Jessica Mauboy has been in the spotlight since she was 16 years old, releasing hit after hit after coming second place on Australian Idol and taking the country by storm, but now she’s ready for the world to see a brand new side to her.
Speaking candidly with Yahoo Lifestyle, the Australian pop icon opens up “taking charge” in her latest musical era, and how her brand new single, Glow, is “something that's so completely different” to anything she’s ever done before.
“This rebirth is really being a part of a change and a growth,” she says. “Feeling reborn, feeling like you're just so instinctively in tune with who you are and know what you want and taking charge, and I guess basically just exploring.”
Not only is Glow Jessica’s first time delving into a brand new genre - a feel-good “disco vibe” that she says draws inspiration from nostalgic artists including Prince, Donna Summers and Cher - but it’s also her first release under her new record label, Warner Music Australia, after spending 14 years with Sony.
“For the last 15 years I've been working with the same team, and not that that's a bad thing, but I think at one point it just clicked that I needed to switch it up and change my vibe,” she admits.
Aside from her musical pivot, The Voice coach reveals that she also felt a major shift within her personal life.
“I was really honing down on, what do I want to do next? Do I want to take a break, do I want to continue music, do I want to spend the next few months with my family?” she reflects.
“So there were a lot of things to consider and it took me a while and a bit of a whirlwind to get a bit of understanding… This feels very much just like a whole new wave of something new.”
Heading into this new chapter of her career, one that allows her to dare and “feel a little bit naughty”, Jessica confesses that she wasn’t always sure of how to execute such a huge change.
“At the beginning, it was challenging because I kind of fought the fact that I was comfortable and that I was okay, but really I think in the back of my mind, I just wanted more. And I didn't know what the more was,” she says.
“But when I kind of got into exploring what that was, I think it was the way that I wanted to bring a songwriting session together, for instance, or the specific people that I wanted to work with.
“Because you’ve got to think, when I came into the music industry, I automatically gained management, a record label and everything was all sorted. Everything was kind of manufactured.”
‘There was a lot of fear’
The Little Things hitmaker says that unlike the beginning of her musical career where things were “always changing” and “going really fast”, she now plans on grounding herself more and taking things slow.
"When you’re young you literally hop on everything, you jump on the bandwagon and any opportunity because it's the prime time,” she details.
“So for me, I just wanted to do it differently and sit with it for some time before I gave it to anyone so I could kind of say yep, this is the new home and this is how it's going to be.
“It took some time to really do that and there was a lot of fear, everyone fears change. When you're so comfortable you're like, ‘I’ll just do it’ or 'I'll just stay’. But for me, I knew that I had a lot of magic to give and I just made the decision to do it and to jump and explore, and Glow literally came to life.”
‘I went really, really deep’
While a new album hasn’t been locked in quite yet, with Jessica wanting to be “spontaneous” and release music simply when she feels like it, the songs that she has written so far explore a variety of themes.
“It’s very feminist, but it also kind of speaks of a lot of things that I got to experience in my childhood,” she describes. “Not all good things. Some were kind of like, woah, whether it’s domestic violence or alcohol or coming from a small community.
“There was just so much that I kind of almost left behind and I feel like this new record really stems from that DNA of me, what I’d experienced even before I stepped in the music scene, so it's almost kind of a bit of a full circle, which is really nice.
“I went really, really deep with this next level of music to the point where it's totally, I think visually too, a whole other step up… This is the way I’ve always dreamed of doing things.”
Stream Jessica Mauboy’s new single, Glow, on all streaming platforms here.
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