What do you get when you give a musician a set a dumbbells? Jesse Snyder, one of America’s most interesting musicians.
His origin is the most unique in all of music. Snyder was born in 1986 in Haiti with a set of parents who devoted their life to helping others powered by their faith as missionaries. The Haitian Revolution rushed his birth amidst burning rubber tires while surrounded by the swirling violence of a small nation in civil war. The chaos got to the point where even those who were there for aid feared for their lives.
The Snyder family later moved to a small remote town in China called Yu Xi (Jade Stream) in Yunnan Province., to continue their good work. However Chinese law criminalizes outspoken faith in public as a way to avoid further division through religion. His missionary parents became English teachers in the nearby college and how they got there in the first place is based on something that the non-believers call “a coincidence”.
“My mom opened up the glove compartment of the car and pulled out a stack of pamphlets that some church person had put in there because the car was on loan from the church,” Snyder said, “and the one on the very top said, ‘are you called to China?’ And that was it, they went to China.
“It could’ve been anything,” he said. “It could’ve been. ‘Are you called to the moon?’ and they would’ve figured it out. Personally, I am the type of person who likes to plan things out, but I have a lot of that mentality in me as well.”
Going to Yu Xi would be like going back in time. It was a place without automobiles, televisions and telephones. Just when you would believe being the lone white kid in their little Asian town would lead to discrimination, it actually ended up being another example of white privilege. The young blonde-haired Snyder was treated as a mystical creature by his public school classmates.
“The only thing that was annoying to me was that everybody wanted to touch me and pull pieces of my hair out because they thought it was made out of gold,” Snyder said. “They would take it and put it in their school books and they thought it was like a good luck charm or something.”
Despite being treated like a Jedi in China, the biggest culture shock that Snyder had to deal with was when he returned to America where his family originated in. As a student in Grand Canyon University — the only school he applied to because his sister went there — Snyder quickly noticed the “microcosm of hipness” in American culture. To his initial observation, people in America cared highly about their image and treated it like their own individual brand.
One aspect of American culture that Snyder latched on to was their love of personal fitness. He was always naturally strong, but it wasn’t until he was in college where he found that going to the gym every day is a great way to take all the existing negative and “just fry them away”. He originally worked out just to look better but then a year ago, it became a serious endeavor to build the perfect body and help use it as a way to market his music.
Snyder started his Instagram account last August and the two interests came together perfectly. He gained over 14,000 followers since and has called this three-way marriage between bodybuilding, music and Instagram a most fruitful promotion.
Most of people who discovered his music mainly did so because they discovered him and his giant arms on Instagram.mThrough his success on social media and his gym life, Snyder found the ideal audience for his music.
“People who fancy themselves music critics are the worst music fans,” Snyder said, “because they’re never gonna love music. They just critique. People who do fitness are the best music fans because their outlook is positive and they use the music for purpose.”