Hotel Lights is the band project of singer-songwriter Darren Jessee, also known for his work as drummer and songwriter in the band Ben Folds Five. The Hotel Lights albums Hotel Lights (2006), Firecracker People (2008), and Girl Graffiti (2011) – all on Bar/None Records – have each been released to great critical acclaim.
Working with guitarist/engineer Alan Weatherhead (Sparklehorse, A Camp) and a roster of A-list instrumentalists, Jessee has created in Hotel Lights a consistent body of impeccable songwriting noted for its integrity, elegance, refined arrangements, and understated hooks.
A native of North Carolina, Jessee now lives in Brooklyn. Well known as a songwriter, in addition to being a musician of great technical ability, Jessee formed Hotel Lights in 2003 after many years writing songs, playing drums, and touring with Ben Folds Five. Called the “secret weapon” of Ben Folds Five by WXPN’s Bruce Warren, Jessee co-wrote some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Brick” and “Song For the Dumped,” as well as writing the tender ballad “Magic” from The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. Throughout the years, Jessee has been in great demand as a collaborator and sideman, most recently touring as a band member with Sharon Van Etten. In his own band, Jessee has seen Hotel Lights songs placed in hit TV shows (Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill), the major motion picture Baby Mama, and international advertising campaigns.