Late R&B singer Jesse Powell’s classic ballad, “You,” has made its debut on Billboard’s R&B Digital Song Sales chart. For the week of Sept. 24, his 1996 single peaked at No. 5 under Chris Brown’s “Under the Influence,” Beyoncé’s “Cuff It” and “Break My Soul,” and Lizzo’s “About Damn Time.”
Powell’s signature song originally debuted at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1999 and peaked at No. 10, becoming his first and only top 10 record after reappearing on his sophomore album, ‘Bout It.
The album became certified gold by the RIAA on June 8, 1999, nine months after garnering over 500,000 unit sales. This feat was Powell’s first and only RIAA certification. In February 2001, when he released his final album, Jesse, he spoke about its predecessor with Billboard explaining, “That old soul vibe kind of captures [my sound] today.”
At that time, Marilyn Batchelor, MCA’s VP of strategic marketing, expressed, “In the midst of all the R&B vocalists, Jesse is definitely one who stands out […] Everybody wants to make the [male vocalist] some
macho, hard-nose who looks like he’s about to beat somebody up. But if that’s not what every artist is, you can’t fake it. Every now and then the nice guy can finish first.”
Powell, 51, passed away on Sept. 12, 2022. The news was confirmed by his sister, Tamara, on Instagram two days later. His cause of death has not been revealed, but the family is in the process of organizing a memorial in his honor.