|The boom boom makes my heart go zoom zoom|
Pop music thrives on provocateurs.
Female superstars shake things up. They come armed with sex appeal. They deliver a degree of danger. They boast charm and charisma. They challenge the status quo. They seduce audiences. No matter how much this world changes, it still belongs to the divas, and there is always room for a daring, dazzling, and diverse songstress. Enter Jessie and The Toy Boys.
On her Prospect Park full-length debut, This is How Rumors Start [Available early 2012], front woman Jessie Malakouti hypnotizes with raw honesty. The Los Angeles chanteuse sharpens up her provocative pop with edges of punk rock spirit and electronic glitter. Whether she's writing a song, carrying a hook, or dancing flawlessly, Jessie exudes a kinetic energy that's simultaneously infectious and invigorating. That uncontainable spark can light up a club or an arena. With This is How Rumors Start, Jessie and The Toy Boys have already got everyone talking.
There's quite a lot to talk about too. In 2008, Jessie hopped a plane across the pond to live and work at the famous United Kingdom hit factory, Xenomania. She spent two years living in Alice in Wonderland inspiration Alice Liddell's castle honing her songwriting chops before realizing that the proper pop posturing of the program simply wasn't for her. She wanted to break the mold and exist on the fringe rather than adhere to any rules. After two years in the UK, she ended up back in Los Angeles, but doors began to serendipitously open. Coming into the Prospect Park family, she immediately embraced her newfound creative freedom, and Jessie and The Toy Boys were officially born.
"Being alone in the UK, I really got to know myself," Jessie reveals. "As a result, I discovered all these different facets of who I am. The Toy Boys are like different sides of my personality. Some are badass, while others are very vulnerable. Each part comes through in the music."
You can hear every voice loud and clear on songs like the first single, "Push It" [Featuring YelaWolf]. Produced by Jimmy Harry and Tony Kanal [No Doubt], "Push It" rolls from a sexy, slick bass line into a remarkable and risqué refrain. Heating everything up to a boiling point, Jessie bounces from flirty to fiery as YelaWolf drops a raucous rhyme.
"It's one layer of my sound," she says of the track. "Everything has a major dance thread, but the attitude will always be there. I wanted to speak my mind and use the music as an outlet. There are stories and life experiences in these songs. It's only the tip of the iceberg though."
"Push It" was the world's proper introduction to Jessie and The Toy Boys. Initially available on the 2011 digital EP, Show Me Your Tan Lines, the track immediately turned heads. She performed "Push It" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and her profile continued to rise with features in Life & Style, Rolling Stone, US Weekly, Music Connection, and numerous other tastemaker outlets. Simultaneously, Jessie was rocking stages nightly on the Femme Fatale tour supporting Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj and then the first-ever Identity Festival alongside some of the biggest names in electronic music including Kaskade and Skrillex.
This vibrant vixen writes all of her own material, plays the piano, and architects the aesthetic and presentation of The Toy Boys. She adds, "The visual content mirrors the music. Everything goes hand-in-hand, and you can really see it live."
Elsewhere on This Is How Rumors Start, Jessie isn't afraid to bare it all. "Ghost" yearns to rekindle a fading relationship over airy synths and bombastic beats, while "Flashback" slinks from coy cooing to an elegantly entrancing hook. Jessie goes on, "The song is really special because it gets very honest in the bridge. What's the point if you're not making music that will make people feel something?"
For Jessie, the record's title sums everything up. "The themes of the album—sex, war, betrayal, and love—probe people to ask a lot of questions," she declares. "This album is the accumulation of seven years of songwriting. In that amount of time, I've gone through so much and there have been so many people in and out of my life. I'm having fun with it since I know everyone's going to wonder who I'm talking about and start their own rumors. I'm putting everything out there, but I'm not at the same time."
That's why she's so enigmatic. Nothing that she does is simply superficial or immediately clear. There's a tale behind every track, and there's a mystery at the center of it. Rather than follow a template, she rebuilds the machine entirely. However, Jessie still has one important goal.
"I want people to connect in whatever way is possible," she concludes. "Like going to the movies, music is a way to escape. I hope everyone can listen to the album and feel like they're escaping for a while." — Rick Florino, September 2011