Biography of Jessie J

British Pop Star

Jessie J
Photo by Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Jessie J (born Jessica Cornish; March 27, 1988) blasted to the top of the Britsh charts in 2011 with the singles "Do It Like a Dude" and "Price Tag." Her success soon crossed the Atlantic. She scored her biggest hit in 2014 with "Bang Bang," a collaboration with Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande. That year, Jessie J relocated to the U.S., and in 2018 she won a TV talent show in China opening her music to an entirely new market.

Early Life

Born and raised in London, England, Jessica Cornish was cast in Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of Whistle Down the Wind at age 11. She joined the National Youth Music Theatre and appeared in their production of The Late Sleepers in 2002. At age 15, in 2003, Jessica competed on the British TV show Britain's Brilliant Prodigies. She won the title "Best Pop Singer." Cornish wrote her first song, "Big White Room," at age 17. It was about being hospitalized at age 11 and sharing a room with a younger boy who eventually died. She signed a contract with the label Gut Records in 2006 and toured with a number of high profile pop, soul, and hip-hop artists. However, Gut Records closed their doors before releasing any of Jessica's music. Late in her teen years, she adopted the stage name Jessie J. In interviews, she has said the "J" has no particular name significance.

Succes as a Songwriter

After suffering a minor stroke at age 18, Jessie J signed a publishing contract with Sony ATV, and she set about to gain songwriting success.

She worked writing music for Chris Brown and others. Then the opportunity came to co-write the song "Party In the USA." Miley Cyrus recorded the song and it hit #2 in the US giving Jessie J a significant break in the pop music business. In 2008, Jessie J was an opening act for Cyndi Lauper's U.K. concert tour.

Jessie joined Lauper onstage to perform the latter's signature song "Girls Just Want to Have Fun."

Breakthrough Pop Star

Following the songwriting success, Jessie J signed a worldwide recording contract with the Universal Music Group. Her first single "Do It Like a Dude," a song originally intended for Rihanna, was released in November 2010 in the U.K.. It promptly hit #2 on the U.K. pop singles chart. At the end of the year Jessie J topped the BBC's Sound of 2011 list, and then it was announced that she would receive the Brit Awards Critics' Choice honor. A second single "Price Tag," with a featured rap from B.o.B. and produced by Dr. Luke, appeared in January 2011. It debuted at #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart and became Jessie's J first release to break into the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

Jessie J's debut album Who You Are took nearly six years in total to complete and finally hit stores in the U.K. at the end of February 2011 and in the U.S. in April. It reached #2 on the UK chart and #11 in the US. In August, Jessie J released the single "Domino." It became her biggest hit yet in the U.S. peaking at #6 and was her second #1 hit in the U.K.

Jessie J performed a duet with will.i.am at the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II in June 2012.

She was also a performer at the 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremonies in London in August 2012. Jessie J served as a coach on the U.K. version of hit TV series The Voice in 2012 and 2013.

Jessie J recorded her second studio album Alive over a 12-month period between June 2012 and May 2013. The album's first single "Wild" was released in May 2013 in the U.K. It included featured vocals from both Big Sean and Dizzee Rascal. The single peaked at #5 in the U.K. but failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. The next single "It's My Party" was a direct response to haters and released in the U.K. in September along with the album Alive. Both the single and the album peaked at #3. However, Jessie J's album was not released in the U.S. after her label decided it was not a good match for the American market.

When Alive was scrapped for the American market, Jessie J set to work on her third solo album Sweet Talker. The first single from the album was the superstar collaboration with Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj on "Bang Bang" released in July 2014. Peaking at #3, it was her biggest hit yet in the U.S. Consequently, Sweet Talker became Jessie J's first top 10 charting album in the U.S. and her third consecutive album to reach the top 5 in the U.K. Unfortunately, her follow up singles "Burnin' Up" and "Masterpiece" were not successful. Neither reached the top 40 in either the U.S. or U.K.

Jessie J returned to the top 20 on the U.K. pop singles chart in 2015 with the song "Flashlight" from the soundtrack to the hit movie Pitch Perfect 2. The song was co-written by Sia and Sam Smith. In the fall of 2017, Jessie J released the single "Think About That" as the first song from her upcoming album R.O.S.E. It failed to chart.

In an unexpected twist to her career, Jessie J became the first non-Asian contestant on China's hit music competition TV show Singer in its sixth season in 2018. She won the season and received extensive exposure to a new music market of approximately one billion people.

Personal Life

Jessie J was praised early in her career for being open about her bisexuality. She said that she never denied it and openly discussed dating both men and women. However, in 2014, she renounced bisexuality stating that it was just a "phase." She emphatically stated that it was not a phase for everyone, but some critics believed her statements sent the wrong message to gay and bisexual youth.

Later in 2014, Jessie J moved from the U.K. to Los Angeles, California. She complained about the focus on her personal life in the U.K. and said that Americans saw her, "as a singer." In November 2014, she announced that she was dating American R&B singer Luke James.

Fast Facts

Full Name: Jessie J 

Given Name: Jessica Cornish

Occupation: Singer and songwriter

Born: March 27, 1988 in London, England, U.K.

Memorable Songs: "Do It Like a Dude," (2010) "Price Tag," (2011) " Domino," (2011) "Bang Bang" (2014)

Key Accomplishments: 

  • Grammy Award Nomination, Best Pop Duo / Group Performance for "Bang Bang" (2015)

Famous quote: 

  • "I think confidence is the sexiest thing to have."