Saturday, 18 December 2010
An interview with Jessie J.
She describes herself as an Essex chick with a Mystic Meg hairdo, Justin Timberlake describes her as the best singer in the world, and everyone from Kylie to Jo Whiley are falling over themselves to pledge their allegiance. Jessie J has arrived, seemingly out of nowhere, to become the buzz artist of 2010. In fact, she’s been signed one way or another for six years, and wrote Party In The USA for Miley Cyrus before landing a deal as an artist in her own right. “I’m glad that I’ve had time to practice without people watching me. It was almost like a development deal in disguise” enthuses Jessie, whose debut single Do It Like A Dude is a stomping slice of urban pop with more swagger than an army of Cher Lloyd’s, and a video in which one reviewer described her as looking like she was going to “fuck you then eat you.” Shortly after this interview she won the BRITS Critic Choice award. Well done Jessie J.
I saw you support Cyndi Lauper on her Bring It To The Brink tour. Was she mental?
I think she’s really creative and anyone that’s really creative is beautifully eccentric. In the dates I did with her she was really passionate about everything she does, and very intricate with everything and every detail. She wants to give so much, which is probably why you ask her a question and she’s talking for forty minutes!
How did you feel when Justin Timberlake said you were the best singer in the world?
When I met him he was just like “your voice is incredible”. We did a session together, just jamming out for a week and we were just hanging out and getting to know each other. He is a genius, and his team is the best of the best. To have someone of his calibre that I kind of grew up listening to and made me want to sing is a bit weird. It’s like “PRESSURE!”
The single wasn’t the direction I would have expected you to take.
I remember being in the studio and everyone was like “we need a first single” and I started writing Do It Like A Dude and it really fit what’s happening now. A lot of people didn’t think it was a singer-song, but its not supposed to be. I can sing and there are songs on the album that reflect that, but it’s a song that invites way more people in. You can have it in a club, or an acoustic version. I’m 22, its just a bit of fun and I love performing it. It makes me feel like I can take over the world. I’m glad it was the first single, for all of the love and hate its getting.
I really like Miley Cyrus as a pop star. Having written for her, how do you feel about her?
I think she’s incredible.
Have you heard See You Again? I love the lyric “you asked what’s wrong with me, my best friend Leslie said “Oh, she’s just being Miley”. There aren’t enough best friends called Leslie in pop.
I think she’s brilliant. People need to remember how young she is and the pressure she’s under. I just watched the Rise and Rise of Miley on TV and I was, like, wow. I wrote the song for her and within three weeks she’d recorded it and it had gone to number one. It went to number one in six countries. I can’t get my head around it.
The Do It Like A Dude video’s quite intense.
It was so much fun. I remember telling the director I want to be like Rufio from Hook. I wanted to grab people’s attention and I had to “I’m here, I’m ready.” I couldn’t walk the next day. I was cracking up laughing at myself thinking “who do I think I am?” I’ve been in and out of hospital my whole life because I’ve got a heart problem, and three years ago I had a minor stroke and I can’t drink, I can’t smoke, I can’t touch drugs, and I have to go on stage and do videos just me. I can’t intoxicate myself so I have to be me, and its hard doing a video like Do It Like A Dude and reading Youtube videos saying “she’s off her face”. Yeah, on Haribo! I suppose it’s important for me to make sure that young people who are watching me know that it’s not affecting me. Don’t let bullies affect you, because if you do it will only break you, and that’s what they want.
There seems to be a theme of empowerment on the album. Is that something you were conscious of writing it?
I almost want to be a therapist as well as an artist. My dad and mum are two huge role models in my life and my dad is a social worker and has spent his life saving other people’s. I always knew that I wasn’t academic enough to be a doctor or a surgeon but I knew that I could write songs and sing. I wanted to put how I’ve been taught to see the world into my album.
More Jessie J.