Jessi Malay has been singing long before she became one of your favorite style icons. Creating her own sound of R&B mixed perfectly with Pop, Jessi has broken a barrier that many have yet to learn how to master. Preparing for the release of her upcoming EP and the continuing to work on her continuously growing site, ‘MyWhiteT,’ it is only right that Jessi sat down with The Source to give us the inside scoop on what is to come! We are beyond excited to hear her new EP!
Check out the video for Jessi’s track, “Do Not Disturb,” below and make sure to read her interview after the jump!
How did you transition from music to fashion?
Jessi: My transition from music to fashion came naturally because over the past couple of years as an independent artist, I’ve been styling myself for every music video shoot, photo shoot and appearance. I actually got really sick of everyone telling me that as an artist I needed to have a more extreme aesthetic and style a la Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj or Katy Perry and that’s just not me. I decided to create my own fashion blog to show what I think style should look like and so that I could freely play around with my own. Now people are approaching me for styling.
Where did the concept of your website, ‘MyWhiteT,’ come about?
Jessi: I decided to name my blog ‘mywhiteT’ because I never feel better or sexier than when I’m wearing a simple white tee. It has incredible versatility, whether paired with jeans, a long skirt, or mini. It looks great on guys and girls, has been here since the beginning and will be here until the end. It’s just classic. That’s what I want to represent.
What inspires you in the fashion world?
Jessi: I look at fashion as another means of expression. To me, it really is the most simple and direct way of being able to express yourself on a daily basis. I admire girls that can style up unexpected combinations of patterns/textures/fits and aren’t afraid of being a bit unconventional.
Your site has grown so much & you have such a large fan base now, how do you feel about the reception you are receiving to your site?
Jessi: I think it’s incredible and unexpected. When I first started the blog, it was almost more of a personal style log, and I’m so flattered that people are really taking to my style and even emulating it! That is the greatest form of flattery. I love to bring a little drama and glamor to everyday life through my looks and I think that’s what girls are really connecting with…everyone wants to feel special and you can accomplish that through fashion, on any budget.
How did it feel to have your makeup tutorial featured on OK! magazine?
Jessi: My good friend and glam artist Nia Hicks and I started doing these little beauty blog tutorials as fun side projects for my blog. We would experiment with different looks for special occasions and then decided we should do a tutorial about how to achieve the perfect skin because whether you’re a makeup girl or not, that’s something that everyone wants. OK! Magazine loved it so much that they decided to pick it up and of course we were ecstatic!
Tell me about the type of music you are currently working on: the feel, the inspiration, the concept, the sound, etc.
Jessi: I’m a pop/dance artist with lots of R&B influence. I also grew up on everything from Hip-Hop to Samba so you’ll hear some of those influences in my sound and the beats.
I’m a hopeless romantic and truly believe that a life without love is not worth living, so on this upcoming EP, I talk a lot about love and every aspect of it. The first five songs are unreleased tracks and tell a little story. The first song, ‘Give Me Life,’ is about finding inspiration within another and captures the feeling of that moment when you first meet someone special that you know is going to change your life forever. ‘Beg’ is about what happens after you meet that special someone… you have to make him put in work to get it! On ‘Fetish’ and ‘Do Not Disturb,’ it’s ON…now we’re having fun. The final track of the love story is one of my favorite songs, ‘Thing About Love,’ which is about love that was lost and how hard it is to be in love with someone you know you just can’t be with. We are in the process of shooting the music videos of this love story now so you’ll be able to experience it as a series.
The rest of the tracks on the EP consist of songs I’ve released over the past year, ‘Bougie,’ all about my passion for fashion, ‘Last Night On Earth,’ which was a fun party track I released for New Year’s Eve, and ‘Here I Am’ which is an anthem for all those who refuse to give up on what they know they’re meant to do in life.
How has your music grown since when you first came into the industry?
Jessi: For the first time in my music career I feel that I am making the music that I really want to make, and it feels amazing. Rather than just having tracks submitted to me through the label to record (I was previously signed to Jive as a young teen with a girl group and then solo on Warner) I am co-producing and co-writing the music from scratch with production team BPM (producer Brian “Deep” Watters, writer Mika Lett, and writer and vocal producer Phillip “Whitey” Bianco), so all of the sounds, concepts, melodies, are exactly what I want them to be. That isn’t something I could say for myself or my music before. I’ve grown and experienced a lot more than I had at 18 years old, so conceptually the story lines and messages are a lot richer and come from a much more personal place.
What inspires you to continue singing?
Jessi: Music is actually my first passion in life! I started singing and dancing as a kid, would wake up in the morning, throw on Michael Jackson, Mariah, or Madonna, put on this little white spandex and lace crop and mini set (so not appropriate for a 4 year old) and perform for my stuffed animals for hours. I was always involved in performing groups, was signed to Jive Records as a young teen in a girl group called No Secrets, then solo for a few years on Warner Bros. Records before making the decision to go back to UCLA to finish school. Over the past year, I’ve really dedicated myself to my music and performing again and couldn’t be more excited to finally be releasing a body of music. It’s a dream incomplete and I’m not planning on stopping until it is reached…it’s not really a choice I have…something within me can’t let it go.
Are you currently working on an album? If so, tell us a bit about it.
Jessi: As I mentioned earlier, I’m getting ready to release my 9 track EP at the end of the month and couldn’t be more excited about it! It’s always been a dream of mine to put out a body of music that is my own, and although I’ve been in the music industry for so long, I’ve never been able to. I was always completely dependent on my record labels before, and was always so hesitant about trying to release music independently, but I believe the music I’ve made over the past year with my team is too good not to. After the release of this EP, I already have half of the songs ready for an album I’d love to release later this year.
Who do you look up to in the music industry?
Jessi: I’ve always been really inspired by powerful, female divas that can sing and dance, and do it with conviction! Madonna, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, these are all women I really look up to who I think have not only mastered their craft, but have some intangible thing that makes them untouchable, icons, yet at the same time human enough to let you see through to who they really are through their music and performance.
I also really love all the new wave R&B from The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Miguel, Pharell, and Jhene Aiko. For The Weeknd and Frank Ocean especially, I like how raw, real, and uncensored they are through their music which may not have been able to happen through the label system.
What do you want your fans to get from your music?
Jessi: What I love most about music is that it can take you back to an exact time and place in your life and make you live it all over again. I want people to be able to relate, to live the experiences I’m talking about or to relive them through my music. I want them to have fun times and make memories to my music. I want to have those songs that people fell in love to or had the time of their lives to…I want to be there for that.