As US pop sensation, Jessica Clemmons, releases her second album on 11 June, preceded by the single ‘More Than Friends’, on 4 June, she reveals that her dogged determination is the rock-solid foundation of her professional success. Gifted with a unique songwriting talent and soulful voice, Jessica’s career has been a rollercoaster of knock-backs and sharp learning curves.
But when greeted with Simon Cowell compliments, stargazing predictions from Paula Abdul and blatant encouragement from Beyonce, this American songstress knew that a lifetime of blatant ignorance of her critics had all been worthwhile.
Jessica’s debut album ‘Permanent’, released last year, introduced a quality pop vocalist akin to the likes of Jocelyn Brown and Chaka Khan. But Jessica’s new album progresses this artist further, revealing a ‘bang-on-trend’ sound that’s currently being adopted by the likes of Beyonce. Reinvigorating the vibrant, up-tempo sound of mid-80s pop/soul, Jessica’s album has a strong resemblance to the likes of Vanessa Williams, Karen White and Shanice.
Mixed, mastered and produced by an impressive collaboration of top names including mixing by Larry Sturm (Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake) and mixing and mastering by Roxy Harris (Shakira, Alexandra Burke, Sugababes), the album boasts the absolute best that the industry has to offer.
The standard album will contain x10 tracks, x6 of which are original Clemmons musical creations including the first to be a single, ‘More Than Friends’ which delivers a catchy melody and looping hooks. Other tracks include ‘In A Box’, which is a stomping up-tempo number, the mood-raising, ‘Lifted’, plus surprise offerings such as the punchy ‘Beautiful’ which rolls Jessica’s soul vocal into a rock/pop production, and the strong proclaiming vocals exposed in ‘Ready To Fall’.
Each track as diverse in sound as the next, but brought together they present an outstanding showcase of Jessica’s incredible talent.
A limited-edition deluxe version will also be released, carrying a further x3 tracks including the raunchy, floor-pounding, ‘Show Me Off’, plus ‘Tonight’ and ‘Sometimes It’s Too Late’.
This bonus package is an absolute must-have for anyone looking for a fresh slice of great quality contemporary pop/soul.
And this outstanding offering comes from a girl who’s talent was always knocked and quashed in her early years, by those who thought that a girl carrying a few pounds more weight than the average size zero pop star simply couldn’t crack it in show business. Boy, were they wrong...
"Wow girl you can really sing, you’re gonna be a star some day" the acclaim from Beyonce, following an audience stomping performance at a US rodeo, was enough to confirm to the talented Jessica Clemmons that she had what it takes to crack it on a global scale.
Until that point, Jessica, who had always been made to feel insecure due to her weight, with critical envious doubters constantly trying to knock her back. As Jessica sadly recollects:
"I was held back from singing solo in the high school choir simply because the teacher forbade me from it, even though hoards of people were petitioning for me to have the part. People have always judged me because of my weight.
"Somebody once told me that putting on make-up wouldn’t help - I was fat and nothing would hide that. I’ve had challenges in my life that have tried to halt my passion. For a weaker person they’d have crumbled, but that just made me more determined".
American Idol was Jessica’s first major step towards international stardom. Although she didn’t make it all the way on the show, the encouragement that she gleaned from the experience was enough to make her realise that she really did have glittering prospects ahead of her.
Teetering on the brink of bringing her through to the live shows, Simon Cowell only decided against this due to her nerves, whilst Paula Abdul oozed positivity, "We’ll see your name in lights one day", Paula predicted.
Boosted by this experience, Jessica stepped straight out of the American Idol studio and instantly went on to become a huge hit in her local town, singing the National Anthem for her local hockey team, the Houston Aeros.
She’s also a legend amongst the gay community and she paid homage to them in 2010 when she did a national tour of al the gay clubs with her single ‘Relentless’ which went to No4 in the UK pop dance chart. Her popularity culminated in her sitting on the judging panel of the gay X Factor called, ‘Queer As Talent’ in the UK.
Add to this a 22 date tour of the UK alongside soul legends, The Stylistics, still fresh in her memory, and you begin to thank God for the steely ambitious determination that saved this incredible talent from giving-up on what is obviously an undeniable vocation to sing.
"You learn real quick that this industry is one hurdle after another and the key is to stick with it because eventually something’s going to happen".
Wiser words have never been spoken. With her life-long critics now queuing behind the celebrities to shower this artist with the highest praise, Jessica retains a dignified composure and an even stronger awareness of her own self belief in her outstanding talent.
Determined, resolute and unfalteringly single-minded - this pop/soul sensation is here to stay!
The single, ‘More Than Friends’, is released on 4 June
The new album is released on 11 June.