INTERVIEW: Jessica Sutta (2013)
When I interviewed Jessica Sutta back in 2008 around the release of the Pussycat Dolls’ Doll Domination album, I was blown away by her knowledge of dance music. So it’s no surprise that she has worked with top flight producers like Dave Aude and Paul van Dyk and topped the club chart with “Show Me” last year. Her new single “Again” is flying up the club chart and is just one of four songs that she is planning to release this year. We caught up at the Winter Music Conference and chatted about everything going on in her beat-driven world.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: How are you enjoying the Winter Music Conference this year?
Jessica Sutta: Oh my god I am having the time of my life. Miami is my hometown and I love coming home, it is always fun here.
RS: And dance music is just in your blood?
Jessica: It’s completely in my blood, people don’t realize how much I know about dance music and how much I really love it, it is all that I listen to.
RS: There have been some changes over the past year, last time that we spoke you were with Disney and had a great #1 single called “Show Me,” and now you have left Disney, what happened there?
Jessica: Things happen for a reason, it was an amazing ride there and I love every single person that I worked with. Now I am with a label called Citrusonic and I feel that they are a better fit for me and they really understand dance music. It’s funny, I always say that it is kismet the way that it all worked out, I have definitely found my home.
RS: Your new song is called “Again,” what is it about?
Jessica: “Again” is basically about that cyclone of bad and wrong decisions that you end up doing over and over again whether it is relationships, lifestyle choices, or job. It talks about the repetitiveness of it but at the end of the song there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I wrote this song in a darker place of my life and this song is an optimistic song. I really love the track, Kemal Golden produced it and I feel like it is uplifting but it also has meaning. All of my new music is like that now because I really wanted to be more of a writer and reflect who I am.
RS: One thing that I have noticed with dance music is that it is very rare that you get a good message and a story in a song, is that what you are trying to bring up?
Jessica: Absolutely, we can put our hands in the air and take shots all day long but dance music is so amazing to me and it’s uplifting. I know the message of dance music has changed people’s lives and that is my plan and my intention.
RS: Going back in time a little bit, did you write the song “White Lies”?
Jessica: I did not write that song. Paul Van Dyk presented it to me because we were signed to the same label in Germany. He caught wind that I was doing dance music, in fact in 2007 I performed with him in front of fifty thousand people and it was so much fun. He is the nicest guy and I love his music. I still get recognition for that song and I really appreciate it.
RS: What is it like performing on your own versus when you were performing with The Pussycat Dolls?
Jessica: Well it is all on me now, at first it was really awkward because I didn’t have the other girls with me. Any mistakes that I make I can’t hide in front of anyone anymore, but it has made me a strong performer and an even stronger singer, I really love it.
RS: With your background, were you a singer first or a dancer?
Jessica: I was a dancer first; I have been dancing since I was three. When I was 17 in high school I hurt my knee and that was when I started singing and acting. In fact I moved to Los Angeles to be an actress because I had just got off a soap opera in Miami called Ocean Ave where Megan Fox played my little sister. It was a crazy cast, it was so cool. I saved a lot of money and that is why I moved to Los Angeles, my first job was The Pussycat Dolls.
RS: Not a bad first job at all!
Jessica: Actually, it wasn’t Pussycat Dolls, excuse me; it was the choreographer for the Pussycat Dolls and Robin Anton. It was for Smokey the Bear to prevent forest fires and we were dancing in leotard tuxedos in the forest turning off fires. It was really funny but she told me to cut my bangs and join the group that following week, which was insane. It went from 20 girls to 6 girls and then became The Pussycat Dolls.
RS: What is the most memorable moment that you had with the Pussycat Dolls?
Jessica: The whole experience was unbelievable and we traveled the world. One of the moments that I remember was when we were in Egypt and the sun was coming up above the pyramids of Giza, and it just illuminated the pyramids and I had never seen anything more miraculous in my entire life. That night we performed in front of the pyramids and it was PCD on the pyramids. It was pretty surreal, I look back and it was such an amazing experience and I don’t regret one bit of it, nothing about it.
RS: Do you ever think that there will be a Pussycat Doll reunion?
Jessica: I really hope so- I think that it would be good for our fans and that is what matters most.
RS: Do you keep in touch with all of the girls?
Jessica: I haven’t talked to Nicole in a really long time but I have talked to all of them and they are all doing really well. Two of them are living in the UK doing acting and Melody is still in the states performing a lot and all over the world so everyone is doing really well.
RS: Recently Nicole made a comment about how in order to make it as a success in the music industry you have to be slutty, but Pussycat Dolls, in all of their tartiness there was a feminist message there, what is your reaction to what Nicole said?
Jessica: To be honest, I was insulted for the group and was insulted for a lot of other artists. I don’t know that she intended to insult us but you look at Rihanna and Beyoncé and they aren’t wearing a whole lot on stage and they are still selling out stadiums and getting Grammys, does that mean that they were slutty to get that? I have worked with Rihanna before and I have seen her grow and blossom into who she is today and she didn’t have to go that route. I had to speak up because I didn’t feel like that was a really cool thing to tell our fans. You don’t have to do that and sell yourself short; in fact you have to work really hard and make yourself resilient and not sell yourself short. There are girls in this industry that will do that and if you want to take that route that’s great, are you going to have a great life, probably not, you may have all of the riches and fame in the world but you probably won’t be happy at the end of the day.
RS: You will make the decision again and again.
Jessica: Yes exactly, my song is not about that but it could relate to someone that is going through that.
RS: With “Again,” is there going to be a full mix package?
Jessica: Yes, Hector Fonseca is doing a remix which I am really excited about, MJ did a remix, and hopefully Dave Aude- who is like a brother to me… and I spoke to the Nervo girls yesterday so there could potentially be something that we will do in the future.
RS: Those girls are hard workers.
Jessica: Those are my girls! They produced “If I Was A Man” for the Pussycat Dolls which was a solo song that I did. I got to meet them before they blew up, I remember seeing them and thinking that they were like two little cute fairies. I love them and they haven’t changed one bit.
RS: If you could go back to the Pussycat Dolls catalog and take one song and make it your own song which one would it be?
Jessica: Probably “Don’t Cha,” I think that it’s really cool. At first I didn’t like it because I was cheated on by my boyfriend but then I fell in love with it. It’s really fun, like an anthem.
RS: Are you planning on putting an album together or putting out some more singles?
Jessica: Well our goal this year is to release four singles. I am also going to be doing a lot of featurings with DJs that I like. I am really excited; I am actually doing a featuring with the DJ tyDi.
RS: Oh wow, I love him
Jessica: I feel like he is the next Avicii. I believe in him, I saw his show and he is an amazing performer and musician, he has an incredible ear and I’m really excited about the song that we did. It is hot; I’ll have to play it for you.
RS: What is it called?
RS: Anyone else that you are planning on collaborating with?
Jessica: I’d love to work with the Nervo girls, I was really blown away by Hector Fonseca’s show the other night, and I’m excited to do more work with him and I would love to work with Paul Van Dyk again, that would be fun.
RS: Anything that you would like to say to all of your fans out there?
Jessica: I just want to say thank you for sticking by my side and supporting me, I love waking up every day and doing what I love and that is dance music. I heart dance music.
Interview conducted during Winter Music Conference 2013.