Interview: Jessie James
Wed, 29 Apr 2009 11:31:55
Jessie James isn't your average southern girl—nor is she your average pop singer. In fact, she's a lot more. Musically, this gorgeous starlet-in-the-making blends infectious pop with a fun country edge. She's got attitude and a sharp sense of humor, and it all comes through in her music. Unlike most of the bombastic over-indulgent pop stars, our culture is privy to, Jessie keeps it simple, and it works. She doesn't need to be on TMZ or have some ridiculously bejeweled outfit. She just needs a mic, a stage and an audience. She talked to ARTISTdirect.com in this exclusive interview about her forthcoming major label debut due out this summer, classy sexiness and burning some dude's house down.
Do you feel like you're infusing a traditional pop sound with something really personal?
I think so. Lyrically, I'm actually saying something. A lot of times you listen to music on the radio and you don't know what the hell the artist is saying [Laughs]. I'm a songwriter, and I'm writing about real things. I think my music is pop, but it's also got an organic feel to it. It's real and natural.
What's the story behind "Wanted?"
It's about wanting to be wanted by one particular guy. It's also about wanting to feel sexy without coming off slutty. It talks about being sexy in a classy way. The song came together really fast.
Did the beat for "Blue Jeans" instantly appeal to you?
I created that beat myself. It's funny, I was on the step team in high school, and I still find myself doing it every now and then. I was in the vocal booth doing something else and I just started stepping it. The producer was like, "We have to record that right now." So we stopped and put the microphone by my feet, and I did the whole step. We just started writing to it immediately.
How stoked were you to have "Blue Jeans" in Confessions of a Shopaholic?
I didn't even know the song was in the trailer. I know they were talking about using it in the movie but no one had told me it was confirmed. On Christmas Day, I was sitting at home and I got all of these text messages from girlfriends telling me that they'd gone to see Marley and Me and they heard "Blue Jeans" on the Confessions trailer. I couldn't believe it! I went to go see it that day and it was pretty cool [Laughs].
How intertwined are fashion/style and music?
I'm not a big fashion girl. When I wrote "Blue Jeans," I wanted to write about something that was simple that I wear every day. They will never go out of style either. A lot of artists today sing about Gucci and Louis Vuitton, and I just think it's silly. I don't get that much into it. I'm a simple dressed girl. I think style is very important though. With music, rockstars dress the way they've always dressed. Pop stars have their tummy shirts [Laughs]. As far as style goes with me, I keep it pretty simple, and I think my music matches what I wear. I'm the real deal. I don't go into wearing all of this crazy stuff with the sparkly sunglasses. When I play shows, I wear cut-off jeans, some cute shoes, a v-neck t-shirt and some sunglasses. I think less is more.
You're almost like a female James Dean.
That's what we were going for! [Laughs] I like leather pants, leather jackets, v-necks and cut-offs. I like to keep it simple, sleek and sexy. That's so funny that you said that [Laughs]. I love that. You nailed it, I'm proud of you [Laughs].
Is "Burn It Up" a different kind of love song?
It really is different from most of the songs on the record, and that's why I like it so much. It's about burning a guy's house down after he has cheated on you or not been good to you. I don't know if a lot of pop artists sing about that, but I wanted to. I think if a guy does you wrong, you should just burn his house down [Laughs]. In the second verse, I'm telling the sheriff he was not very good to me what do you expect me to do? Message out to guys: don't date me; I'm crazy [Laughs].