Singer Jesse Powell, best known for ‘90s R&B ballad ‘You,’ dead at 51

A singer with sunglasses on his head holds a microphone in his right hand while performing
Singer Jesse Powell performs at Chess Records Studios in Chicago in July 1998.
(Raymond Boyd / Getty Images)

R&B singer Jesse Powell, best known for his romantic 1990s ballad “You,” has died. He was 51.

The singer’s death was announced Tuesday by his sister, singer Tamara Powell, in a family statement posted to Instagram. She did not share his cause of death.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our beloved son, brother and uncle Jesse Powell. He passed away peacefully in his Los Angeles home,” the statement said.


“The family asks for privacy at this time as we mourn the tremendous loss and celebrate his everlasting legacy,” it continued. “Jesse loved music and he especially loved his fans who supported him throughout his career. We want you all to know that you meant the world to him.”

With a four-octave vocal range, the Indiana-born vocalist was signed to Silas Records, an imprint of MCA Records, in his 20s. His signature song “You” was originally released on his self-titled debut album in 1996 and it peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year.

The song’s success earned the romantic ode a place on his second album, ‘’Bout It,” released in 1998, according to Vibe. That album sold half a million copies and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Assn. of America in 1999. Powell released the albums “JP” in 2001 and “Jesse” in 2003.

His other singles include “If I,” “She Wasn’t Last Night” and “‘Bout It, ‘Bout It.” More recently, he released the 58-second instrumental track “Addison Walker” on Spotify in July.

One of the first women signed by Motown, Mable John later became a minister and an advocate for homeless people in Los Angeles.

Sept. 1, 2022

In a separate video posted to her account, Tamara Powell, of the R&B sister-duo Trina & Tamara, paid tribute to her late brother with a clip from one of his performances of “You.”


“That voice!” wrote the “My Love Is the Shhh!” singer. “Aside from being one of the best R&B male vocalists out there, you were the best big brother ever. I loved you so much. 🥺 I’m thankful that we were so close; a whole mess all the time. We absolutely adored you ‘Jet’ & our family will not be the same without you. #jessepowell #iloveyouforever”