After 600 songs, U.K.'s Jessie J releases debut CD

By Mesfin Fekadu
Associated Press / April 19, 2011

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NEW YORK—Jessie J spent the last seven years crafting songs for her debut CD. And in that time she came up with a whopping 600 tracks.

"(It) isn't that many `cause it's less than 100 a year," she said. "(There are) the bad ones that no one will ever hear ... (but) I was young and the thing is, you have to write the bad ones to kind of know when something is good."

Luckily, the 23-year-old found 13 songs good enough to make it on her first album.

The British newcomer -- who won Critics' Choice at this year's Brit Awards -- released her debut, "Who You Are," in her native country in February. There it debuted at No. 2, reached platinum status and its first two singles, "Price Tag" and "Do It Like a Dude," have hit the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively.

Jessie J is hoping to duplicate that success with the recent U.S. release of the album. "Price Tag," which features rapper B.o.B, hit the Top 40 on the Billboard chart last week.


The Associated Press: B.o.B is the only featured artist on your debut. Why him?

Jessie J: If I was a male rapper -- which obviously I'm not -- (but) if I was, I think I'd be like him, and maybe (be) called like J.o.B. ... I remember he got played the song, he loved it and I did like five plane journeys in like four days and chased him around the U.S. to make sure I was there (for the recording), so it was an experience.

AP: So you went to high school with Adele -- how was that?

Jessie J: She was in music and I was in musical theater. ... We used to jam at lunch time and someone would play guitar and we both would just sing. ... At the time we both didn't know we'd have, like, albums out at the same time. And she's killing it. I'm so proud of her. ... (At school) she was very kind of loud and everyone knew her and she was the girl everyone loved and up for a laugh and you could hear her laugh from a mile down the corridor.

AP: Talk about writing Miley Cyrus' "Party In the U.S.A."

Jessie J: That was my first week of writing after I signed to (Universal) Republic (Records), so it was like the first big kind of writing session for my debut album ... and it was one of the first songs we did. And I remember thinking this song is amazing, but I don't know if it's me 110 percent, you know. You can kind of feel it. It was cool but it wasn't edgy enough.

AP: It was a big deal for Miley though.

Jessie J: There are so many friends of mine that would say, "I would never, ever, ever listen to Miley Cyrus, like, as Hannah Montana" and it kind of brought her over to another style.

AP: Dr. Luke worked on two songs on your CD and he's produced hits for a lot of female pop singers. Were you hesitant about sounding like them?

Jessie J: I remember first going in with Dr. Luke and it's big pressure when you know you're going in with someone that's written huge hits for other female artists and you don't want to sound like them. And I went in with him and (songwriter) Claude (Kelly) and said, "This is who I am. This is what I do." ... And we sat for hours and went through my iTunes and listened to like, old Mary J. Blige and old Mariah (Carey) and Whitney (Houston) and Lauryn (Hill) and I said, "I kind of want to write tracks like that." And there's a song on my album called "Abracadabra" which totally is very different to what kind of, I wouldn't say what Luke does, but you know, that big, pop, Katy Perry, Britney (Spears), I forgotten her name ... Ke$ha -- that kind of sound.