manager Lou Pearlman — who was responsible for forming NSYNC — in an attempt to bring the boy band sound to country music.
The group was signed onto Rogers’s independent label Dreamcatcher Records and recorded one album in 2000 — “Enjoy the Ride”. But the band ended in 2001.
“Things started to slow down, the singles didn’t do what they thought it would,” said Littleton.
He decided to move back to Cincinnati to be with his family and friends. During that time, in between washing dishes, he was still writing and started to record his own music. This led to him seeking a deal with record producers in New York and Los Angeles.
Eventually, he got to record and release his album “Full Moon Cigarettes” in 2006 by Hollywood Records.
In between that and the release of his most recent record — “The Undertaker’s Kid” — there’s been a lot going on in Littleton’s life: A song appearing on the “Grey’s Anatomy” soundtrack, a bizarre sickness, starting an online show called “It’s Not A Monster Trap Variety Show” and so much more.
Throughout all his trials and triumphs, one thing Littleton has learned is that whatever you’re good at is what you’re meant to do.
“When you do what you do best, whether that’s singing, giving a hug, or concrete work, cooking in a kitchen, or being a really good lawyer or grandfather, that’s what I think we’re meant to do,” he said.
Gran Bel Fisher’s music is available to purchase and listen to on various services. One can also support his Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/monstertrap .
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.