I bare I don’t I appr be­cau

From No. 1 hits to upst re­lent­less rise is driven

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FEATURE -

Jessie — aka Jes­sica Ellen Cor­nish — is the pop star of the mo­ment. The whip- smart 24- year- old Es­sex girl has proved to be the jewel in the crown of the BBC’S hit Satur­day night tal­ent show The Voice and Si­mon Cow­ell has — very pub­licly — tried to steal her for his new se­ries of The X Fac­tor. All this on top of a dizzy­ingly fast-paced mu­sic ca­reer. Tulisa Con­tostav­los de­scribes her as ‘the clever­est and most wicked girl I know’.

At the age of 11 she was star­ring in a West End show and by 16 she was per­son­ally asked by An­drew Lloyd Web­ber to au­di­tion for Evita (she was later deemed too young). She at­tended the Brit per­form­ing arts school with Leona Lewis and Adele and got her big break sup­port­ing US rap star Chris Brown on stage, while Mi­ley Cyrus took her song Party In The USA to the top of the US charts. Jessie’s own de­but al­bum, Who You Are, went triple plat­inum and spawned six hits, in­clud­ing the No. 1 smash Price Tag.

She is known for her in-your-face lyrics, don’t- give- a- damn at­ti­tude and those ul­tra-tight cat­suits — but there’s a lot more to Jessie J than a clever new im­age and a rat­ings-grab­bing TV show. A lot of peo­ple have the wrong im­pres­sion of me. They think I’m this loud, out­ra­geous, re­bel­lious thing. I’m not that girl. What hap­pens is an im­age gets cre­ated and peo­ple be­lieve it. Yes, I love be­ing on stage, I love say­ing what’s im­por­tant to me, I love what I do, but I’m the girl who goes home to her par­ents on a day off, has a meal at Nando’s with her mates and cel­e­brates a great night with half a shandy. That’s who I am. I don’t drink to ex­cess and I don’t do drugs. What I find shock­ing is that peo­ple are ac­tu­ally shocked when I say I don’t do drugs. When did it be­come more sur­pris­ing not to do drugs than to do them? To me that’s just mad. I’ve wanted to do what I’m do­ing now since I was about four. I’ve al­ways been in­cred­i­bly fo­cused — too fo­cused to get side­tracked with par­ty­ing. I will have a drink, prob­a­bly a shandy, but I can’t do what I do with a hang­over. I’m too con­scious of my health and the need to give 100 per cent to my job. I’m in an un­be­liev­ably priv­i­leged po­si­tion, and it’s my job to stay fo­cused, stay healthy and do what I do as well as I pos­si­bly can. My ill­ness is def­i­nitely a huge part of me. I think of my­self as half mu­si­cian, half ther­a­pist. When I was a child I was di­ag­nosed with a heart prob­lem [an ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat], and at 18 I had a mi­nor stroke. I spent a lot of time in Great Or­mond Street Hospi­tal. My song Big White Room was writ­ten about a boy in my ward who didn’t sur­vive his op­er­a­tion. I had to write about how that ex­pe­ri­ence made me feel. It shapes your life. It changes you. You should do what you be­lieve in, ap­pre­ci­ate what you have, stay close to the peo­ple who love you. I apol­o­gise in ad­vance for pulling so many silly faces on The Voice. I can’t help my­self. Peo­ple don’t re­alise that my whole back­ground is in mu­si­cal theatre, and that mu­si­cals are where I started and do­ing shows in the West End was what it was all about for me as a kid. So it’s just been drummed into me: ex­ag­ger­ate those ex­pres­sions, pull big, ex­pres­sive faces. I see my­self do­ing it and I’m like, ‘Jessie, NO!’ But I can’t stop it. My big dream one day is to do my own show in the West End. I’ve got an idea for one which I want to write, but there are so many things go­ing on in my life at the mo­ment; I’ll just have to wait for the right time. It’s def­i­nitely some­thing I want to do, though. I’m still get­ting used to celebrity. I’ve only re­ally been in the spot­light for a year or so. I haven’t changed at all, but ev­ery­thing around me has. I’m very aware I mustn’t start liv­ing my life in a bub­ble. I see that hap­pen­ing to peo­ple around me and I don’t want that for my­self. I have a re­ally small team around me who I trust, and I’m in­cred­i­bly close to my mum, my dad and my two amaz­ing older sis­ters and their kids. My fam­ily keep me grounded. I sat at home with my mum and dad in my PJS to watch my­self on The Voice. That was a re­ally nice mo­ment. I took it as a mas­sive com­pli­ment when Si­mon Cow­ell said he wanted me as a judge on The X Fac­tor. I love Si­mon; he’s a won­der­ful per­son and I re­ally re­spect him as a businessman. I’ve hung out with him in LA and he’s very funny and re­ally warm. I’ve been on both of his shows, on Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent and help­ing Tulisa [Con­tostav­los] pick her fi­nal­ists on The X Fac­tor. But The Voice is what I’m all about; it’s just about the mu­sic, and that’s what

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