Jessie J’s Right on the Money, Money, Money
Photo: Douglas Sonders for iHeartRadio
We’ve recently been graced with a gift from across the pond: a sharp-witted soul-slash-pop-slash-R&B singer songwriter with an infectious energy and lyrics to give Lily Allen a run for her money. Jessie J just released her debut album Who You Are last week, but she comes well equipped with an exceptional voice and the right six-inch heels to command the stage. Not to mention a penchant for writing the catchiest of songs: if you haven’t had her new single ‘Price Tag’ stuck in your head yet (it’s only a matter of time), you’ve at least had the urge to belt out Miley Cryus’ chart-topping hit ‘Party in the USA,’ which was penned by the same hand. Hailing from Essex, the 23-year old is already a household name in the UK, having been named BBC Sound of 2011 and Critic’s Choice at the Brit Awards. And as if she needed any more cred, she was a student at the BRIT school, which has produced some of the biggest names in UK music from Amy Winehouse and Kate Nash to Imogen Heap and Jessie J’s own classmate Adele.
ELLEgirl got the chance to chat with Jessie J right after her performance at Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Live show in New York City last night. Check out what the rising artist had to say about wanting to collab with Justin Bieber and exactly what Jay-Z song she was talking about.
ELLEgirl: You wrote 600 songs before releasing your debut album. That’s enough for an entire career!
Jessie J: Just ’cause I wrote 600 doesn’t mean they were all good. There were a few that went into the iTunes garbage bin, but I think you have to write ten good songs to get one okay one, you know? You have to practice your craft—you can’t just be great just because you want to be.
EG: What’s been the most surprising thing about releasing this album?
JJ: That people kind of want it so quickly. The album is really eclectic, and it’s very, very scary to step into a world that you kind of look up to. All the people that I grew up listening to are all huge American female singers, and to now be talked about amongst people like Rihanna, Beyoncé, Gaga, Pink…it’s an honor. But I think the surprise has just been the amount of fans that have really just caught on to me and really supported me.
Photo: Douglas Sonders for iHeartRadio
EG: B.o.B. is the only featured artist on Who You Are. Who would you love to do a collab with next?
JJ: Well, the list is endless—from Jazmine Sullivan to Kim Burrell to Drake to Nicki Minaj to Beyoncé, Prince—there’s so many people, even someone like Justin Bieber. I just think that as long as you have good energy with somebody, the music is magical.
EG: Before your album even dropped in the US, you performed on SNL. Tell me the best joke you’ve got.
JJ: Why did Santa’s little helper get depressed? Because he had no elf esteem.
EG: Do you have a specific routine or any weird things you like to do before you perform?
JJ: I make my tongue go around my mouth 100 times one way and then the other, I drink honey and lemon and ginger, I do squats, and that’s it really. Just kind of make sure I have a laugh before I go on stage so I don’t go on stage stressed or worrying. I just got to keep it easy and cool—I’ll be good as long as I got my comb. [sticks her fine-toothed comb in her bangs]
EG: Who’s the dude who inspired ‘Do It Like a Dude?’
JJ: ‘Do It Like a Dude’ is a parody of Thaddeus [the bassist]. No, it’s purely just a parody of the stereotypical male that exists. I wanted to write a song that was a tongue-in-cheek, fun kind of club track that girls could feel like they could be gangsters and they could have their chains and have their this and that. I wrote it in the studio with two guys actually who had their trousers down to their knees, and I was like, if we had to run to the bus, you’d never make it.
EG: Let’s say you’re DJing tonight. What are you going to play?
JJ: Oooo…D Train, ‘You’re the One for Me,’ I’m playing Willow Smith ‘Whip My Hair,’ I am playing Beyoncé ‘Diva,’ I am playing ‘Price Tag’ because obviously I’m gonna plug myself, pluggity plug plug. Some James Brown, I’m gonna play Rihanna “oh na na, what’s my name, Ri-ahn-na, that-is-your-name.” It’s gonna be a good night.
EG: You co-wrote Miley Cyrus’ hit ‘Party in the USA.’ What Britney and Jay-Z song are you talking about?
JJ: I didn’t actually put Britney in, Miley changed that. I just put Jay-Z in. I can’t remember what song it was. It might be “99 problems but a…ain’t one,” but it was on the radio at the time. But Miley changed it to Britney. She changed it on a few occasions; she did Michael at one point.
EG: We’re in the thick of prom season write now. Did you have one? Tell me about your date.
JJ: I did, it’s called a leaving ceremony, and I performed actually. We didn’t do dates, it was more kind of go and have fun. It’s not such a big deal in the UK as it is here. But I wore this awful red dress, and I had like a Lego man haircut. I won a sociology award, and I was predicting an A, and when I got my results back I got a D, which wasn’t so good. But at least I got to perform. But prom—I wish I could go to a prom, maybe I should be the prize for a prom thing.
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