Train taunts haunt singer but inspire her smash hit Girl
POP-star-in-waiting Jess Kent knows what girls like — and it isn’t being harassed as they go about their daily lives. Her latest single Girl, which is blowing up worldwide on 85 playlists reaching 4.5 million people, was inspired by a bad day heading to the studio on the train from downtown Los Angeles.
The London-born, Australianraised singer was raging when she got to the studio to work with hit-maker Justin Tranter, the co-writer of smashes including Justin Bieber’s Sorry and Julia Michaels’ Issues. “I got harassed on the train and that was the final straw. I was living downtown and the commute is so long. I had a car but I wanted to catch the train because it was quicker,” she said. “But every day I went on the train, I would be followed or catcalled or harassed, there would always be this thought that if I was a guy it would be safe to catch the train home but as a girl I have to Uber. “I went into the studio raging, I was so sick of it.”
Back in Australia to open for Australian pop shapeshifter singer-songwriter Holly Rankin, who performs as Jack River, Kent said the song’s message of female empowerment had been simmering in her creative consciousness for some years.
The 24-year-old, who kicked off her career in Adelaide as an 11-year-old busking outside clubs she was too young to perform in, had faced down plenty of men who wanted to dictate what she sang, how she sounded and what she should wear.
She now works with Australian producer and manager Andrew Klippel.
Rising Aussie pop star Jess Kent in Sydney last week. Picture: Sam Ruttyn