Do believe the hype
British pop sensation Jessie J has been hailed as one of the best singers of her generation and so far is living up to expectation, writes Ross Purdie
Cornish made her pop imprint writing songs for Alicia Keys and Chris Brown, famously writing the Miley Cyrus hit Party In The USA before going solo and signing a major label record deal last year.
Her breakthrough anthem Price Tag, an upbeat stance against pop society’s obsession with money, has topped the charts in 14 countries and it dominated Australian radio last month.
She’s openly bisexual and first captured the attention of UK music fans with her provocatively titled hit Do It Like A Dude.
But that didn’t stop many Australians asking ‘‘ Jessie who?’’ when she performed at the Logies recently, not that being shrouded in mystery and up against Katy Perry fazed her in the slightest.
‘‘ I was willing to take the risk because I don’t want to be somebody confined to one territory,’’ Cornish says, adding how ‘‘ epic’’ she’s found the media attention Down Under.
‘‘ I definitely feel like I’m flying the flag for British music because it’s not often that someone has the opportunity to get their single and album released around the world.’’
Cornish has been shouting above JESSIE J is indicative of the lightning rise in today’s music industry, a star deemed super before she’s even had time to pop.
But if any singer can be realistically expected to take on Gaga-esque status then the girl known to her mates as Jessica Cornish is it.
The 23-year-old Londoner ( pictured) has already been hyped to within an inch of her eye-trimmed fringe.
Hailed by Justin Timberlake as the best singer in the world, she was named the Sound of 2011 by the BBC and won the Critics’ Choice at the BRIT Awards – all before the release of her debut album Who You Are. the crowd all her life. At 11, she was banished from her school choir for being too loud.
The same year her gobbiness was rewarded with a casting in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End production of Whistle Down the Wind.
After attending the BRIT School for music, a talent pool which has produced stars such as Adele, Kate Nash and Katie Melua, the inevitable struggle to crack the music business began.
She founded a girl group, Soul Deep, which lasted little over a year, while an early solo record deal came to nothing after the label she was signed to went bankrupt.
But despite the knocks, the idea of quitting was never considered.
‘‘ I definitely think I was put on this earth to make music and I’m the best version of myself when I’m performing,’’ she says.
‘‘ Even during the times when I thought ‘ I can’t do this any more’ there was something leading me back on to the path of making my own music. Everyone has their light and their reason to live and music was always my comfort blanket.’’
That music and that voice, as pleasing delivered acoustically as with the full force of her album’s production, is now offering comfort to fans across the world. Cornish is delighting in being a role model. From teenagers tattooing lyrics over their heart to one youngster who claimed salvation from the brink of suicide because of her songs, fame has come hand in hand with responsibility.
There’s little chance of a Britney-style meltdown. An irregular heartbeat condition means no smoking, drinking or taking drugs a lifestyle Cornish is determined to promote.
‘‘ It saddens me that all that is the nature of the industry and the world,’’ she says.
‘‘ I want to be a role model for any child who’s being peer pressured into drinking or taking drugs. That should be normal.’’