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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Jessi Malay – R&B’s Newest Heartbreaker
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

At the ripe old age of 19 Glendale, California native Jessi Malay already has a resume most artists would love to call their own. She’s performed all around the world, including being a part of a pre-Olympic show in Australia in 2000, she was part of a girl group that was signed to Jive called No Secret, and now she’s set to release her solo debut on Warner Brothers this summer. This week I caught up with Jessi to talk about her music, as well as a certain video she stars in that’s been circulating around the net, and why Cassie may need to watch herself.

Adam Bernard: Before we get to everything else, tell the people why Jessi Malay is an artist people need to keep an ear out for?
Jessi Malay: Why? Because musically my stuff, just like a lot of the other girls that are out right now, it’s gonna want to make you dance, it’s gonna have club banger stuff, but it’s lyrically conceptually bolder. I talk about things like girls’ time of the month and how deal with it.

Adam Bernard: Well nothing makes me want to dance more than that.
Jessi Malay: (laughs) No, but that’s what I’m saying, you don’t even realize it, there’s a really good balance. I do it in a subtle, sexy, classy way, but I talk about real stuff.

Adam Bernard: Was there a specific moment in your life when you knew you had to be a singer?
Jessi Malay: There have been a couple different points. One was when I saw Janet Jackson’s “If” video. I was like I need to be that because she’s so sexy and sensual but so in control.

Adam Bernard: Yeah, that’s a crazy video, guys are coming down on hooks.
Jessi Malay: Yeah, exactly! That video inspired me so much. And I’ve just kind of always known because I’ve always been on stage from the time I was two and a half and it’s just comfortable for me, it’s where I feel the most alive, it’s where I feel the most comfortable. I just have that feeling of belonging when I’m on stage.

Adam Bernard: To with your music you're also gorgeous. What's your ethnic background?
Jessi Malay: Oh, thank you. I’m a big huge mutt. My mom is Pilipino and Spanish and my dad is white and you know what I don’t know exactly where from originally but he’s American. I guess if you wanted to date it way back he’s Russian and Czechoslovakian. And I’ve got a little Brazilian in there, too.

Adam Bernard: How big a role has your background in your life?
Jessi Malay: A huge role, and I love it. I love being so multiethnic because I never feel like I have to conform one way of being or one group, I kinda feel like I can belong everywhere, or I can relate to everybody on some level, and I love that about being so multiethnic. It’s played a big role because I’ve grown up with both sides equally.

Adam Bernard: Your family reunions must look like United Nations meetings.
Jessi Malay: They really do. Between the friends we invite and my family we literally have every race possible in this house. It’s awesome. I love it.

Adam Bernard: Recently you released a video, and I'm not talking about a music video, I'm talking about the Martha Stewart / Rachel Ray-esqe Jessi Malay bakes cookies video. After seeing this do you think more artists will go from working their ass and thighs to working some cakes and pies?
Jessi Malay: Oh my goodness! You saw that? (laughs) You know what, I hope so. I think more artists need to relax and just eat a cookie.

Adam Bernard: Why did you make that video and put it on the web?
Jessi Malay: I think it shows my personal side. It shows who I am in real life and not just as this super sexy controlling whatever, which I portray in my music. I’m a really normal girl in real life and I want people to see that.

Adam Bernard: I have a hard time believing you're chowing down on cookies in your spare time.
Jessi Malay: Well believe it. I have the worst sweet tooth I know of. It’s my Achilles heel. But I work out and I dance. And I’m learning the whole more protein and greens, no carbs and sugars, and incorporating it into my lifestyle.

Adam Bernard: So you can cook, you can sing and you're not exactly hard on the eyes. With you being a triple threat, what kind of triple threat are you looking for in a guy?
Jessi Malay: My number one criteria is just to be humble. I can’t stand cocky guys. There’s a difference between confidence and cockiness and confidence is the second requirement. There’s that fine line between confidence and cockiness and guys have a hard time falling in that line and when I find a guy like that I’m on it. And self-motivation, that’s the third thing.

Adam Bernard: You said when you find that, so has there been any luck finding that yet?
Jessi Malay: I’m dating.

Adam Bernard: How long into a relationship do you have to be before you're baking for your man?
Jessi Malay: Not too soon because that can scare off guys, too. Then they get too close and they can think you want something serious. Baking can kinda get serious.

Adam Bernard: So when it’s real real serious it’s baking time.
Jessi Malay: It’s baking time. Baking’s kinda like the year in. That’s like showing your domestic side and you don’t wanna do that unless you’re thinking that way.

Adam Bernard: Let’s talk personal style for a second. What kind of clothes are you rockin around the house versus what you wear when you go out?
Jessi Malay: During the day you’re going to always catch me in gym clothes because I’m either working out or dancing. Daytime wear is gym clothes. I love a lot of those spandex stretchy pants because they’re so comfortable and they look good. Night time I love dressing up, too. I don’t wear a lot of dresses when I go out because I think really short dresses can look sleazy sometimes to guys. So I love a really good pair of jeans with high heels. I like a lot of the stuff like that because then I can dance, too.

Adam Bernard: You’re in Show Biz and the tabloids are there. I want to know if you were to be wrongly connected with a guy in the tabloids who would you like it to be and why?
Jessi Malay: (laughs) I wouldn’t mind being with Justin Timberlake, especially after seeing him perform live earlier this month. I think he is pretty damned cute. I was in the fourth row, which was actually better than the first three rows because the first three rows were below stage level. I was right on stage level. I could touch him basically. Oh my goodness.

Adam Bernard: Finally, are you gonna kick Cassie’s ass in a steel cage match, or something?
Jessi Malay: OH! Nobody’s asked me that! I’ve avoided that question through all these interviews and you had to bring it up. I don’t want to say anything, but yes I am. Yes I am and that’s because I can perform.

For more Jessi Malay, including her debut single, “Gimme” (feat. Lil’ Scrappy), check out jessimalay.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 8:06 AM  
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