JessB on new sounds, New Views and old friends

It's been a bit of a big year for JessB. 

The Auckland-based hip-hop artist has just dropped her second EP New Views, which is already gaining attention. The name reflects the content: slower, more personal tracks and new collaborations are paired with the bassy dance numbers we heard from last year's Bloom EP. 

It comes from some more personal life events she says have happened since beginning work on the album. 

"It's definitely a vulnerable place to put myself in because I'm usually doing more up-tempo party music so it was a challenge to put myself out there," she says. 

"[But] I'm a multifaceted human - funnily enough, I'm not happy all the time!"

JessB
Photo credit: Supplied.

The new EP includes collaborations from fellow Aucklanders, including fellow Red Bull 64 Bars artist Church Leon, of Auckland duo Church & AP. 

But rather than the 'my people talk to your people', agent negotiation schtick we normally see with artists, working with up-and-coming songstress Paige on the song 'So Low' couldn't be more Kiwi. 

"They're all my friends first and foremost...Paige was a friend of mine long before we made the track together. Her older sister was actually my netball physio."

Similarly, her collaboration with UK artist Big Zeeks came about over an Instagram DM.

It's all very grassroots, for a woman who just came back from her first festival - Australia's Splendour in the Grass. 

"Splendour in the Grass was amazing but it was a huge show and a really big crowd I felt really, really nervous about it… I felt like it was my first introduction to over there so I felt like I had to nail it."

Back here in NZ, JessB is about to embark on her first headline tour around the country, something she says is "pretty special". 

"I want to create an ambience; a space to make people want to dance, and feel safe and inclusive as well, I really hope that people like it."

For me, the highlight of the new album comes from the video for 'So Low', filmed in an indoor swimming pool many of us will recognise from the days of school swimming sports. In it, JessB gets to fulfil a lifelong fantasy of mine - diving into a pool in a ball dress.

Was that the only reason she chose the setting?

"We definitely wanted to make it dramatic," she says, laughing. "I think a huge dress falling into the water was definitely dramatic...it was an experience." 

I can only dream. 

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