The release of 2011’s “Push It” featuring Yelawolf was Jessie and The Toy Boys’ introduction to the music world. The ultra-catchy electro jam, featured on their “Show Me Your Tan Lines” EP, displayed massive pop appeal and had all the right ingredients for instant party fun: a sassy, slightly sugar coated sing-a-long chorus, a mischievous rhyme and captivating dance synths backed by an oversized personality with dance moves to match. Since the release, the flirtatious, blonde bombshell frontwoman Jessie Malakouti has belted her way through Late Night with Conan O'Brien, seduced audiences alongside Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj on the Femme Fatale tour, and has mixed it up on the IDentity Festival with EDM heavyweights like Kaskade, Steve Aoki and Skrillex. No doubt Jessie is light years ahead of where she thought she would be when she left home at 16 to pursue a career in music. Equally impressive, the girl with the big voice is the creative mastermind and artisan of her own product. Top to bottom it’s all her, which is a rather refreshing notion for a pop artist.
When Im creating music I usually try and paint a mood or a story. If I can see a music video to it in my head then I know Im on the right track. Ive got lots of video ideas stored away in my brain.
Jessie and The Toy Boys’ full-length debut, This is How Rumors Start will be released via Prospect Park sometime this summer. Leading up to the album’s release, and playing off the album’s theme of sex, war, betrayal and love, Jessie crafted a series of five webisodes named after the album. You can watch all five episodes below. She also recently leaked “Petty Theft” off her upcoming album via YouTube. If you’re going to be in Palm Springs next month, she’ll be playing the main stage at White Party on Sunday April 8. Don’t let that pretty face deceive you—she’s not your average “disco doll.”
Home Town: Los Angeles, CA.
Currently Living: On a tour bus or in a studio...
Origin Of Name: My band mates are plastic and fantastic. Once I had created the concept of the band, I was looking for visual inspiration. In one of my favorite Madonna pictures she is wearing a belt buckle that says, “Boy Toy” and I thought it would be cool to flip it.
Weapon of Choice: Microphone.
Est. Miles Traveled Per Year: 40K plus.
Gigs Played/Nights Out Per Year: 100 plus.
Source Of Power: Red nail polish.
Blurb Yourself: From the studio to the streets giving you those candy coated musical treats.
Can you walk us through your various musical phases? From early interest to actual creative output.
I took classical piano lessons as a kid. I wouldn't really practice the pieces I was supposed to learn, so instead I'd work on Disney songs or pop songs like, “My Heart Will Go On.” Pretty much anything I could sing to at the same time. In middle school I started dancing every day—mostly hip-hop. I formed a crew with other local kids and we’d choreograph routines together and battle other crews. I think that is where my love for rhythm and percussive melody started. My songwriting style is kind of like that…big pop chorus with more rhythmic, almost “rappy,” verses.
What life activities are made better when listening to music? Talk about the last time you enjoyed one and the other.
Sometimes being on the road so much makes for a really messy apartment. I have to have these deep clean days whenever I get a chance, where I just scrub every dish and wash every piece of laundry. If I didn't have music playing in the background I'd loose my mind! I love listening to new albums in their entirety while cleaning up. It's nice to get the whole picture from an artist instead of just the singles.
If you visualize music as your listen, what (generally) do you imagine?
When I'm creating music I usually try and paint a mood or a story. If I can see a music video to it in my head then I know I'm on the right track. I've got lots of video ideas stored away in my brain.
If you could send advice via a fortune cookie to up-and-comers, it would read:
Can’t hold back a dreamer.
What (type) music makes you reach for the headphones? What (type) mood makes you reach for the headphones?
I'm always on the go and sometimes I don't get to listen to my mixes in a proper studio. Listening back on laptop speakers you loose so much quality. Because I'm an artist, I know how much time and love goes into making a song. It's nice to have my SOL REPUBLIC headphones to hear every little synth and drum sound sprinkled on the track. The low end on SOL REPUBLIC headphones is really great too—especially for me, because I love that dirty bass!
Tell me about your most memorable night out.
When I was 14 I went to see the Justified/Stripped tour at The Staples Center in LA. I remember sitting in the noise bleed looking at the big stage and I made a wish that someday I would be the one on stage performing. This past summer I opened up there for Britney so that wish came true. Next stop is to headline.
Tell us about a specific event or period in your life that is linked in your mind to a song/album.
Empire of the Sun’s album “Walking On A Dream” reminds me of one of the most adventurous years living in London and getting lost in wonderland.
What value do you place on environment as a creative springboard?
For me it's all about feeling comfortable. I don't necessarily need to be in a certain city. In fact I prefer to mix it up; besides Los Angeles, I like to record in Stockholm and London, but the studio or home studio has to feel warm. I like comfy couches that I can snuggle up on and write lyrics and a good kitchen with a kettle for tea is always nice. Some artists like to black out windows to work, for me I like light. I like to take mini inspiration breaks outside and sometimes that sparks a new idea.
Talk about some of your “classic” memories of touring?
New Orleans was one of my favorite cities to perform in. The spirit of the city is incredible. I had an off day in NOLA before my show there with Britney and got to explore the city. I ate beignets and explored the French Quarter. Then I went roaming around an old cemetery, and later I went to see a local voodoo doctor and got my palm read. It wasn't a fake, Vegas style palm reading—it was legit. It's awesome to be a musician and get to travel and see the world like that.
Do you remember the first time you had a live audience’s complete attention?
I was on tour in the UK opening up for a girl group that's pretty popular over there called The Saturdays. I opened with a song called “Jungle Town” in Newcastle. There were about 2,000 kids in the audience and by the 2nd chorus I had everyone chanting along even though it was their first time hearing my song. It was awesome!
Soundtrack of Life:
Here are my top six songs to get a dance party started…
She is the original dancing queen.
There is a reason this song is a little played out, because it’s really, really good.
It’s my nod to 90’s freestyle music with a 2012 twist.
Because it brings all the boys to the yard.
It’s one of my all-time favorite songs, so a must-have…