Jessie J – The Saviour of British Pop Music?
As Jessie J’s career goes from strength to strength, we investigate whether she has what it takes to save British pop from its fierce critics.
A few months ago, the majority of people hadn’t heard of Jessie J, save for those who had discovered her youtube account which she frequently updated with acoustic demos of her tracks. Now, it feels as if she’s been with us for years. Since exploding onto the scene with the astonishingly infectious ‘Do It Like A Dude,’ Jessie J has taken the UK pop scene by storm.
Winning the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2011’ award and picking up the ‘Critic’s Choice’ award at this year’s Brits has certainly put Jessie J on the map, and she has seen unprecedented success, already rivaling her contemporaries. Although the ‘Critic’s Choice’ category has produced some highly successful artists, Jessie J appears to be on track to be the most successful of them yet, scoring a #2 position with her debut single and more recently the prestigious #1 spot with ‘Price Tag,’ featuring B.o.B.
When we put this in context with her rival ‘Critics Choice’ winners, we get an idea of the magnitude of her achievements. Last year’s winner Ellie Goulding achieved a #4 spot with her post-Brit award single ‘Starry Eyed,’ but struggled for a further nine months before re-entering the top 10 with a cover of Elton John’s ‘Your Song.’ A similar story can be seen with both Adele and Florence And The Machine, who have both yet to claim a UK #1, despite their huge popularity.
As well as Jessie J’s high UK success rate, she is also making some headway in America, where her debut single there, ‘Price Tag,’ entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #88. This might not seem like much, but for an unknown British artist, with no promotion, this is a huge feat. This is again highlighted by the likes of Florence And The Machine, whose highest entry in the US is ‘Dog Days Are Over’ at #21, and Adele, who, despite claiming 2 Grammys for ‘Best New Artist’ and ‘Best Female Pop Vocal Performance’ in 2009, also saw her highest entry at #21 with ‘Chasing Pavements’.
Jessie, who has penned tracks for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus, is keen to contend with American heavyweights, telling ‘Metro’ that
‘I am proud to say that I am British and I am proud to say that I am ready to take on the likes of Pink and Beyoncé and Katy Perry and really make a name for British icons.’
Whilst this may seem a little big headed to some people, I for one am ecstatic that a talented and current artist is willing to promote British music and to see her charting highly amongst such well established international superstars would be incredible for the industry here. Jessie went on to add that ‘…Whether it happens or not I believe I can push boundaries. As long as I am happy and I am doing me then I can’t make any mistakes really’ which seems like an admirable way to go about things.
However, Jessie J shouldn’t be fearing a lack of support, as multitudes of stars have spoken out in support of the British sensation, with collaborator B.o.B stating that
‘She really knows what she wants as an artist so [working with her] was dope. I see Jessie becoming a powerhouse, definitely.’
We can’t say we disagree, and she’ll definitely need to be a powerhouse in order to contend with the American music heavyweights. B.o.B showed little concern as to her future however, by going on to add ‘…I know she is going to do big things and amaze the world.’ Furthermore, US hip-hop phenomenon Nicki Minaj has also spoken out about her love for Jessie, revealing that
‘I heard about Jessie J because she said in an interview that she wanted me on her single… I checked her out afterwards, and I fell in love with her – the tone of her voice and everything.’
This overwhelming support for Jessie J flies in the face of Sir Elton John, who recently lashed out at the British pop scene, describing it as the ‘worst.’ Talking to ‘The World,’ Elton claimed that
‘Frankly, they all sound the same…It’s hard to tell Girls Aloud from The Saturdays. And then there’s Cheryl Cole…It’s all crap. British pop music like that is the worst, it’s just awful.’
Whilst Elton John is truly a living legend and has created some of the best musical pieces in the world, we must not forget gems such as ‘Crocodile Rock’ and ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,’ for which I believe he should quieten down somewhat about the state of British music.
In any case, with only 8 days until the release of her debut album ‘Who You Are,’ it would seem that Jessie J is set to become one of the standout artists of recent times. Already showing versatility, ‘Do It Like A Dude’ and ‘Price Tag’ virtually sound like they’ve been recorded by different artists, the singer should appeal to a hugely broad fan base. We’ve already had the pleasure of hearing some of the upcoming tracks from the album and, again, Jessie shows off yet another facet of her immense talent. We British should be wishing her every success as she forces our flag back into the forefront of international music stage.