Jessie J is a 22-year old, Essex-born songwriter who has written songs for the likes of Alicia Keys and notably wrote the huge Miley Cyrus hit Party In The USA. Do It Like A Dude is an attitude-filled,hook-laden stomper which sees her artist career off to the perfect start. This remix from Labrinth, which has already been added to the 1Xtra playlist two months ahead of release, spread quickly through the blogs putting Jessie J straight at No1 in the HypeMachine chart in the first day. Her performances on her YouTube channel have now passed 1million views. Jessie J’s debut album, due out in 2011, features another future hit in Price Tag, produced by Doctor Luke, a collaboration with US rapper B.o.B. Jessie J will deservedly feature on many ‘ones to watch’ lists at the end of the year.
Tipped by: Anna Nathanson, 1Xtra
I recently had the pleasure of seeing star in the making Jessie J twice in the space of a week, first at Notting Hill venue YoYo’s where she performed songs from her forthcoming album and then a longer set with a full band at Hoxton Bar & Grill.
Both shows were roadblocks with massive queues outside as fans waited to see the starlet in action, with many missing out due to the sheer number of people vying to get in.
After gaining notoriety on Youtube, the 22-year-old BRIT School graduate signed to Island Records and has already written for the likes of Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown and Christina Aguilera, as well as penning a US Number 1 smash, Party In The USA for Miley Cyrus.
Now she is set to become a star in her own right and judging by these early live performances, it won’t be long before she is playing much bigger venues. It was clear that she already has a dedicated fan base, with people knowing every word to many of the tracks she sang.
She appeared comfortable and entertaining on stage, joking with the crowd and shouting out 1Xtra, who recently playlisted her debut single Do It Like A Dude, an infectious hooky track which she originally wrote for Rihanna. Huge ballads such as Big White Room, Who You Are and Casualty of Love showed off her voice to full effect, and along with more uptempo numbers such as Stand Up and Price Tag, it was clear that Jessie J’s material matched her powerful vocals, adding up to a surefire recipe for the next big thing in British music.
Jessie J’s Confidence Tips
“Believe that confidence is important”
“Whether you’re a singer, a mother, at school; one thing I’ve always said is that I’ve always wanted to base my confidence on purity. Confidence should come from you and shouldn’t ever have to be intoxicated with anything to make you feel like you can be confident, i.e. alcohol or drugs. Without confidence you can’t live life, you have to have confidence, so I think it’s really important.”
“Have faith in yourself”
“If I walked on stage apologising and saying “Ok, I’m going to sing; I don’t know if it’s going to be good or not”, people would be like; “Wait a minute, if she doesn’t believe in herself, why should we believe in her?” I’ve been around for six years, I’ve had to go into meetings with some of the richest, most egotistical people and go; “I want you to believe in me”. My family and friends have always said; “believe in yourself, because if you don’t, nobody else will believe in you.”
“Don’t get embarrassed”
“I’ve learnt to let that go. A lot of people get so embarrassed, and there is a lot of pride and ego that you have to let go of. I did a photo shoot and had lipstick on my teeth and nobody told me! I’m not going to get embarrassed because I have lipstick on my teeth. It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself and not take yourself too seriously and just say “I look like an idiot” because everybody does sometimes.”
“I’ve always said that I’ll never label my music, and I’ll never label my sexuality. I think people feel that you have to put yourself in a box to feel comfortable. If I meet a girl and I’m happy with that person, then it’s a girl. If it’s a guy, it’s a guy. There’ll always be people who hate what you do, but you just have to go; “If it makes me happy then I’m not going to apologise for it”. Love who you love, do what you do, you only get one life, never apologise for something that makes you happy, and write songs about it, write poems about it. Be you.”
“Being loud does not equal confidence”
“I think that anyone who feels that they have to fill every silence, that’s actually a massive sign of insecurity. And even though I can talk for England, I can also (goes quiet for a few seconds)…do an awkward silence (laughs).”
“Count your blessings”
“Yes I have a heart problem and I had a minor stroke but I think it’s a blessing in disguise that I can’t abuse my body the way some people do. I remember when I won the Critics Choice Award and people were like; “You don’t drink so how are you going to celebrate?” and I think it’s really sad that people associate getting drunk with having fun. That’s not how I roll. I think it’s really important for people to know that that’s not the only way to have fun.”
“If you need help, get help”
“I was bullied at school. Not horrifically but enough to write “Who’s Laughing Now?” which is on my album. I think my advice would be to tell somebody that you trust straight away. You should never go through it alone, as it’s horrible. My dad always used to say to me that people who bully, there’s a reason for it and it’s actually because they’re the insecure ones. It says more about them than it ever will about you, and that’s something that I think a lot of young people don’t realise, is that a bully is a bully for a reason. They’re not bullying you because of you; they’re bullying you because of how they are. It breaks my heart; I get messages all the time from people being bullied and I just hope that my music is helping them as that’s all I can give.”
Words: Anna Nathanson