You may know the name Jessica Sutta because she was a member of The Pussycat Dolls but she’s ready to break away the chains and step into the spotlight. She now goes by the stage-name JSutta and has just released her debut studio album “I Say Yes” which is 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 and to play a game of fact or fiction with Pussycat Doll rumours and finally clear up if they meant they want boobies or groupies in “When I Grow Up”.
1. So it’s been a long time in the making but you’ve just released your debut album “I Say Yes” a couple weeks ago. Now that you’ve had some time to digest that it’s finally out in the world how are you feeling?
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 thats 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.
2. You said recently that your Dad told you that you couldn’t sing. So being more of a backing vocalist in The Pussycat Dolls did you feel like you now needed to prove everyone wrong?
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 thats 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 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
3. You mentioned on Twitter that the albums track listing tells a story. Do you want to elaborate a bit on that concept?
It’s me coming into “Reign” which is about taking over the world and becoming the queen and not being rain that falls but the reign that reigns the world. And then it goes into falling in love, falling in lust and then going through that romantic part of life and then going through the hardships of a relationship where god you cant take it anymore but I feel like making love so maybe you will call (laughs). So it’s going through that and then towards the end its the realisation of addiction or whatever it may be for the person listening to the album and removing that part of your life and coming through to the other side which is “Sunday Island”. And that’s the journey I went on.
4. The songs have a very positive and euphoric feeling to them. Do you think that now more than ever before that we need to be embracing empowering love tracks?
Yes, we need a lot of positivity, we need a lot of love and we need a lot of healing. There is a lot of muck around in the world right now especially in the United States there is a lot of hate. I feel like this album was healing for myself so I hope that it heals people because I think we need that. I wanted to tell my truth, to grow within my truth so I can be living proof and not just all talk because there are a lot of people who are all talk.
5. 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.
I was obsessed with “Universe” for years and still am. Because 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”, “Cant Take No More”. I just love them all.
6. 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?
Yes. At the end of the day it’s about the fans and now we have direct access to them where as 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 al my fans and thats where the creative process happens.
7. 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?
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 cant say that.
8. 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?
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. Im 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.
9. Can we expect any PCD mash ups in your live shows?
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.
10. And is Australia on the cards?
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).
11. Last year you released a free mixtape “Feline Resurrection” and musically it’s quite a bit different to the debut album. Were they two completely different creative processes or were you inspired differently?
That time was such an experimental time for me. We were trying everything and anything. My manager Mams Taylor was just like go for it, lets develop, lets just create. So I was like I want tattoos, I want to shave my head, I wanna have braids and I want to do this. I just felt like I was breaking the chains and trying to find out who I was. So thats why we gave it away as a mixtape because Feline Resurrection means when a cat dies and comes back to life stronger and fiercer and thats how I felt.
12. You’ve just released the music video for “If You Feel Like Making Love” and it’s quite raw and intimate compared to your previous videos. Do you feel like you were showing a different side or were you channeling the burlesque side of you?
It feels like it has the burlesque side to it but honestly in the burlesque world it felt like I was wearing more clothes (laughs) because we were literally layered. Where as with this song it was very vulnerable and I wanted to show that. It’s really racy for me because I don’t really like to show that anymore.
13. I want to briefly talk about the Feline Resurrection video because that was quite abstract. How did that evolve?
Like I said before, it was a very experimental stage and I honestly didn’t have any more fear so I wanted to speak my truth but artistically. That video was so cathartic I literally did that one scene where I cut my hair in one take. I don’t know what happened to me but I was just in my zone and I have goosebumps thinking about it because I had all the crew, all the dancers around me and there was just so much support. I even chipped a tooth, hurt my neck, I was a mess but I was like THIS IS AWESOME. And it was cool because why not drown in a bowl of milk, why not come back to life as a tiger, why not have these crazy cats take over. I had a lot fun filming it, I may have scared a few people though (laughs).
14. You went through a re-branding with these new projects where you changed your stage name to JSUTTA from Jessica Sutta. Why did you decide this was the appropriate time?
You know, I’m a completely different person now than I was seven years ago. I stepped out of something and I know I was hurt but that doesn’t feel like me anymore, I grew up. So that’s how JSUTTA came along because I want to build my brand and do other things like I would love to do make up, perfume and clothing. Like i’m obsessed with ironing on things to clothes and people think I’m crazy (laughs).
15. You recently secured your second number one Billboard Dance track with Distortion. How was that moment when you found out that as an independent artist you were able to crack that coveted spot?
It was honestly amazing. It was purely on the music and the support I have in the clubs and I’m so blessed for that. I love getting videos from my friends and they are like omg you are playing in the Phillipines or oh my god you’re playing in Orlando. So to get the number one spot as an independent artist we felt like we were all on the right track but it also made me want to work harder.
16. You have some incredibly die-hard fans, what message do you want to send out to them?
I love you guys so much, thanks for aways believing in me. You are the reason I don’t give up, honestly. It ain’t an easy industry but it’s worth it when I see them and hear their reactions and I just want to make them proud.
17. Fact Or Fiction with The Pussycat Dolls
The group was fined for performing in Kuala Lumpur because of indecent dancing False because it was indecent clothing because we showed our midrift. 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 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.
A Movie/documentary was being made on the Doll Domination Tour? Maybe, they didn’t tell us anything (laughs).
What would we have seen in that movie though? errmmm that was a really interesting tour (laughs). All in all though it was really positive vibes, we had our backing dancers with us and it was really fun. We just watched a lot of YouTube backstage.
You were told to dye your hair red after Carmit departed the group? 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? True! They wouldn’t give us any control or creativity, thats 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? Never say never is what I say. It’s about the fans. But if they are already in the studio its 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? It’s Groupies! it does sound like boobies and we always did the boobies grab in the choreography on purpose to trick everyone (laughs).
JUSTTA – “I Say Yes” is available now to stream through ITunes and you can stream on Apple Music and Spotify