Interview

Jon ALi Interview: Jessie & The Toy Boys

A couple months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing rising pop star Jessie Malakouti from Jessie & The ToyBoys. Jessie is currently touring the U.S. along with Nicki Minaj and Nervo for Britney Spears‘ “Femme Fatale Tour.” Before she headed on one of the biggest tours this summer, we talked about everything from her single “Push It,” her debut album, and Jessie tries her best to describe herself in three words. Check out the interview below!

ME: Hey Jessie! How are you?

JESSIE: I’m well actually, thank you. How are you?

ME: I’m great! I recently introduce my readers to you and got some great feedback so I’m super excited for this interview.

JESSIE: Yay! I love your blog. I’ve been reading it for awhile now so it was really cool to be on it. Thank you.

ME: I’m so happy to hear that, you’re welcome. Alright, so the first thing that I wanted to talk about is; what inspired the name, Jessie and the Toy Boys.

JESSIE: What inspired the name is the band. The band inspired the name, they made the name. I’ve grown up playing in bands and I love the idea of being in one, but because I’m such a creative control freak. I needed band mates that wouldn’t get in the way of my decisions and ‘Toy Boys’ are perfect for that reason.

ME: Yeah and I totally get that from all the promo pictures and all the visuals you’ve put out so far. Was that something you really wanted to show off and display?

JESSIE: Yeah, I was really excited to get the images of the Toy Boys and I out there. The pictures you’re seeing are from our first photoshoot together. Everything I do is story boarded and I put together the art direction. I had this idea in my head to form Jessie and the Toy Boys weeks before the photoshoot and just really wanted to get it right. I pulled images that inspired me then went to this factory and literally hand picked each band mate. Named them, dressed them, and then we had our first photoshoot [Laughs].

ME: [Laughs] that’s pretty awesome and exciting. I’ve actually heard and read some things about you for quite some time now so it’s great to finally see you out there. I don’t think when people hear about, Jessie and the Toy Boys that they’ll know that you’ve been around for awhile now. So for anyone who doesn’t know; how did you get to where you are now?

JESSIE: It’s a pretty simple story. I had a dream and I knew I was going to achieve this dream no matter what it took. I graduated high school early, I was 16 and then I came to Los Angeles. Once I got there I started hustling and basically did whatever I could to work in entertainment. I was doing it even if I wasn’t getting paid or just an extra sitting on a set for 24 hours. I didn’t care, I wanted to learn and meet as many people as I could. Started shaking hands and started making new friends. I formed a rock band and we began playing shows up and down the strip. Then one night there was an A&R record executive in the crowd at this whole in the wall venue we were playing. He spotted us and signed my band. That was my first official entry into the professional music business and from there I never stopped. I wrote so many songs that I was able to get a publishing deal so that I could continue writing songs. Started writing for other artists, met more and more producers, and my song writing was just improving. Then finally after writing for the last two years, I started figuring out who I wanted to be as an artist. I shifted the focus from writing for other people to just writing for myself. Then about a year ago is when I decided to form Jessie and the Toy Boys.

ME: Yes… and now you’re here talking to me and you have your single “Push It” out! It paid off and you must feel so happy and excited to finally have things moving, you know?

JESSIE: Yeah! It’s so exciting, “Push It” is the first single and what I love about it is that you can’t listen to it sitting down. You have to get up and move, I’m really excited about it.

ME: As am I! A lot of my readers are hard to please so whenever I introduce an artist there has to be things I love about them in every aspect. I look into the visuals, involvement, music, and of course the single. So when it came to you, I was immediately drawn in by all that and I knew they would love it. So I’m happy that I’ve been reading a lot of positive feedback so far.

JESSIE: Thank you so much! Well you have good taste; everything you put up is basically what I’m into. I think I saw a recent post of Ellie Goulding and I love her. When I lived in the U.K I was hearing a lot about her and knew she was special so you know what’s up.

ME: She really is great, I love her as well and thank you, I really appreciate that.

JESSIE: No problem.

ME: Now I know you’ve recently released the video for “Push It,” what was the overall concept for it?

JESSIE: I sort of approach everything visually with the aesthetic of treating it like an editorial high fashion shoot. I wanted it to be in a Laundromat and thought it provided an interesting backdrop because it’s so graphic. With the shapes of the washer machines, the tile, I really love graphic prints and patterns. I got the idea of the backdrop first and then started thinking of the narrative in my head. I was thinking I’m doing my laundry in the Laundromat and then maybe the Toy Boys pour too much soap in the machine. It gets full and then it turns into a full on Ibiza foam party [Laughs].

ME: [Laughs] Sounds like it must have been a lot of fun to film.

JESSIE: Yeah, It was… actually, that’s a lie. I had pneumonia

ME: Oh no!

JESSIE: Yeah, I had pneumonia and was trying really hard to conserve my energy for whenever I had to be on camera. Between takes I was a wreck. I was wet and it was freezing cold but also a dream come true, you know?

ME: Yeah, you’re never going to forget that, having pneumonia on the set of your first video.

JESSIE: I know, I know. That’s the thing, It was the set of my first video that I didn’t do alone, you know? Every other video I’ve done it’s been just me. This was the first time it felt real. I had a crew behind me making sure everything was going okay. There was like one hundred people there and I was just like, Wow, all these people are here for me. I felt so blessed.

ME: I can only imagine, especially since you’ve worked so hard to get here and to just see it all happening, must have felt great.

JESSIE: Yeah, totally.

ME: Awesome, well I know you’ll probably be working hard to get “Push It” out there. As for the album; are you still working on it?

JESSIE: Yeah, I’m always writing. The Toy Boys and I are still working on some things in the studio but we definitely plan on having an album out later this year.

ME: Great! What’s it sounding like so far?

JESSIE: It’s very electro. The Jessie and the Toy Boys sound is like biting into one of those cherry cordial chocolates. Outside you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you take a bite and then it’s sweet and sour at the same time and leaves you buzzed. I think our sound is a mixture of a couple different genres and it just leaves you hyped.

ME: That’s definitely a cool way to describe it.

JESSIE: Yeah! I like that [Laughs].

ME: [Laughs] definitely. I’m sure you’re working with a ton of people on it as well, right?

JESSIE: Yeah, over the years of being a professional songwriter I’ve obviously developed a lot of relationships with incredible writers and producers. I really wanted to narrow down who I chose to work on this album with. I wanted it to be focus and a cohesive sounding record. I didn’t want it to sound like a mixtape and have 20 different producers on it. I wanted it to sound like an album with a vision throughout the whole thing. I’m working a lot with Jimmy Harry, Tony Kanal, Nellee Hooper, David Gamson and it’s really just those guys who are working with me on this record.

ME: Yay! Well that sounds like one solid team.

JESSIE: Yeah, it’s been a dream, especially with Nellee Hooper. I have these things called ‘Good Karma’ notebooks and I’ve had them since I recorded my first song when I was sixteen. I write down ideas, dreams, and goals for the year. I remember in one of my first or second notebooks, I wrote down one of my dream collaborations would be with Nellee Hooper because I’m such a fan. So its interesting four years later and I’m actually getting the chance to work with him. I didn’t know him or anything or how I was going to get too him. I believe in the laws of attraction a lot and I feel like I attracted him into my life [Laughs].

ME: [Laughs] He sensed you presence.

JESSIE: Exactly! So true [Laughs].

ME: Well this is all so good. The single is out, you’re working on the album, its all coming together.

JESSIE: Yes, I’m very excited

ME: Well I know you’re going to work your butt off to get everything moving so I’m wishing you the best of luck in everything. Thanks for taking time to talk to me today.

JESSIE: No problem, Thank you very very much for all the support.

ME: You’re welcome, talk to you soon!

BUY Jessie and The Toy Boys debut EP “Show Me Your Tan Lines” on iTunes NOW!

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