Jessie J may have co-penned the Miley Cyrus hit “Party in the USA,” but don’t hold it against her. The 22-year-old British songwriter, born Jessica Elle Cornish in Essex, England, epitomizes the total pop-star package, down to the seven-inch heels she wears to amplify an already statuesque five-foot-nine-inch frame. “I like stripper shoes,” she says. “I like being tall because I’m claustrophobic.” As a teen, Jessie studied at the BRIT School, which produced the likes of Adele and Leona Lewis. But when an early record deal fizzled she turned to songwriting, and eventually her contributions to hits for Cyrus and Chris Brown put her back into the music industry’s sights. “I’m glad I’ve had to struggle,” she confesses. “It’s made me the artist I am now.” That artist possesses a personality that matches the ambitious charisma of Britney Spears with a passionate, sassy voice big enough to strike fear into Amy Winehouse. Her first U.S. single, “Price Tag,” which appears on her album Who You Are (Lava/Universal Republic), out this month, is a hook-filled, radio smart-bomb that’s pushed further by a verse from the hit-making rapper B.o.B. But Jessie’s songs remain edgy in spite of themselves—human, unpredictable, and soulful, like her breakthrough U.K. chart-topper “Do It Like A Dude,” which fuses heavy club beats with sly, post-feminist wish fulfillment. “I’ve been surrounded by male egos my whole career and sometimes just wanna go, ‘Oh, fuck off,’ ” she says. “I’m going to make sure that each song is more than just ‘I’m in the club, shaking my booty.’ ” That doesn’t mean she’s not trying to grab your attention. “I knew ‘Do It Like A Dude’ had to be controversial,” she explains. “I’m an artist, but I’m also a businesswoman, and sometimes you have to play hard.”
Photos: Jessie J in New York, January 2011. Dress: Dolce & Gabbana. Earrings: Stylist’s
Own. Cosmetics: M.A.C, including Eye Kohl in Feline. Styling: Sarah Ellison/Streeters. Hair: Rita Marmor/Streeters. Makeup: Karan Franjola/Marek & Associates. Manicure: Lena Naomi for www.Deborahlippmann.Com. Special Thanks: Fast Ashleys.