He began his acting career as a child actor. He played ‘Daniel’ in the popular soap opera, ‘The Young and the Restless.’
He made his movie debut with the romantic comedy, ‘Life or Something Like That,’ in 2002. The movie, starring Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns in lead roles, revolved around a reporter and her effort in finding life’s meaning.
Jesse portrayed ‘Tommy,’ the son of a cameraman named ‘Pete Scanlon.’ The movie was a commercial and financial failure.
In the same year, Jesse appeared in the film ‘Bundy,’ which was based on the life of a real life serial killer, Ted Bundy. Michael Reilly Burke appeared in the lead role in this crime drama. The film also starred Boti Bliss and Steffani Brass. The movie was a mild success but Jesse’s role went unnoticed in the film.
He was the ‘I’m Ted’ kid in the movie. He made his TV debut in an episode of a series titled ‘Star Trek: Enterprise.’ The episode was titled ‘Marauders’ and he appeared as ‘Q'Ell’ in the sixth episode of the second season of the sci-fi series. The episode was second most watched of the season and had a viewership of 5.6 million after it was first broadcast on October 30, 2002.
In 2003, he had an uncredited role in a comedy film, ‘Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,’ starring David Spade and Mary McCormack. The movie was a critical failure but commercial success.
With time, his focus shifted to music and by 2008, Jesse was already a vocalist in a local band called ‘Curicula.’ In the early 2010, he started recording his own songs under alias Jesse James.
In 2011, he co-founded ‘The Neighbourhood’ and became its lead vocalist. The rock band presented a mix of R&B, hip-hop, indie rock, and electronica.
Rutherford was further joined by guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels, bassist Michael Margott, and drummer Brandon Fried. While the band was busy assembling itself, Jesse released his first mix tape titled ‘Truth Hurts, Truth Heals’ in 2011.
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In 2012, ‘The Neighbourhood’ released its first EP, ‘I’m Sorry.’ The first song was titled ‘Female Robbery’ and it received a good response from the audience.
The next song titled ‘Sweater Weather’ reached the top spot on the ‘Billboard Alternative Songs’ chart in June 2013. The band was certified as Gold by the RIAA for reaching digital sales of more than 500,000 for the single.
Another song titled ‘Afraid’ reached at number 25 on the ‘Billboard 200’ and number 5 at the ‘Billboard Alternate Songs’ chart. Jesse appeared nude in the video of ‘Afraid’ which garnered a lot of attention.
After releasing two more EPs in 2013, the rock band released their first full-length album ‘I Love You’ on April 23, 2013, under ‘Columbia Records.’ The band’s much awaited mixed tape album titled ‘#000000 & #FFFFFF’ was released the following year.
The album was available online for free download. In 2015, Jesse came back with his band’s second full-length album titled ‘Wiped Out!’ which reached at number one spot on the ‘Billboard’s Top Alternative Songs’ chart. Its singles, such as ‘R.I.P. 2 My Youth,’ ‘The Beach,’ and ‘Daddy Issues’ were very well-received by fans.
Their next EP titled ‘Hard’ was released in September 2017, which found its way on ‘Billboard 200.’
Their next EP ‘To Imagine’ was released on January 12, 2018. On March 9, 2018, another EP titled ‘Hard to Imagine’ was released.
The band’s third album, ‘The Neighbourhood,’ was also released in March 2018. The first single of the album was titled ‘The Void’ and received considerable attention online.
The band has also toured with ‘Imagine Dragons’ and have their songs featured on series, such as ‘Twisted’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ The band is currently working on their next EP titled ‘Ever Changing.’
Jesse released his debut solo studio album titled ‘&’ on November 10, 2017, that included 11 tracks. In 2014, Jesse appeared in films, such as ‘The Equalizer’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2.’