Jessie J: I Quit Music, Deleted An Album, Then Changed My Mind | E139 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Jessie J: I Quit Music, Deleted An Album, Then Changed My Mind | E139".
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Could you do me a quick favour if you're listening to this? Please hit the follow or subscribe button. It helps more than you know, and we invite subscribers in every month to watch the show in person. I felt like I had been given everything I've ever wanted, and then someone had gone, "But you can't have it." I've never felt so lonely in my life. ♪ Jessie J. ♪ ♪ The river to the room ♪ ♪ Forget about the pride and take ♪ 2015, '16. It was really the first time that I'd had fame. I didn't know how to cope with it, so I just panicked all the time. I just want to see. The day that I found out that the baby had died, I didn't have anyone to just fall apart on, and that's what I needed, that's what I wanted. When I sent you that voice note, it was around the time when you'd done a big post about Dave. He was my guy, and I wish I could have protected him from himself, like he protected me from myself. That's the thing that has me the most. Between Dave and Jamal, the things that those people gave me in my life are things that I know I have to find in myself. You got this bougie-ass place and you got kitchen roll, I love it. So without further ado, I'm Stephen Bartlett, and this is the Dyer over CEO, USA edition. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are, then please keep this to yourself. I tend to believe that people's family are their foundation, and when I was reading through the story of your family in your early years, it actually seemed pretty idyllic.
Personal Growth And Struggles
My childhood and health problems (01:36)
Yeah, I mean, we were, my mum and dad, I didn't go out with loads of money, like we weren't hard, hard up, but we weren't rich. But when I think about it again, like the one thing that I've learned from my parents the most is it doesn't matter about the things and the specifics, it's about the energy you'd create within what you have. So like, we would go camping in the garden, and my dad would pretend to be a bear in the middle of the night. And I believed to this day it was a bear. Like, you know, my mum's like looking out the window 'cause she's gone in 'cause she's like, I ain't doing this, I'm my dad. - This day. - Yeah, my dad's peeling in a bucket. Yeah, they're still doing it. Like, not in front of us 'cause that'd be weird. But like, just they used to just create these experiences and it was all about feeling, and that's what I remember the most from my childhood. Like, more so than anything else. Like, it's weird, like, I was in hospital a lot of my childhood, and I never, ever thought I was sick 'cause my mum and dad never treated me as if I was. Like, they would, it never became a definitive of who I was, which is, I think, even why now, I don't, to find myself on that, I don't want to even other people try. But there was just always this air of making the best of whatever the moment was, even if it was tough. - Your dad worked in mental health. - Yeah, in mental health social worker. - How did that influence your early years having her? - Well, my dad is a Pisces through and through. He's an emotional, honest, hilarious, very sensitive, stubborn man. And so, growing up, he's very in touch with, like, his feelings and his emotions, which isn't common in a lot of men, you know? And we grow up talking, and I spent a lot of time with my dad when I was young. And he used humor in his job and with us as me and my two sisters, and his relationship with my mum, he made a laugh. And even now, my dad's humor is his defense, his way of hiding, his way of making friends, his way of healing. And him being a social worker was always that beautiful thing where he used to ride the line where he would open you up. Know that you were gonna cry and then make you laugh. And you always feel safe when you're very, very sad and then you laugh, the emotions always kind of, they intertwine, like, deep sadness and, like, intense happiness are so close together. That, like, feeling when you're at a funeral and everyone's crying and then someone makes a joke and everyone bursts into laughter. Like, that's the line that my dad is incredible at. Kind of balancing. - You'll get it that too, 'cause I-- - Which is where I get it from, for sure. - I've watched you in some of your hardest moments in your-- - Yeah, I make a joke, but I'd use it in a way to allow people to feel safe, including myself, to bring out the sadness and the pain, you know? And to talk about something really, really intense or go through a moment that's hard, but then make a joke or make light of the situation or laugh at ourselves, you know? And then, like, go into birds eye view and look down and go, "Look, I'll slot." You paid 30 quid to come and cry, you know what I mean? And it's like, and it's that thing of you just come in, tapping back into reality and just going, "Oh, God, like, it's not, I'm not alone." Like, and it's good to laugh and laughter can feel as, to me, as connective, as crying with someone, as being intimate with someone. There's that thing that you have, where if you're really in that moment, it's such a release. - You said you spent a lot of your time as a kid in hospital. - Yeah. - What was the first time you went to hospital? - First memory I have, I think I was eight, and we was in Eppin' Forest, if you into Eppin' Forest. - I have a name. - Probably not. Well, you can go, it's lovely. - They're all the same name in the forest. - Yeah, so, yeah, it always starts in a forest and it's like an episode of Black Mirror. So me and my sisters and my dad were in the park and he said, "Let's race to the car." So we started to run and I just remember I couldn't breathe and I collapsed. And the next thing I remember is my dad picking me up and running to the car. We got into the car, we went to the hospital. And my dad has WPW, my granddad had WPW, which is a heart problem. And so that was the first time I was taking in with a regular heartbeat. I was put on very heavy medication as a child, which would cause me to have seizures and pass out and have, like, it was just awful. So I was in and out of hospital a lot as a child. It was weird, like I remember being let out for the day to go and do rehearsals for Bugs in Malone. And then I would go back in, so I'd be on a drip at the rehearsal. So it was always this kind of balance that kept me present in myself. And I almost think that that's been my blessing in my life. Like my health has always kept my feet on the ground, in many ways. But I never remember being in hospital and being aware of what I was going through. Every memory I have, I'm always thinking about the people I watched and remember, like, looking at going, "God, they need a magazine, "or they haven't eaten anything today." Or, "I wonder how they're feeling." I don't remember being in Patton or coming around from an operation. Or it's weird, it's trippy. It's almost like it didn't happen. - You define yourself as an empath. You said it when you came in. - Yeah, for sure. And, kind of... Even if it hurt me, I feel bad for the people that hurt me. Because I look at why they've hurt me as opposed to the way I feel. But again, I don't know, I try and use it as the best I can, because I know it's just who I am. - When you're in a hospital, one of the things that you saw was, which inspired Big White Rim. - Yeah. - Was a boy laid next to you? - Yeah, so I was in a lady bird ward, and there was a little boy in the room with me. And I remember waking up in the middle of the night and he was crying. And praying and had all of these tubes and the bloodlines and stuff. I don't remember what it was called. I don't remember what it was called, but he just had all these things and he was just going, "Please, don't let me die. "I'm so scared. "Don't let me die, God. "I want to stay here. "I really want to be here." And he was, I can't, he was probably 10 or 11, and I woke up and I remember just sitting and watching him for hours and just listening to him. And then the next morning, I remember seeing his mum come in and just taking all the balloons. And I said to my mum, like, I was upset and I just remember saying, "Why? "Why wasn't he here now?" Like he asked so nicely. And my mum just said, "Sometimes God needs his angels closer to him." And I remember that moment stayed with me for years. You know, I was probably 10 when that happened. And when I was 16, 17, I had to write a song about it. It was the first song I wrote and it stayed with me. That was the way I needed to let that feeling out. You know, of like, everybody's looking at me and everyone's staring at me, "What do I do now? "I smile 'cause I'm still here. "I don't want to be here." And I don't remember what I felt like before. You know, and obviously since that moment, that experience, and then when I wrote the song, I'd also gone through a lot more health stuff and experiences. But that was the most human thing I'd ever seen, even though I wasn't conscious of the fact that it was. - How long did that last that the health issues in your sort of pre-18 years in terms of going in and out of hospital? - Not very long. I mean, it was chunks of time and I had an ablation, which is like a little operation they do. They put two wires through your shoulder and two wires through your groin and they try and kind of electrocute your heart into a normal rhythm and it didn't work. So I get a regular heartbeat now, but I just, I don't take any medication. I believe in good diet and like how I feel and I try and do everything the holistic, natural way. I don't believe in medicine as much as other people do. But I think it was funny 'cause I actually got to a point where I felt a lot stronger and I was in a stride and I was in a girl band and I was at the Brit school and I was like, I'd cut my hair and I was a Vidal Sassoon model and I was like, you know, I'm starting to feel like I can fit in and I'm not the sick kid that can sing. You know, and then I had a stroke when I was 17. And then it kind of, again, kind of took a dip and then I'd get back on my feet and I'd get signed and then I broke my foot. - Yeah, the stroke at 17. - Yeah, the stroke in Hamley's, you know, it's the toy shop. - Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. - I work there doing now, Jazz, now art. And I was like, I don't feel very well. And I was like doing a lot. I've always been someone that's like over exerted myself and probably doesn't know when to take a break. And yeah, I lost the feeling on the right side of my body for almost a month. And now all my issues have been on this side, like this side of my body.
Growth in moments of sadness and pain (11:18)
So I know like, it's so weird, 'cause like when people go, oh my God, you had a stroke and I'm like, yeah, I don't even think about it. I don't define, I don't wanna define myself on it. I don't wanna introduce myself with it. 'Cause like, I'm grateful it happened because if those things hadn't happened in my life, you know, the minniers, the uterus issues I've had, the fertility thing, the miscarriage, like, you grow in moments of sadness and pain, you know? And I grew up in those moments and I didn't take my body for granted. And I think it's actually given me more moments of beautiful success and joy in my life, not drowning my body in alcohol and drugs and having to take moments of still and resting. And it was almost like a very young age, a very pivotal time of my career kind of starting to take off and then more of a, this could actually be my life. Why? My body would always keep me safe, even though it was shutting down. It would always just remind me to go, you're not superhuman, you could die. Don't fuck this up, you know? And so it almost feels like my health has just always had my back when my life has gone like this. It's always kind of gone take a second. And for a long time, I felt like I was cast with this spell that like every time I kind of got somewhere, like I was just about to break America and I broke my foot and I had to pull out of opening for Katy Perry on tour and all these things that like, you know, you've got your thing, you sit with your team and you go, this is gonna happen and this and great. And it was excited and then I get sick. And, you know, even to recently, I was about to release my album and my first single and then I was in a car accident and I had a throat issue where I had nerve and tissue damage and I couldn't sing and then my manines and I went deaf in this ear. But now I don't even want to release the album 'cause I don't really like the music. - Really? - And I'm like, maybe that's why it happened. I just feel like I've been protected by my health, being what other people would see is bad. But every time something happens to my body, I'm always like, okay, what am I not listening to? - Like, so I felt like that's my personal way of looking at it in my journey. So like, when you say, you know, how long was that for? It's kind of been my whole life, you know? Even up until recently when, you know, right when I got my voice back and I started doing these shows and I finally was told I could sing again and I find my agent and I was like, I have to do like a, I don't know, like a residency somewhere and I started doing these acoustic shows. And I was like, I really want to do stand up, you know, I want to do comedy, I want to make people laugh and sing. That's literally my purpose, right? And then the day before the first show, I have a miscarriage and I still went and did it. You know, not because the show must go on, but to me like Jesse J and Jessica Cornish, like Jesse J is just a brand name, they go hand in hand, they're the same person. You know, like the reason that my music exists is because my life exists. You know, I write about shit I go through. You know, so I want to stand in the middle of the pain even when it's terrifying and you're being exposed. But even in that moment, I was like, this, I know this happened for a reason. You know, like the day that I found out that my, that the baby had died, this man and I, you know, I can't make this stuff up and I always wished someone would see these things happen, but I was on the street crying uncontrollably. I felt like my body had gone numb, like I was just on the street and I, I was standing there and I couldn't move. I literally just stood at this bush for like two hours and I was phoning everybody that I knew to try and answer the phone and just, 'cause I was by myself, I was in Santa Monica and this man came up to me and said, "I don't know what's going on in your life in this second, "but I know that it's happening so that you can talk about it "and help other people." And I remember just going, "That's the story of my life and the anger I felt." I was like, "Why can't this just be about me? "Like, why do I have to help someone else?" And then I realized that is what I've been called on to do. Like, I know that what I do is so much bigger than me. It's not about the song or the accolades or the awards or this. It's about the feeling that you can hand over to someone that they can't find themselves. And I have experienced so many things that are so randomly rare and then also I've experienced things that aren't rare at all, but no one talks about. And the amount of women and men that have been close to someone losing a baby or having infertility issues or losing children themselves or even women that have had children that don't know how to connect with their children, talking about that pain, not only helped me but helped other people and I know that going back to what you asked me before, like I know that's so much of my purpose, as much as hard as it can be in moments, I get so much peace from knowing that pain that I know I can handle and have a different perspective of than someone else that might not, that I can share that with them and give them a different perspective as they can be. But obviously I do it on a, I might be a bigger platform. It is such an amazing feeling for me to be able to give that to someone that can't find it on their own. - So, heavyweight to carry, it's always have to be the inspiration though, right? - Yeah, for sure, but it isn't always the case. But I think it's just understanding that, like understanding that after I did that first show, a huge part of me regretted it 'cause I was angry that I reacted as Jesse J. I reacted as my brand, I reacted as, I need people to know I'm okay, like I don't want people to think I'm this always sick, always ill, always have something going on, like didn't she just go deaf? That's the comments, didn't she just, like, da da da da da, you know, like when you go into any relationship, you'll be like, wasn't she just moved so and so and it's like that was two years ago, but they live in a little bubble of when they want to discover things. - You're talking about doing the show? - The show after the day after I had a miscarriage, like in the sense of the reaction of going, I must, the show must go on, I must, I after that show I surrendered to my pain and for nobody else but myself. And that's something that I don't think I've ever done. And a lot of grief came out, grief of grandparents, of friends, of people that I've lost, that it all came out in that moment and still is, to be honest, it was only four months ago that this happened, five months ago. So I feel like a lot of grief that I had stored in interviews where I was like, you know, and you've just got to find this and it's always looking for the silver lining. I actually just enabled myself to just break open and be miserable and sad and not have a quote at the end of my moment and just go, no, it's shit and I'm broken and it's awful and I'm sad. But knowing that the light would come and it did and it is, but knowing that speeding up my process of grief because it makes somebody else feel good is great but also not going to be healthy for me. - Do you remember the day when you found out that you would struggle to, well the doctor told you that you had struggled to have children?
Finding out about your fertility problems (19:21)
- Oh yeah. It was in the middle of a really major busy time for me. It was right before Bang Bang and I was doing all these different shows and I basically would have this extreme pain, like agonizing pain, I would pass out, it was awful and they were like, you have IBS and I was like, no, I don't. I know I don't have IBS. And they would just be like, yes, you do, that's what it is. And I was like, no, I know myself, I know my body, I know it's not IBS. And I stuck with it and I was like, I went to keep kept going, see different doctors and I finally got diagnosed with endometriosis, which is very common. And then I had an operation that, you know, they took all the endometriosis out, I went home, I still live with my parents, I went home and I was still an agony and I was still having the episodes. And so I went back into hospital and they did another operation where they discovered I have adenomyosis, which is a form of endometriosis that goes into the wall of the uterus. So they're little cells that you can't take out unless you take your uterus out. So they were like, you either manage the pain, which at the time I was like, how do I do this? Or we take your uterus out right now. And I was like, what, 26? And I was like, and he was like, I would recommend you to do that. You know, this is only gonna get worse. And I said, I'm good. I'll go home and I'll look at other ways I can look up and manage my pain. And that's when I went plant-based. That was, you know, using years and years ago. And it definitely helped and improved and I changed my lifestyle and kind of slowed my pace down. You know, after that record, the Bang Bang Sweet Talker record and I took a long time, not off, but just slowed down. And that's when I wrote the Rose album. And so there's like behind the scenes, there's always a story for everybody. But yeah, that moment was super pivotal for me. - A lot of things happened at once. I was reading that, I think it was around the time you were in Australia. 2015, 2016 time and you'd lost your grandparents. - Yeah, within like four, five months of each other. - You'd had a breakup. - Yeah. - A breakup, my first breakup that was kind of public 'cause I was with someone that was, you know, I was famous and just discovering myself, you know? Like, it was really the first time that I'd had fame in America too. And so like, when I was famous in the UK, like I obviously came here a lot. And it was kind of great 'cause I was like, oh, I could just do whatever I want to know and kiss. So it was kind of like I could just escape to just live completely in the knowledge that I would leave my house or my hotel. And for the whole day, no one would be like, you know, like, or just come up to me with a camera phone or whatever. And I just, I needed that. I was still quite young and, you know, and I missed staring at people and getting away with it. You know what I mean? Just like watching people eat or like staring at someone in the car next to you and knowing they're not gonna look over and be like, you know, and so I remember coming here and just having that and then I didn't have that as much anymore here. And I just felt really trapped, really trapped. Like, that was the lowest point that I've had in myself in this industry was 2014, 15, 16 in when I was back and forth from Australia and in that time, that's when I moved here in 2015. - When you say trapped, what's the symptoms of being trapped? What does that manifest itself? - I just felt like I couldn't breathe. I felt like everywhere I went, someone was watching me. I felt like I couldn't eat in public 'cause someone would film me and comment on it, comment on what I was wearing, comment on my body, comment on, I just, it felt, it always felt like I was being followed. That was the biggest thing where my anxiety came from. And someone telling me or giving me something that I would then have to focus on that I'd never saw, like, that I have a big jaw that I have this or I've celiac or I have that, like where I would never even, it wasn't a thing. And then someone would go, have you ever noticed that she says like, "earm" or like a lot? And then I'd be conscious of the way I spoke. And when you first get somebody commentating on everything you do and are, I was just like, how do I live unconsciously now? Like, how do I go to the beach without feeling like, I'm in my underwear in front of someone hiding in the bush taking pictures? How do I do that? You know, and I still don't know sometimes, even now. And so I just, I felt like I couldn't, it felt like I had to relearn how to do life. Like, I was comfortable going in front of 100,000 people and singing a song, no problem. But going to perpetual in my car, I literally was like, I don't even know how to do it. I would drop the thing, like, I wouldn't be able to lock the thing on the car 'cause I would feel like someone was watching me. And like, it just destroyed me. And I remember just, I wouldn't leave my hotel room. Like, I went out and bought like 50 hats. And even though it probably wasn't as bad as that, no, you don't go to, like, and I get that even me talking about it now, like, I'm conscious that there'll be people watching us going, all right, well, you fucking ask to be famous, get over it. Like, there's no space to feel like, you know what, there's parts of it that are amazing, but there are parts of it that are so toxic and unhealthy and so inhumane. And no one has a lot of space to be, like, to have any empathy for that. And that's, and I'm not talking about all the time and just about that moment in my life, I just felt like I had no one I could talk to that had experienced it, to guide me, to go, you're okay, you're safe, like, no one's gonna hurt you, you know? And I just felt so alone. I felt like I was hovering above everybody in every room I was in. Like, I wasn't able to just exist playing a game at a friend's house, that I was always just like, is everyone thinking about what I'm saying and are gonna repeat it? And so I just panicked all the time of that someone was gonna misread what I was saying or if I was in a bad mood and I went to like a fish and chip shop and I was like, didn't wanna take a picture that they would then tell someone else and it would get to the Daily Mail. - Did that happen? - Oh, all the time. Jesse Jade, I mean, there were times where I then would almost, I remember for a little while for a couple months, I became what the press told me I was 'cause I got so tired of justifying that I wasn't mean and I wasn't a diva that I was like, yeah, let me just be what they say I am 'cause that's what people think I am anyway. And even when I am nice, when I remember going into a room and being like, "Hi everyone and no one responding" and me going, "Hi" and everyone's like this, like when you're like, it's weird, it's like a, and that was like, and I'm talking about that time and it was like peak kind of everywhere fame, Saturday Night TV and it was just such a trippy experience and me just was like, everyone hates me, no one likes me anymore, so I'm not gonna try and be liked, it didn't last very long. - If you could go back and speak to Jesse that was going through that, that wasn't, I was staying in his hotel rooms and I was stumbling to put the petrol in our car and reacting to the media, what advice would you give her?
What would you say to your old self? (27:42)
- Birds are you, babes, just, it meant the best piece of advice that was given from a therapist was perspective, like imagine the world, go above it, imagine yourself lying above it and really look at what you're stressed about, like get outside, get some air, just get outside, go to a park, like take a walk, you know, and also be honest to your friends and your family about how you're feeling and allow them to be there for you 'cause I think everyone was kind of, everybody was kind of swirled up in, I mean, you've experienced it yourself recently, going from being able to do whatever you do and knowing who you are, to then everyone knowing who you are and then everyone around you doesn't instantly go, are you okay, they go, this is great, isn't it amazing? Are you having so much fun and you don't feel like you can go, actually, no, some of it's great, but some of it's really weird and I need you to hold my hand and I'm a little scared and now I don't know how to get on the train when I never used to think about that and now I have to rethink about it and I go, can I go on this Central Line on a Saturday at peak time? No, so how do I get to the wedding to go? 'Cause my status is way higher than my money and I can't afford a driver. You know, and your mind is going, who do I talk to about this? Where do I go? And that's, when I was 25, 26 and I shaved my hand and I did all of that, I was just like, what is happening and who do I tell that will understand, you know? So yeah. Did you find anyone that understood? Yeah, I think I had to learn that, talking to my loved ones, I remember sending out a message to everybody, going saying, unless I am in danger or you don't think I've seen something that's really bad that's been put in the papers, I don't wanna see it. Amen, oh, that's the worst. I don't wanna see it. I don't wanna, don't send me a link of me on the beach. 'Cause I was there. My friends and my family sending me links of people criticizing me. Have you seen this? Yeah, my dad, yeah. I said to my mom and dad and my brothers and sisters, super early doors. Yes, don't, just don't tell me. Don't read the comments section on this website. Don't tell me. Don't send me the link, I'm not bothered. I'm not looking, if you wanna look. But also, the thing that they need to be focused on, and this is what I had to say to my friends and family, stop focusing on what the other people are saying, focus on helping me be someone that can be within that. Like, it doesn't matter what fucking Donald from Manchester thinks about my outfit that I wore, what matters is that I still feel confident wearing those things after I may or may not have been forced to read those comments. 'Cause that's the other thing, like, fan bases will sometimes shove that in your face, going, can you believe this? And it's like, I don't wanna see it. I don't wanna read it. And sometimes you're like, you literally can't avoid it. So your closest friends and family, that was the biggest thing for me, was making them understand, like, I need you to be there for Jess who's in the dressing room, not worrying about what the people think that are in the audience watching Jessie J. I need you to care about the girl backstage before I even step on the stage. - When you're a performer and you're in the public eye, you see it, you've gotta create basically a brand, as you call it.
Not knowing who I was (31:32)
You make the distinction between Jessica and Jessie and whatever, and they're really the same person. - Yeah, and the same person. - Is there a point in your life where you, your identity got too caught up in being Jessie J? - Yeah, for sure. When I wouldn't know what to wear, like I'd wear a katsu and, like, my bob wig to, like, like a family barbecue. 'Cause I just didn't know how to like tone it down. I was just on this hamster wheel of like, like, and I just didn't know how to like, I didn't know who I was away from working. You know, so like, one thing I realize now is like, you are a product of your environment. You are a product of your environment. And I see that in my niece and my nephews, you know, like, and all the young people I know, and I watch my best friends and my close family members have children, and I see how different their kids are because they are on a reflection of their environment, you know, and the beauty that they can have if they're brought up in the middle of nowhere in the countryside, but then they're like, not street-wise, and they kind of, you know, and all these things. And so like, when I look at like, how I was in those pivotal moments of my life, and I think this is why I have so much empathy for young, like younger artists, and like, I really care about how they're protected. And just young people in general, like, protected from what the world is telling them they are, as opposed to them discovering themselves. Like, I was a product of, when I wake up, I'm working, like, this is what you wear, this is what you do, this is how you act, this is what you say, and so like, I didn't know how to switch off. Like, I would literally have to leave the house in the full face of makeup, and like, without, it was weird, it was like a trippy, I remember going on holiday with a couple of my girlfriends, and we were going for dinner, and like, I was so stressed about what to wear and how to do, and it was so dumb, it's not even like important, but it was moments like that when I was just like, God, I need to chill out, I'm not Jesse J right now, but I didn't know who I was. I literally had no clue like, what my favorite color was, or what food do I like to eat, 'cause I would just get given, this is what we've got, this is what you've got time to eat, for so long it was so unhealthily fast, it was just everything was so speeded up, and I was like, what do I wanna, what are my hobbies, what do I like to do other than just sing and travel? Can travel to sing? I don't know. And that's when I was like, okay, I need to take a second. And after that third album, I took like four years, and disappeared. - In that time, you've got record labels telling you, presumably who you are, who they want you to be.
Were record labels defining who you were? (34:24)
- Not even, you know what, it's one thing I will say about my record label, you know, for as much as, you know, you always have your, your disagreements with anybody in power, and anybody, you know, that's you work for or work with, or work under or work next to, like, but my record label have always supported me. To the best of their ability, and to the best that I understand, like the Rose album, the last album I put out was my favorite that I've ever put out. Was it the most successful? No. Was it the most authentic to who I was at the time? Yes. Did it have the biggest support from my label? No. Did that matter to me at the time? No. Because I knew that the music was great. Yeah, it would've been great had they been more supportive, but it didn't, again, it didn't take away from the purpose of what that moment was for me personally. So no, they've been great. They've been amazing. And even now they're super supportive that like, first time I'm talking about it, that I had an album that was done, ready to go, and I listened to it a couple months ago and was like, this ain't it. And then I went back in the studio three days ago to kind of start again. And maybe I'll use some of the old songs, maybe I won't, maybe I'll rework 'em, but there's just something that wasn't right. And they're like, we support you, we love you, we got you. We see you, we understand you. I've been with them for almost 15 years. What I've struggled to find is an internal team, like people that are immediately around me. Like an assistant manager, that kind of thing. Manager, yeah, managers, assistant, no. Just a team. That's where I'm at right now. Like, you know, I just let go of my sixth manager two days ago, yeah. No hard feelings, no great people, amazing at what they do, just not right for me. And I know it's 'cause there's something I'm doing wrong 'cause I keep picking the wrong people. So I know I need to look inwards and go, what am I doing wrong here? Is it 'cause I know I know what I want and I don't really say it 'cause I don't like to cause waves in the ocean. Kind of like a smooth sailing moment, but I also know what I want and know what I deserve. And it's taken me a long time to be confident in saying, like, I know I can really sing. But I've just never had a team that really get it, that like had the same passion as me and like, live for like the moments and like taking risks and not being afraid and like, so like, you know, and I guess maybe I'm talking about it right now 'cause if someone that's meant to be for me in my life might see this 'cause, you know, like I say all the time, like people go, what are you gonna do now? Like, if you've got a new manager lined up and I'm like, no, I didn't let them go because I've secretly been meeting people. Like, that's not who I am. Like, one thing for sure is I'm loyal and like, I'm respectful, but like, when your manager is like, it's almost like a marriage, you know, you go into a contract and you hand over a very big important part of your life, you can't look for a new husband while you're still married. Doesn't work like that. And I have no idea who the good managers are, no idea. And I don't know if I ever will. I'm 34, I've been doing this a long time, but I also know that I've got so much more to do and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. And I know in my heart, in my instinct, I don't just trust my instinct, I act on it. And it was a big brave thing for me to do just to go, guys, I love you, but I know this ain't right, I'm moving on. - What wasn't right about it outside of the passion you're looking for?
Finding the right team for you (38:25)
What is it you're looking for from that team, that manager? - It's so funny 'cause when someone goes, what are you looking for in a manager? For me, it's just a feeling. I just like, it's someone that I'm such a hard worker, right? And I'm very disciplined, I'm very professional, I can handle a lot of stuff by myself. And I think that exposes a lot of people to do one of two things go, she's good, or I need to work harder. And a lot of people go, she's good. And I just want someone that can teach me about music, can send me performances from a reader that I've not seen, or, hey, have you heard this new music? Or have you read this book? Or like, you know what I was thinking of being amazing if we did this, like, okay, so you wanna do this? I need the drive, the passion, like, people that I can relate to, like the way they see the world and feel the world. And like, I get told and I'm so grateful, I get told all the time, you're one of the best singers in the world. There's some singers down the street, a church that are the best singers in the world, that no one will ever hear other than God and the people that are in the church. That doesn't mean anything. Like, if you're not doing anything with it, you know? And I just wanna team a people that represent me even when I'm not in the room, you know? - Have you seen what you're looking for elsewhere? Do you know who exists? - I don't even know. I don't even, I don't know. I know I look up at other artists and go, "I should be doing that. There's no reason that I shouldn't be there, I shouldn't be doing this." Or, "I know that the music that I make," Like, I've always said this metaphor with my career, right? Is I feel like if my career was a shop, I feel like I sell ladders outside, but roses on the inside. So I feel like what I put out there isn't always what I actually sell, that isn't actually always me, that I feel like I'm convinced or, I'm always a little afraid to be a diva or to come across like I'm arrogant or this, that and the other, but like I know the best moments of my career, point blank have been when I have followed my instincts acted on my own heart. Like when I did the China TV show, everyone was like, "Why do you wanna do a singing competition?" I said, "Just, I just know this is what I need to do." You know, even the Rose album, like I know that the people that discovered that were who needed to discover it. And I just know like the only thing in life that is important is to just not trust your instincts, but to act on them, be yourself and not be afraid, to know that even if you're in a room full of people, that if you know that this is gonna work, just don't be disheartened by everyone else's projection of their own fear that they can't deliver for you. - I guess you'd also rather fail at being yourself than succeed at being someone else as well, right? - And I've succeeded at being someone else, one honey pea. That's 100%. - Yeah, I was gonna speak around. - One honey pea. - Just before you said that. - You're like, "Umm." But like I love to write songs, right? And I can sing so I'll go in the studio and I can make music, but sometimes I'm like, "I love these songs, "but I wouldn't buy this album. "I wouldn't put this on and listen to it." And I'm grateful that I know I have been accepted into so many different spaces in the industry. Like the musical theater world and like the pot world, the R&B world, the soul world. Like I'm so, I love music and I grew up around a lot of music and I grew up a lot around different cultures and races and walks of life and I'm so, so happy that that was my foundation and that's what I am. And I also need management to represent that. I don't wanna walk into rooms that everyone looks the same. You know, I'm tired of it. And I wanna make music that makes everybody feel like they're welcome and make music that makes everyone feel accepted and seen and understood. And I need my team to reflect that and I gotta do a better job at making those decisions. - One of the reasons I ask is if you've seen it somewhere else. Because when you're obsessed, personally, you're obsessed about your craft, I think we all, and I'm speaking from my experience here, we will struggle when we don't feel like other people are meeting us there. - Oh yeah. - You know what I mean? And I see this with founders specifically in companies where they're just absolutely obsessed and all in on their dream. And then they look at their team who aren't at that standard, don't seem to care as much. - Yeah. - Aren't sending the Aretha tracks at 2am in the morning. Aren't going above and beyond and they're thinking, you must not be right, you must not care, you must not wanna be here. So there's a certain expectation, - No, for sure, 100%. And it's not that I'm saying I expect them to be me. I think it's just people that even wanna talk about music. - Yeah, yeah, yeah. - You know, like a lot of managers, like, when was the last time I went to see a show? Like, at the end of the day, to me, that when you're a musician and you're in the industry, I need a team of managers that are like, in, they're at the party, they're not trying to get me an invite, they have to be there and like, come in, you know what I mean? It's like, so I just, I think that I don't know what it is and I don't have the answers and I don't know, I know what it is that I want. Sometimes I don't know how to say that until I'm experiencing that it's not what I want. And then I'm like, no. - Yeah, yeah. - Like, this isn't right, but I know that it is also me and I know that I have to be more vocal on what it is that I want and what it is that I deserve. And I just feel like I'm always taken for granted. And I just, I just, I just wanna sing and like, really be in the mix and work hard. Like, the fire in my belly now is like, - What do you mean by being in the mix? - Strong. It's weird when you've had success, like, people always say to me, like, yeah, but you're Jesse J and I'm like, what the fuck does that mean? I haven't even been invited to the Brit since 2011. So what does it mean? I'm Jesse J, like, what is my success to you? 'Cause it's different to me, obviously, you know? And I think people go, and a lot of the time, especially other artists, they see that maybe you've had success in places that they haven't or that you've got something that they haven't, they go, yeah, but why aren't you just content with that? You know, and everyone's, everybody's different with what they need to feel successful. - Does comparison ever get the best of you in your industry? - No. - You've never looked at another artist and gone, maybe I should be doing more or all. - No, I look up at artists and go, man, I wish I was more confident. I wish I was more like, I see people work in a room and I'm so shy that I come across a room. When I'm in a room with a lot of people, I instantly go into that, no one likes me, no one's gonna get my sense of humor. Like, I have so many securities that I don't think I've even been consciously aware of until like the last year since COVID and like, take it a break and then coming back to it and I'm like, oh my God, like, I don't think anyone in this room knows who I am and I don't know why I'm here and I'm so awkward and I hate this and what the hell am I doing and I hate this gown, I mean, what am I doing here? Like, I have those moments all the time and the perception and reality is such a weird, like, experience to have of what you think people think of you and then what they do think of you and it's, I don't look at other artists and go, God, I wish I was doing that. I go, I wish I was more sociable and more confident at working a room or talking to people 'cause I know that what I have is because I have it and I know what they have is 'cause what they, you know, like, I don't ever wanna be anyone else, I don't want anyone else to ever be me but no comparison is an issue for me. It's frustration that I know I'm capable of doing the things that someone else might be doing in my own way but I don't know how to invite myself into the room. And I'm like, and they're like, oh my God, like, you wanna come in, come in, but it isn't always me going, hi, can I come in? 'Cause I don't know how to do that without feeling like an absolute dickhead. So I just kind of go and hope that someone might go, maybe Jessie J wants to come in. - And you want to manage it, that's gonna say, Jessie J needs to be in there. - Or to go, or to go, go on. You can do it, don't get in your head. I think that I can give off that I am grateful that I can sing and I'm grateful that I love to sing live. Like, I love that I've never mind and that's not who I am. I love that like I, even if my voice is hoarse or whatever, I always put myself like in the exposure like fire in line, right? What I love and hate about myself is that I can be put through the most ridiculous experience, like throughout the day, I could literally be set on fire and I could probably still sing. And I hate that because it means that people go, she'll be fine whatever the situation. And I think that's a big part of it is that I've trained myself to be good in situations where I haven't had people, haven't had to let people think that they need to level up for me to deliver. Like, that's what has to change. 'Cause what's going on in here and what's coming out and what people are seeing can be two very different things. And I'm not connecting those dots for anybody really but myself, 'cause it's only gonna make me have a more of an enjoyable experience. - Those four years that you referenced that you, I don't know how to disappear.
Why did you disappear? (49:23)
- Disappeared, not disappeared, but like it worked, but I wasn't like. What was going on when you disappeared? - Oh my God, what was going on? I did the voice, 'cause I wanted to kind of stay in the vibe. I did the China show, the China TV show, which was one of my favorite things I've ever done. - Billions watching. - 1.2 billion people watched the final and I bit my tongue before I went out and sang Whitney, 'cause I was so stressed and it was just blood in my mouth. - At least you didn't shit yourself. - I'll trust me, I'm very close. I have shit myself on stage before. - I know, that's what I'm saying. - So bad, so bad, so bad. - Fingers the news. I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. My girlfriend came upstairs yesterday when I was having a shower and she said to me that she tried the heel protein shake, which lives on my fridge over there. And she said, it's amazing. Low calories, you get your 20 odd grams of protein, you get your 26 vitamins and minerals, and it's nutritionally complete. In the protein space, there's lots of things, but it's hard to find something that is nice, especially when consumed just with water. And that is nutritionally complete. And that has about 100 calories in total, while also giving you your 20 grams of protein. If you haven't tried the heel protein product, do give it a try. The salted caramel one, if you put some ice cubes in it and you put it in a blender and you try it, is as good as pretty much any milkshake on the market, just mixed with water. It's been a game changer for me because I'm trying to drop my calorie intake and I'm trying to be a little bit more healthy with my diet, so this is where heel fits in my life. Thank you, heel, for making a product that I actually like. The salted caramel is my favorite. I've got the banana one here, which is where my girlfriend likes, but for me, salted caramel is the one. Is there a pressure in that four years where people are saying, why isn't she giving us an album? - Oh yeah, that's for sure. - Yeah. And it took me a long time to realise that I can't, you can't squeeze from the lemons, you've got to nurture the roots a little bit, you know what I mean? You can't just keep asking the lemons to grow and there's no, it's not been putted in the ground. And I just needed to be regrounded. I just was like, I wrote the whole first album, second album I wrote pretty much the whole thing by a couple of songs, the third album I wrote two songs. And when you listen to it, I wrote two acoustic songs, get away and you don't really know me. And everything else was burning up, bang, bang, didn't write any of them, loved them, but it wasn't where I was. And I was exhausted and I was like, I'll sing whatever you want. And I was so grateful for the success of masterpiece, burning up, bang, bang, in the US. But it was nowhere near where I was mentally and trying to match those two things was probably my most important thing that I could have done. So when that album ended, and then obviously I went for the first, my first kind of big, just my first big breakup, it wasn't even that it was public, it was just like my first big breakup that people knew about. Lost both my grandparents. I remember when I lost my granddad, I had to perform in Central Park right after. And I was really close to my granddad. He was a professional jazz drummer, traveled the world, we had the same heart problem. Just very much he understood the industry and would always kind of give me advice. And just not being able to grieve and all of those things and was just going to go, and I need to take a second to process my life. I haven't stopped since everything took off. And then I went for a moment where I was like, I'm done with music, I'm out. - Really? - Oh yeah, sat with my labels, like dropped me, don't want to do this anymore, can't do it. I'm emotionally exhausted. Didn't know how to just, I just didn't know how to write songs anymore. I was just like, what do I even want to sing about? - What was this? - 2016. - So after you'd lost your grandparents and... - Yeah. 2016. And then I had to do this campaign because I needed money, honestly, I need to still make money to be famous. Like, you got up still be protected and I have to like wean myself off of this lifestyle if I'm going to not do this anymore. And I got offered to do a campaign with Makeup Forever, which I've always wanted to do anyway because I love the brand. And I said, I'd love to do it. And they're like, we want an original song. And I was like, I don't want to do an original song. 'Cause if I do an original song, people think I'm bringing an album and it's a single and I was like, I'll do a cover. So I met this guy called Kemper and we was in the studio and he was like, yeah, man, like I got some tracks. And I was like, no tracks, don't play me anything. I don't want to do this no more. He's like, come on, let me just play you something. And I was like, no, no, no, I'm good. 'Cause I was like, please don't. I was like, anti. I just need to do this, get the check, go home. Don't make me emotional. Don't, you know it's there. Don't pull out that part of me. Like I don't want to, I was trying to pretend that I was something different to what I was. And he played me this beat and he was like, I'm going to go smoke, I'll be back in five minutes. And I was literally, you know, just sitting there and he played me this track. And I was like, sitting there and the engineer was just like, I'm in the behind the engineer and I just start typing on my laptop. And the engineer is like, you'll be turning this off. And I was like, no, no, no, sorry, keep it on. And I was like, can I just jump in the booth real quick? And I wrote this song, "Think About That", which became the first single off the Rose album. And I remember camper coming in going, I don't know who you think you are, but you can't stop writing songs. Like this is what you do. And I think I'd realized that really up until that point, a lot of my successful music had been this kind of like, everything's great. Doesn't mean anything. And I was like, that's what people want. And I don't know how to deliver that all the time. When I can deliver it, and I do write songs like that now, because I'm not ignoring the pain. So I'm writing about both. So they get both as opposed to me ignoring all the good, like ignore all the bad stuff, so that manifests into everything. And then that's all I wanna write about, you know? And so I just started to write and then wrote "Queen" and then I wrote "Someone's Lady" on the spot. And then I wrote this and I wrote that. And I kind of had this out and I was like, what do I know? Okay. You know? And when I went on that tour, I fired my managers during that tour. Just firing managers left right and sent Alice to become a hobby of mine. - Can you imagine how insecure the seventh manager's gonna be? - Well, they're not. All they're not, you know? Thing is, I'm such a loyal person. If you look at everyone in my life, my production, my tour manager, my hair and makeup, 10 years deep, like I love my people. But I also need you to show me that you really understand how valuable I am as I would to you. You know, like I can't... I know what it's like dating. Managers is like dating. You know, and I do believe that like such an important role doesn't always just fall into your lap and it's right. And I honestly think that most artists will admit that they ain't happy with the management. Most people in the industry would admit that they're not happy with the agent or their management. There's always something else they could be doing. And like, when you've voiced what you needed and it still doesn't change and then you voice it again and it still doesn't change and then you go, yeah. You know, well, I actually think I'd enjoy this more if I didn't have this, especially when you're making money off not doing much. You know, I'd rather be by myself for a second and it'd be a bit chaotic and be learned and like, "What do I need? What do I want?" - What do I need? What do I want?
How did the pandemic impact you? (57:11)
- That's one of the two of the questions that I think a lot of people managed to get clarity on during. - Terms of part, yeah, moments of turmoil. - The pandemic? - Yeah, exactly. - What was that to you that whole two years? - Ooh, the pandemic was probably the worst and most beautiful thing that I think has happened to the world because when else would we all have to stop? And not just stop and be like, "Oh, I'm going to keep going to work." And like, you know, just really take the weekend off, like, stop. Like, not have our clutches of our hobbies, not have our clutches of our friends and family that we may see or visit or talk to, but really go inwards and have no escape from it. - If I was a fly on the wall in your, wherever you were living during the pandemic, what would I have observed? - I mellowed a lot in the pandemic. I let go of a lot of things that I held on to as like, clutches to kind of be able to do my job. Like, I'm a very organised person. And I realised how much time I wasted on things that really didn't help me. Like, having a certain amount of this or being overly prepared. I'm a very overly prepared person. I cooked a lot. And I wrote an album that's really good, but I just don't know if I really love it. - Why? - I don't know who the audience is. When I listen to the songs, I don't see the people that are listening to it with me. And I have to be able to see that. - How did that happen? If you write something, I'm guessing usually you write it from a piece of your own pain or whatever. - Yeah, yeah. - So there's gonna be people out there feeling the same human experience. - Music reflects where you're at, right? Well, it should. And in that time, I think it was a very anxious, everyone kind of wanting to like falsify this, like, "We're good, right? We're okay, like, we're okay, we're good, we're gonna be fine." And like, you can feel that in the music. It just feels a bit like too much. And I think that what I think people are craving more than ever right now is just like real. Like, and I also know what I'm good at. And I listen to it and go, "There's like about five or six artists that I can imagine doing this. I wanna make music people only know that I can do." And it ain't that. So. And it might be that. I might come full circle and go, "You know what, I was wrong, hah, joke." Took three years, but we're here. But I'll get there. You know, there's no right or wrong answers. I don't believe that anything we do in life is wrong or right. I just think we've got to want to make a decision and then we'll learn from either which way we went. - Has your grief over the last year impacted your perspective on that piece of work?
Jamal Edwards' passing (01:00:16)
- Yes. Yeah. I feel like my grief is here right now. Like it just comes up and it comes out my eyes or it comes out in my songs. But it feels like it's... Has a place to live in my life now, which is why I probably feel so vulnerable at the moment because, as I said to you, like... losing... Having a miscarriage and losing the baby and then most recently losing Jamar Edwards. When you don't just have one person that you associate with grief, but you have a handful of people that... you realize that no one else... that you have in your life gives you what they gave you. And you realize that you have to find that for yourself. Like that's the hardest part of grief for me that I'm experiencing right now. Like I don't even... like even me crying like this, like I can't stop it. Like there are not tears where I'm like, you know, when you can't not cry, like I'm not even trying to cry. It's just like it's here and it just comes up. It puts everything in perspective that... all the things that we worry about and all the things that we are concerned about... Nothing matters if someone just loses the... like... when you watch someone, I don't know if you knew Jamar. You did? His parents called me yesterday. I love Brenda. He was... I'd spoken to him a few months... a few weeks before he'd passed and we were... Yeah, yeah. He was... when I was 18 and this has been to the top of my Twitter, he was my... the evidence that I could be successful. So I would stalk him around Skype. When he was on Skype and I'd try and get him to speak to me. It's crazy how much time he made for everyone. I can't... he was like so special. Like... you know, when someone passes, you always want to remind everybody of like... the good that they were, but he was... like in another league of... I can't explain it. Like when I was standing... you know, as... as funeral and just looking around and the impact that he made so one-on-one with everyone he knew, because he never said no. He always had the time and... I know how much he wanted to live life, you know, and how unfair it feels that... of all people... that that could have happened to, that it happened to him. I know that his passing has enabled... me to make the decisions that I'm making in my life right now, in my career, with more... strength and belief in myself. Like... Jamal was someone that I spoke to when... I didn't want to do this anymore, when I didn't feel like... you know... being told you a great singer was enough, like it often was, you know, and I would phone him and he would just remind me of... I mean, I met when I was 17, just remind me of the bigger picture and just his energy and... the fact that he talked himself into every room and then talked about everyone else, you know, I just... you felt his... you felt his power when the world found out he had gone. Everybody was sad, even people that didn't know him, because his... legacy, that's been a word that's been used a lot with him. It's funny because... the biggest legacy that I think he... however many... businesses he started and things he invested in and... platforms he created to elevate everyone else, it was the feeling that he gave people to me that was his legacy. And like... that's why I miss the most. And I... when I sang at his homecoming and everyone was like, "How did you do that?" I said, "Because I was singing to him. I was singing for him." It wasn't a performance, you know, I know that... he would have loved that. I could have just hear him going, "Geez!" You know, like, "Come on, you ain't vegan shoes in that?" But I think that the biggest thing that you learn when you lose someone so young, that you love and admire so much, is that life is too short to sit anywhere other than where you're supposed to be. And if you're sitting at a table where you don't feel like you'll be in bed, even if you're bringing to play at food, you politely just leave. You know, and I know that he has inspired me to... demand more from myself and from other people in my career. You know, me and him had so many plans of projects that we were doing together as. I'm sure you guys were probably supposed to connect in some way. And I know that wherever I... was supposed to receive from him for those things that I have to find with me and myself. 'Cause no one will ever be that. So... Sorry, I'm so crying right now. Like, I'm such an emotional person and I really live from feeling. And I'm not afraid anymore to be vulnerable. And I think that the first line of change with anything through grief or anything like that is talking about how you feel. And I think that I'm now in the next few months aware that I'm going to then start actioning the change that I'm speaking about within myself. The energy around me, what I want my career to look like, what I want my music to feel like, what I want the people to be around me to feel like, you know, I love to work hard but I also like people around me to have a life. I was... when I was rereading through the process you went through with your miscarriage.
Your miscarriage (01:07:56)
Yeah. You posted about it very soon after and you talked about it. Yeah, yeah. And then you deleted the post, right? Or you archived it or something like that. I archived it, yeah. In a moment of being human, I was just like... You know what it was? It was a moment where I actually had it up and I wasn't in a space to keep posting. But I was tired of going back to my page and that being the thing that people saw. Because I wasn't in that space, but I wasn't in a... Hi guys, I'm going to sing you a song space or a random caption and a picture of me just in and out. You know, so I just was like, I'm not as sad as that, but I'm not anywhere near, say, the few posts before it yet. So let me just archive it and just kind of go back to zero. I just can't imagine as a... you know, I've had people who've sat here and talked to me about miscarriages and the experience, especially the attempt in a family to try and create life and struggling. Yeah. You know, so seeing that so closely and the experience you shared and the way you shared it, any listening to you talk about going and having, you know, you had a suspicion that something is wrong. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I had two scans in the same day and within the first scan and the second scan the baby had passed. And it was such a... I mean, the whole experience was so spiritual for me because obviously I'd been told it wasn't going to be easy for me to get to have children. And realistically, like I'm still discovering that now, I think that any woman can say that the amount of women that have told that and then they have children, you know, and a lot of it's mental, you know, and where our bodies are at. And obviously when I was going through all that pain and discomfort was when my life was incomplete, I had chaos with my career and my diet and everything, you know, like your mind, your body is so powerful. And as I've gotten older and my life is I've kind of been able to find tranquility and the chaos and, you know, like just my pain is so much better and I'm not on any medication anymore. And, you know, so when I fell pregnant, it wasn't... I know that I know that getting pregnant, I don't think would be the issue for me. It would be staying pregnant. And so when I fell pregnant, I was so overwhelmed with like your whole life just kind of instantly changes. You feel like you're carrying the most precious cargo, even though it's the size of like a bean sprout. You're literally just like... And it's a secret, but it's... And I'm such an open person. And it was such a new experience for me to go through something that so many people could relate to. But not want to tell anyone, but want to tell everybody. But no, I shouldn't, just in case, but then it's like... But it's also something that so many people have gone through, so it wasn't like a... You know, and I was just like, what do I do? And then when I book these shows, obviously I'd book them. I think I'd book them before I even knew. And then when I decided to do that first show, I remember the day before I found out that the baby had passed. I was with a friend of mine, I was like, how am I going to do this show and not tell everybody? Tell everyone you're pregnant and announce it. And just say like, because I was like, so sick. You know, I was like, people are going to know. You know, it's... So I just... I just remember kind of landing in LA and I was by myself, you know. I live in LA by myself. And I have friends and I don't have any family here, but like, I have my team. Well, I did have my team. So sad, until I've fired everybody. No, it sounds so savage. It's not... It's so amicable and everything's fine. But, you know, I mean, I do have a lot of team, you know, a lot of them who are in the UK still. And I do have people here and my... But like, I have friends here and I remember I got here and I was very sick and I was just like, right, I'm going to start working out. And eating good and like getting on a routine and like, I have my house and I'm in the sun. And then I woke up one morning and I was like, oh, I don't feel right. I still had very intense nausea. I just knew something... Something wasn't the same. And I called a doctor, because I hadn't actually discovered who I was going to have as my doctor yet because it was still quite early. And I'd gone to see my doctor in London because I was there when I found out. And I went to the doctors and that dreadful silence when you first have a scan and they kind of don't say anything. And I was like, just tell me the truth. What's going on? And she said, your baby's heartbeat is very low. And there's this ring. And I was like, well, what does that mean? And she said, it often means that the baby will have some sort of disability or deformity. And I said, okay. And she said, you know, we can have you tone tape blood in a couple of days and then in a couple of days. And just to see if your hormone levels are moving, to see if the baby is still growing, but the baby's heartbeat is very weak. And I was like, but it's still there. And she's like, yeah, it's still there. And that's when I went on to the street and I cried and the man came up to me and said, you know, if this is happening because you're supposed to talk about this. You're supposed to help other people. And instead of going to get bloods, I got in my car and I said, I'm going to go and get a second opinion. I didn't go and get the bloods ever. And I phoned around some friends and no one was available, and if I'm at work. And I ended up being able to go and see another doctor very quickly. And he only had about 10 minutes before he had to go into a surgery. And so I went in very quickly and he did another scan and he said, I'm really sorry, there's no heartbeat. Like, that was about within about three, four hours at the first one. And I remember going into the car park and getting in the car. And one of the first people I spoke to was someone on my team. You know, and obviously, you know, they were supportive and understanding. But one of the first things I was asked was, well, what do you want to do about the show tomorrow? And even though I understood it, you know, I didn't, at the time, I don't think I realized that that actually really shifted the way I processed the experience. You know, I got home and I kind of was focused on how am I going to get through tomorrow's show more than what is happening. Like, I'm now so if you can hear my stomach, I'm really hungry. It's like, I need this. No. I remember just going home and kind of not processing it. And I had a friend come over and then the next day I went straight into glam. I did the sound check. And I got on stage and I posted that post. I was by myself. I had no one advising me. My mom, my sister wasn't there to go. No. Don't share this with the world. Like, make it real for you first. And I posted it because I didn't have anyone there to break on. I didn't have anyone to, I don't have flipping cry again. I didn't have anyone to just fall apart on and just, and that's what I needed. That's what I wanted, you know. And so I did the show. The saddest point of that whole experience for me, other than the painful part of it, which it breaks my heart that so many women have gone through it. Even women I know, but I didn't know and I hated that I didn't understand. I couldn't support them in the way they needed me to because I didn't know. It's such a painful, physical painful, emotional painful experience that you almost don't want to talk about it because you need people to just to see it to know. But it's such a, it's such a trip, you know. And obviously everyone's experience is different because, you know, the way the baby passes or it's all different for everybody. And so I remember the hardest part for me was, wasn't doing the show. The show was actually kind of a weird, trippy dream and I was actually just really grateful that I wasn't by myself. And that loads of people that I loved turned up and came and, you know, at the show, it was when I got in the car after the show, you know, by myself and I got home. And I opened my front door and I closed the door and I fell to my knees. And that was the worst moment of the whole experience was me realizing that. Rather than my career, being a mother and having a child has been the biggest excitement of my life. Like I've always been super maternal. I love children. Like, it's just always been something that I can't even explain. People go like, you know, do you want to be a mom? It's just something that I think that you gravitate towards or you kind of learn to gravitate towards. I felt like I had been given everything I've ever wanted and then someone had gone, but you can't have it. But it was still there. You know, I was still, and I would sing to it every night and, you know, when I got home that night and I laid there, I've never felt so lonely in my life. And the empath in me was like, how have so many people experienced this? Like, it's just, and more than once, like numerous times, and I just remember laying there knowing that it was still there, but it wasn't there. You know, and that went on for like, because, you know, it was a long time. It was over a week that I had to then go and do it in a non-natural way. And it just, you know, it was just the saddest thing, but at the same time, I knew that the reason it happened was because I wasn't supposed to do it alone. And I stand by that now. I knew that as soon as I found out that the baby had gone, I phoned my mum and I said, I know that I'm not supposed to do this by myself. I know that I'm supposed to find someone that wants this as much as I do. And it's such a, honestly, it's a weird one to talk about because it's such a head trip because you're grieving not so much, even so much the baby, whatever time you lose a baby, you know? I can't even imagine, like, women having stillborns, and I just can't even fathom that. And I, you're grieving the life that you imagined, like, that you prepared in your mind as well. It's almost a bit like, you know, when you're really, it's a really stupid metaphor, but when you're really excited for a holiday and then it gets cancelled and you kind of go, "Yeah, it's a care to mind." But inside, you're like, "I just bought all these outfits and I got this and I've got that." It was like that times a million. And, but I always will look for the silver lining in any moment of pain and sadness. And I'm grateful that I got to experience being pregnant, and I'm grateful that I got to experience that my body can do it, not, like, not even if everyone's can do it, you know? And it's honestly brought me to some of the happiest moments that I've felt, because it's enabled, it's literally given, it's opened the door for me to love myself deeper. So, I'm still processing the whole thing, and I still have moments of intense sadness and grief, but I also have moments of excitement knowing that I won't do it alone. The other thing that I, when I sent you that voice note, I think it was around the time when you'd done a big post about Dave.
Your bodyguard's passing (01:20:38)
Yeah. And that was so... You really bringing out the big guns today, yeah? He said, "We're really going to talk about some stuff." Well, this is the perspective I was looking from the outside in, what you had been going through in that moment, and you were being very open with the journey. And within all of these unimaginable instances, you know, seeing things that played out in your life, it was really, as someone that's compelled to understand humans and grief and their emotions and psychology in the hope that it might help me, you know? I was blown away by your gratitude, even in the wake of your miscarriage, saying things like, "I'm so happy I had morning sickness, going to experience it." Oof. And the... The most sick I got at the happier I was was I knew the baby was healthy. Mm. You'll never hear me complain if I'm pregnant. And in the day that you did a post about Dave, who was your security guard. Mm-hmm. And even that made me think about people that have been with me for a long time and been right by my side through the storm... Yeah. Before the storm. Mm-hmm. And that's more grief. That's more life lessons that we don't want to have to learn, right? Yeah. I mean, it's interesting because... Up until Dave passed, passing... I've lost people that I know of, you know, but like... Real close people. Like, he was one of the first. And... The hardest part about, for me, like... Losing someone like that, and I speak broadly for anybody that's lost someone, is when you've had experiences that no one else knows about. So when you lose somebody that... He woke me up every morning... And was the last person I'd see close my hotel room door before I went to sleep. And would put on the do not disturb and be like, right, see them on a boss? For years and years and years and years and years through me, trash in a hotel room in Australia when I lost my mind to me, fancying this guy that he told me not to day, or having the best success of a song, or selling out a show, or not selling out a show, or having to cancel a show, he was the person that came to visit me, the first person that came to visit me when I would just have more operation when I was told I couldn't have kids. Like, he was my guy. Like, he was my big brother. Like, when there was turbulence, he held my hand for nine hours on the plane. Like, when you've gone through those experiences, but you know you can only grieve alone, because no one else has experienced those moments with you. Like, that's, that was what was the hardest thing for me is that no one else was a part of really our thing, because it was just me and him. Like, he's my security. Like, he was just, I would make him get on the rollercoaster. He'd be like, "No, no, I'll just watch." Like, "Come on." I would make it, and he was so big, and he would just sit next to me, and be like, "And I'll be like, 'I know you like it.'" And like, there was a part of him that I know I only got to see. You know, it's an unusual experience to be pushed together with someone that closely for so long, and to experience theme parks, and traveling, and airplanes, and delays, and highs and lows. And we were, every after every show, one of my things that I like to do, which I don't often do anymore now, because it, you know, it was a hell thing, was go for a walk after the show. We were at 2 AM, it was raining, get me outside, I need some air, I need to come back down to earth. I need my ringing in my ears to go, I need to like, have a packet of crisps or a sandwich. I just need to like, and usually no one would be out, because it would be late. So I could walk around, like I'd be in the rain soaking wet, and be like, "You're gonna get sick," and I'd be like, "Germ's make you sick, rain doesn't make you sick." You know, so like, we would have these conversations, and obviously I knew him, and I knew his own battle with his own sadness, and his own, when you tour for a living, when you're on tour you want to be at home, and when you're at home you want to be on tour. And there's this like, push and pull of like, "Where do I belong?" Like, "I want to keep moving, but I crave stillness, but when I'm at home it's too still, when I want, you know, when you're on tour it's too much moving, and you crave stillness, and then when you're still it's like, "I need to move." You know, so I knew so much about him, and he knew so much about me, and I protected him as much as I could as he protected me. So yeah, I mean, like, one of the most important things for me now, and has always been that because of my dad too, is men need to talk. Like, whenever I've got into a relationship, I'm so adamant on my partner having their own life, and their own group of friends that they hang out with, like, that they talk to, and that they do the things that they enjoy, and like, I don't want my life to become your life, or to feel like we have to be intertwined all the time. Like, women have grown up with blogs, and magazines, and books, and this, that, and the other, and that's one of the things I loved about you, and this is why I said yes to talking to you, because men don't talk enough about how they feel. Point blank, you know, and almost are raised to go, be respectful to women, you know, or not, it's not be respectful to yourself, you know, and I watched people react to Dave, who was this big six foot five, tattooed, bored guy, going, "Oh, you're going to beat me up?" Before that even spoken to him. And you're going, "Himby, you up?" Like, he'd catch a fly and a carp and put outside, you know? And it's crazy because the tears, um, between Dave and Jamal, and even the baby, like, the things that those people gave me in my life are things that I know I have to find in myself. Like, my anxiety comes a lot from my fear of being safe, and Dave gave me that, and Jamal always gave me self belief, which is like my biggest anxieties are self belief and my fear. And so losing those two people in my life, and then obviously the baby was just such a huge part of who I want to be in my life and what I want to give to my children one day. Um, I think that's why the grief is so present right now, because I'm in the process of trying to give myself the things that they gave me. Yeah, the very special guys. Um, and Dave was... ...hard work. Hard work. Hilarious... did... took no bullshit... ...and had my back 100%, and I've not had anyone like that since. You know? In the photos, you both look like Jokers. Oh my God, he was the biggest Joker, the biggest clown. He would send me shit while I was sitting in the voice chair to try and make me laugh. And like, we just had all these jokes. Like, we would... and we lived in this house in Australia together. And... it was whale season. So we would watch whales. Like, we would sit and have dinner, and then we would sit when we bought binoculars, and we would sit and watch like the sea and see if we could find whales. And so it became this thing that every time we'd be in the middle of a conversation, we'd be like, "Whale?" and then we'd all run to the window. So it became that thing for years that like, if there was an awkward moment or one of us wanted to leave somewhere, we would say, "Wow." That was like our code thing. Yeah, random. And then he'd come up with an excuse for what we got there. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Or we'd just laugh, because we'd be like, "If someone said something stupid, he'd be like, "Wow." And it was just like, he just got me, you know? And it's very hard to find people like that. And I do believe that you're right when you sit about expectation. I think that when you've experienced... I've had a handful of people in my career that have... ...loved me and seen me and heard me and felt me and understood me and respected me and elevated me consistently, that are still here with me or aren't anymore, for whatever reasons, whether they've moved on or they've passed away or... ...and I think it's hard that when you've experienced that, to want anything... It's weird, like I feel sometimes feel safer... ...talking to Dave, which probably makes me sound crazy, at an event and imagining him there, then I do with another security guard. And I know that may not make any sense to anyone, but I just imagine him there, and I feel safe and I feel calm. So yeah, he's definitely given me a gift that I don't think he even ever knew he did. I don't think he realised how special he was to me, which I hate. I hate. And I wish I could have protected him from himself, like he protected me from myself. That's the... that has me the most. But... I know he would want me to live my life as hard as I could, which is why I do try and make decisions that I know only propel me to a happy hour and more peaceful and secure environment for myself and my future family. And he's so clearly still with you.
Interpersonal Relationships And Future Plans
Do you let people in? (01:31:48)
All, every day, same with Jamal and the baby, all of them. What do you like with letting people in? Having been through a lot of loss in these various situations you've been through in your life or you? Do you let people in easily? Because one would assume from some of your characteristics the openness, the vulnerability that you and people could just stride right in. It's probably something I'm working on all the time, is that I do let people in. I definitely give people more than they give me most of the time, you know. But I also think that's my nature. Like I'm a hostess, I'm a very like a caregiver. Like I'm... I like to cook and entertain and like care for people and look after people. And I think there's a thin line of people presuming that I have someone else that's going to do that for me. And then also people that isn't just there, that's not their love language. But also I'm very guarded. And I think that definitely in the last few years of I've got way more closed in... I wouldn't say that I have a fear of like I'm funny about people letting people in. I think I let people in but maybe not to the real, real me. There's only a few people that really know how much my brain is always working. Who are those people? I have like five people, like childhood best friends. My parents are definitely people that I've... we've gone through our... You know, as you do with your parents, you know, we carry so much of our parents, good and bad. You know, and I think that all of us know that my dad... I remember me and my dad when the tables turned and I had to go to him. Do you want to look at yourself? Like I love you but, you know, I carry some of your traits that I don't like. That I'm trying to heal and I'm sitting with you and I can see you doing them. And it's irking me and like triggering me and we need to talk about it. You know, and I'm grateful that I have people that are open to challenging me as much as I am challenging them. But you know, I don't have that many people that I trust wholeheartedly. I don't need that many. And I'm grateful that I even have one because some people don't even have one. And they're the people that I cry for too because I think about how lonely they must be. Look at my life. I'm so lucky and so grateful for everything I have. And I know that we've sat and spoken at probably the most worst parts of my life in the most worst moments. But I also live a life of absolute peace and happiness that I couldn't even fathom. Someone would tell me that this is what my life was going to look like. You know, I'm beyond grateful. What about love then? Love. Love. So funny because I wrote a book when I was...
Love and relationships (01:34:58)
I know it was like when I wrote Bloody Autobiography at 12. You know, you've got a book deal and you're like, "Okay." And when I look back at it now, it's like there's a whole section of like, "I like ice cream." And I'm just like, "Who read this?" And it's actually called Nice to Meet You. It's like my career so far in like 2012 and it'd be like six months in. But I remember, obviously with regards to like me talking about relationships from the beginning and the impact that I had positively and negatively to myself, my relationships, my career, how I hurt people, how people hurt me, I wrote this big chapter on love and personal love. And then I deleted it all and just put a little thing of, "I need to keep something personal." Oh, right. And protected because if I talk about everything so openly all the time, it's allowing opinions and poison to see pin that really do nothing for it. But can actually do something to it. And I think that my last public relationship... Which one was that? Well, it wasn't even that I wanted it to be public. But the person was public. No, it wasn't even that. That was the one before the last one. Okay. It was that I was frustrated that you have to almost, fame is weird because even though people choose personally not to post or not to speak or not to be seen, you can't live a normal relationship if you don't aren't seen. So even if I don't post a relationship, these people will hide in bushes until they get a picture and then you don't want them to have the control of what they say it is. I know what you're talking about now. You know what I'm saying? So this is what you put. Yes. So obviously I was in a very, very public relationship. And it was a very different experience for me. Good, bad ugly. It was actually very interesting because I felt like I was experiencing what my exes had felt like being... I was them and he was me. Right? Okay. He was on a whole other level of fame and going through a very personal time publicly. And I... He was one of the biggest actors. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And he's an incredible father and was going through a really personal traumatic time. And it was just a lot of emotional collisions. You know, of like both of our lives at the same time. And we got on really well. But again, that same thing is that when you're famous, you can go for dinner on a date. Like how many dates have you been on where you would never see them again? Right? But you get photographed and you're both famous and they put it on the internet and go exclusive. And you're like... And that wasn't what happened. But you know, we got seen and it kind of propelled into something probably more than maybe it was also because of what was going on in his own life. And then there was this comparison. And it was just... It was so many things that... I always say that there's a lot of things that fame control, that you can't control. And there's a lot of things in this life that we ask for. And then there's some things that we don't but happen anyway. And so that whole experience definitely made me go, I just need more privacy. And I need to have something that isn't always me talking about it. And like being open because even if people really understand it, everyone just... Everybody slows down at the car crash. Very rarely do people get out and help. And now people don't just slow down. Now people don't slow down and they film. They zoom in. They comment. They send to somebody else. They will pretend something else happened that was there that wasn't like that's what it is now. Right? So then when I met someone in the pandemic and who wasn't famous... And I was very protective of that. When then when we did get seen I was like I don't want to talk about it. And we were together for like dating for maybe a month and then obviously it was put out everywhere on this one picture. And I was like, you know, my frustration of like the way they worded all of it. And I just was like, no, this isn't what it is. If you want to... I don't hate that the press can control the narrative. I hate that. But I also get it. But it doesn't mean that you sometimes don't just go ugh. You know, like... But you did a post basically saying I want to control the narrative myself. Yeah, exactly. And it wasn't me going like we're going to get married and we're going to do this. It was just like this is what it is. This is who it is. And da da da da da da and piss off. Like just... And then they did piss off to some degree. You know, it was like, okay. And then all the... The picture they posted of me and I laughed about it. I looked like an old man that owned a boat that was wearing a wig. Like it was so bad. And I was just like, really guys? This is the picture you're going to use of both of us. And like it was just terrible. But there's that thin line of like, fuck everybody. I'm going to live the life I want to live and I'm going to experience love. Like my mum says to me, "Fallen in love as many times as you can. It will stick or it won't." How many times have you been properly in love? Once. Because I can actually see my life with that person and I've never had that before. Sounds recent. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. Maybe it isn't. Who knows? Who knows? Who knows? We might never know. And I may... Like... And I may never know. Yeah. Like I just feel like love is a constant moving experience. And I think that when you meet new people, you always want to dumb down what you've experienced because you don't want to make them feel bad. But the truth is, all we're ever doing is going, "Is this love? Do you want to be with me? Are we going to get married? Like, can we live together? Like, would you take a bullet for me? Do I really want to meet your parents?" Yeah. It's a constant... It's a lot. Yeah, it's a lot. And I think that I've been in relationships where... In the process of me working out if it's what I want or not what I want, the press are giving the narrative that it's exactly what I want and it is going to happen and it's this and it's that. And I'm like, "We may never have been official, or we were, or we may have been engaged, or we may have, like, just been mates." The amount of times I've been in relationships with my friends that I've just gone to dinner with, you know, like the amount of times that people have said, "Look, like I've been pregnant, little do they know?" I would say, "Now it doesn't happen." And I think if the press did say that now, I think that I would probably feel confident to say something because I see them do it to so many women without knowing what they're internally going through. I constantly ride the line between not giving a fuck and wanting to protect it to every little part of me. Because I would be lying if I didn't say that what other people think or say or constantly believe doesn't bother me. When you walked in, you said, "I asked you what's front of mine," and you said, "I'm thinking about, like, the next chapter of Jesse J and my life.
What’s your next chapter? (01:42:44)
What is that next chapter as we look forward?" Acting on my instincts, making music that I love, making music that feels like it speaks to myself as much as it speaks to other people, finding a team of people that had the same passion as me, and giving my personal life as much nurturing as my career. And acting? Yeah, I'm acting right now. Acting comedy, I really want to do comedy. I really want to do stand up. I mean, me sitting here crying for the last three hours and giving that people that impression, but not Mark. Yeah, I definitely want to do acting at some point. Like, the West End stuff? I mean, yeah, I mean, right now I'm in the process of, like, trying to create a one-woman show, which is what Jamal was helping me with. Which is a combination of the things that I love the most, which is therapy and talking, and honesty and emotions and standing in the middle of them and feeling the storm and the joy and the sunshine and the rain and all of it. Singing and singing, when I mean singing, singing as hard as I can, as loud and high and as soft and as low and everything as I can and making people laugh. You know, and combining those three things, don't know what it looks like, have an idea, but you know, life does this. And preparing my body to try again to be a parent, you know, at some point in the next few years, for sure. Thank you.
Our last guest's question (01:44:35)
Thank you. Are you going to write notes about me in your book now? No, actually, this is part of a tradition we have here where the last guest, who you'll never know who they are, writes a question for the next guest, and then that just keeps going. I love that. It's like all the guests are actually speaking to each other, but they just don't know who they're talking to. So what are you clear about now that one year ago you didn't know? All my dreams, personally and professionally, are able to happen with people by my side, and I don't have to do everything by myself. I think that's the biggest thing for me, is I'm a very independent. I've got, I can do it. I don't need help. I don't need support. Person, that's bullshit. Like, I need people around me that want to do what I want to do, and I enjoy being a team player. And I don't think that was clear to me a year ago. Well, Jesse, thank you. Thank you for the conversation. As I said to you before we started recording, there was a reason why I wanted to speak to you, and it's for all the reasons that I've discovered today. You've been through so much, but on the other side of that is tremendous wisdom and the willingness to share it with people who you've seen from even the way you've shared your story and the impact you've had when you do those acoustic sets. What happens to the audience when you start talking about that? And you can see the resonance, right? I'm grateful to, as I said, the biggest thing for me is never to think that I've had it any worse than anyone else because I talk about it. It's knowing that I'm giving someone space that may not be able to find that for themselves to grieve or to feel something that they need to feel. Yeah. And the other tremendous part of my admiration to you comes from this, this watching you realise that the only way to live is if you're emotionally in alignment with what you're doing and it's making you feel good and that really is the guiding force of our lives. English people say, "Trust your gut." Yeah. Literally, it's your second brain. Trust your gut. And don't just trust your instincts, act on them. If something doesn't feel right, it's because it's not. And then the other part, the third part is your talent, which is... Hey, yeah. Like that? I was thinking more the Whitney thing out in China. Oh, Whitney isn't the best. But you are just like, I know that I'm blowing smoke at my ass, but you are different. Thank you. Like when I listen to you, I'll be honest with you, I don't listen to loads of music in your... I would say in your genre, but you're not really in one genre. No, not what you mean. But you and maybe one other artist can get me. And that's, I think, a credit to your talent and also what's behind the music. You can feel it with certain people. And when I was doing the research for this episode, I got... Because I'd get two hours in to listen to the Rose album or something else. Like fuck, I need to re... And then I'd play another song and get sucked back into it emotionally. And it was taking me to places. And for me, that's what really good artists do. They take me to places and take me to that place and liberate me from whatever was there. And that's what you do. And so, wherever you're at in your life, you've got that. Thank you. No one can ever take that. You've got it. And you have. So thank you for that gift and thank you for sharing all of it with the world. Thank you. Appreciate that so much. I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. We are all looking for ways to live a little bit more sustainably and to make more conscious choices in our day-to-day routine. So when a brand like My Energy, who I've spoken about before, offered to sponsor this podcast, I felt like, and I knew deep down inside, that I had to help them share their mission to create an even greener world. It feels like there's not much more fulfilling than that. And their products provide an easy and cost-effective way to make a sustainable switch in your life. And they've got some existing new products coming out that I can't wait to use myself. And I'll let you know as I use those products how I get on. So, if you're a My Energy customer at the moment, let me know your favorite products down below in the comments section. And if you haven't checked them out yet, go to MyEnergy.com and find out a lot more about who they are and what they're doing. If you're one of those people that wants to make a sustainable switch, MyEnergy.com is the place for you.