You may know the name Jessica Sutta as a member of The Pussycat Dolls. Now, she’s ready to break away the chains and step into the spotlight. Going by the stage-name JSutta, she has just released her debut studio album “I Say Yes”, an impressive collection of up-beat and club ready tracks that give you big euphoric moments as well as a couple of intimate emotional ones.
Recently I sat down with her at her Los Angeles home to discuss the new record, touring, rediscovering yourself, to play a game of fact or fiction with Pussycat Doll rumours and finally clear up if the lyrics are “I boobies” or “groupies” in “When I Grow Up”.
So it’s been a long time in the making but you’ve just released your debut album “I Say Yes” a couple of weeks ago. Now that you’ve had some time to digest that it’s finally out in the world, how are you feeling?
JS: I feel accomplished. It’s been 3 years in the making and I’ve grown so much as a person and as an artist. It’s been a really incredible ride if I’m being honest with you. My voice has grown, the way I think has changed so dramatically that I feel like a completely different person. Because I said yes to myself and that’s the theme of the album “I Say Yes”. I said yes to giving myself the best life possible, removing bad toxic things out but growing through it.
You said recently that your Dad told you that you couldn't sing. From being more of a backing vocalist in The Pussycat Dolls, when writing the album did you feel like you needed to prove everyone wrong?
JS: Absolutely! I think that was my drive. I think everyone that is put in your life is there for a reason to teach you, to grow. Especially when you’re an artist because you have to use every possibility; hardships, love, everything. you can use it for your art and that’s what I decided to do as opposed to being upset about it and not singing which I did for many years. My throat just closed up and I was so afraid of my own voice, especially in a microphone and so loud like oh my god. So I had to break a lot of barriers but I feel like I’m living proof that you can go through real hardships and come out of it stronger and I hope to inspire people.
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I’m personally obsessed with this album and I have my favourite tracks but I wanted to know what your favourite tracks are and what one was the most special or hardest one to write.
JS: I was obsessed with “Universe” for years and still am. I can see the live show in my head which I’m currently creating and touring in the summer. I’m not going to wait to open for anyone I’m just going to go out there and do it. I love “Inches Away” because I’ve been learning it on piano even though I have ridiculous nails. I love “Sunday Island”, “I Say Yes”, “Can’t Take No More”. I just love them all.
You are an independent artist and you do seem to have a lot of creative control around your music and image and branding. Do you think that being an independent artist and having direct communication with the fans through social media is the way of the future to release the music you want?
JS: Yes. At the end of the day it’s about the fans and now we have direct access to them whereas before there was someone stopping us and controlling it. Now with the internet and especially as an independent artist there are no boundaries to who I can reach and I honestly get feedback from all my fans and that’s where the creative process happens.
And you’ve experienced it from both sides now; you’ve seen it as an independent artist and then with a big machine behind you with The Pussycat Dolls. What would you say are the main differences?
JS: Oh man it was a lot easier with the big machine (laughs). I really liked staying at Ritz-Carlton and taking bubble baths but at the end of the day the victories are more sweet. The success is mine, my album is me. Everything I want to say I can, I don’t have anyone saying no you can’t say that.
Now that the album is out you’ve said your planning your tour and heading out on the road this summer so what can your fans expect from the live show?
JS: I’m building a storyline at the moment with big visuals and there is always high energy, lots of dancing and I have extraordinary dancers who I will be bringing on the road with me who are my besties so just expect a lot of love on that stage. I’m playing around with ideas of mashups too like I would love to do one of “Shame”, “Pushed Me” and “Can’t Take No More”. I think that would be pretty rad.
Can we expect any PCD mash ups in your live shows?
JS: I do “Don’t Cha” sometimes but my music has evolved so much and I’m lucky enough that I’ve had some success as an independent artist so I kind of leave The Pussycat Dolls stuff out now.
Is Australia on the cards?
JS: Yes definitely! I love Australia. We were talking about going soon so I promise! But I’m going to come during your summer because you guys have some torrential rainfall during your winter (laughs).
Fact Or Fiction with The Pussycat Dolls
The group was fined for performing in Kuala Lumpur because of indecent dancing.
JS: False because it was indecent clothing because we showed our midriff. You could either show your midriff or your legs but you couldn't show both and we showed both. I had no idea, the other girls had no idea but I’m sure that management knew. I hope we didn't offend anyone.
You were kicked out of the group after breaking your rib in Australia.
JS: I didn't get kicked out of the group, that’s false. I left the group but it was at the end for everyone I think.
You were told to dye your hair red after Carmit departed the group.
JS: True! At first I didn't want to and hated it because it didn't feel like me but contractually I didn't have a choice. But it ended up growing on me and I’ve kept it (laughs).
Nicole recorded 90% of the first album before you guys even stepped into the studio.
JS:True! They wouldn't give us any control or creativity, that’s why it was so frustrating. It opened up a little for the second album, but not much.We wanted a lot more of the creative process but we weren’t allowed to.
There is a possibility of a reunion happening and you guys are already in the studio?
JS: Never say never is what I say. It’s about the fans. But if they are already in the studio it’s probably just Nicole again (laughs).
And finally, the most important question I’m going to ask you today; "In When I Grow Up" did you want groupies or boobies?
JS: It’s Groupies! it does sound like boobies and we always did the boobies grab in the choreography on purpose to trick everyone (laughs).
Read the whole interview here.
Written by Thomas Bleach