Dark pop songbird Jessica Foxx joins us on a warm day at Kreation Organic Juicery in Studio City, CA to discuss her goal to instill empowerment in her single “Never Meant To Be,” her belief of ‘quality over quantity,’ and the pressures that women face in the entertainment industry.
You’re riding the highs of your latest single, “Never Meant To Be.” Wanted to say congratulations! It’s awesome!
Jessica Foxx: Thank you!
Also wanted to ask if you would you like to share with us a little bit about the story behind the lyrics as well as the instrumental elements that you choose to include?
Jessica: Totally. So “Never Meant To Be” is actually meant to be an empowering heartbreak song. When I was going through the heartbreak that I’m describing in the song, I didn’t want the guy to be in control of my happiness. With the instrumentation, it’s in A-minor, so it still has that melancholy heartbreak-y kind of sound, but the lyrics layered on top of it are meant to be empowering overall.
We need more breakup songs like that! Everyone already loves them, but it makes it that much more awesome when there’s a strong message focused on in the lyrics.
Jessica: And that’s exactly what I was going for with this song. I wanted the whole idea to be based on the fact that you don’t need a man to validate you.
Yeah! And how was the recording process for “Never Meant To Be” similar or different than that of your past singles that you’ve put out?
Jessica: So this one was actually really different because my producer, Dan Ford (AKA Dr. Ford), moved to Nashville, so we were kind of doing this almost like bi-coastal thing where we were calling each other back and forth throughout the whole thing. I recorded in L.A. with Jon Rook, and then he sent the session over to Dan, and then Dan and I would be working with it on the phone and go back and forth with our comments. Like, he would send me the mix and I would send him my thoughts kind of thing. I was really involved in the production process since I co-produced the song, but it was different and difficult to do over the phone because I was used to being in the studio with him.
I mean, I feel like anything long-distance is a bit of a challenge.
Jessica: Yeah, was hard. But the important thing is that we got through it!
Yeah! And you ended up getting a great product out of it. The perseverance worked!
Jessica: Yeah definitely!
So if you had an unlimited budget to do a music video right now at this very moment in time, what kind of concept would you choose to do for the song?
Jessica: So I’ve always wanted to rent out the Madonna Inn. I absolutely love that location! It’s just very beautiful and seductive and dark, which is very on the same aesthetic for me. *laughs* I would probably want to hire a bunch of dancers, kind of like in the older music videos like “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera or “Slave 4 U” by Britney Spears. I love those kinds of music videos where there’s a lot of choreography involved. I want to bring those kinds of crazy music videos back into the scene.
Yes! I love it! I feel like we’ve been kind of lacking in that kind of style though.
Jessica: Me too. I think that boldness is what the music industry is missing.
In regards to the way that modern music listening has been focused on the streaming aspect as well as shorter releases like singles and EPs, do you feel like modern consumers are looking for that nowadays? Do you think it would ever change?
Jessica: I think it’s kind of better for artists like myself to be able to keep the hype up and get people excited for new releases as opposed to releasing an album when people don’t really know who you are. I feel like singles and EPs help build up excitement, but I do feel that people still really want albums. I think it’s a little bit of both, but it will just really depend on the kind of artist you’re looking to be.
And I totally agree with you. It feels like when you’re starting up they’re a little easier to work with budget wise.
Jessica: Yeah, they’re extremely budget friendly.
And you can still get a lot of content out of it!
So as a female singer-songwriter, do you feel that women in the music industry need to portray themselves in certain ways in order to have a successful career?
Jessica: I do feel that way, but I actually think it’s more of an ageism thing against women in the music industry. For example, Lady Gaga just had her birthday and there were so many comments about her age online. She’s in her early thirties, that’s not that old, but there were actually people that were like, ‘Oh my God, she’s so old! Her career is going to be over!’ I really don’t think that’s cool and I would like to see that change in the music industry. An artist that I also really look up to is Allie X, who is also in her early thirties, and she’s just getting into her music career. So yeah, I really would like to see this war on age for female artists change because I do feel like it cause a lot of pressure to be a certain way.
Yeah. I definitely agree with ageism being a recurring problem when it comes to female artists. You hear it all the time just from tabloids and entertainment publications being like, ‘Look! She’s still got it!’ kind of thing. And like you said with Lady Gaga, thirty is not that old!
Jessica: It’s really not!
It just sucks that the entertainment industry puts in so much time and effort into noticing something small like one’s age.
Jessica: And they can get really mean about it too. It’s just awful.
Right. People will be like, ‘Ugh, she need botox!’ when in reality she looks great.
Jessica: I know! I feel like we need to allow women to age gracefully and not have such high expectations from men.
And not try to photoshop us.
Jessica: Exactly! We look perfectly fine the way we are naturally!
Absolutely! So for better or worse, social media has pretty much taken over as the main form of marketing. Do you feel like social media marketing has helped to create more opportunities for independent artists?
Jessica: I think in some senses it does. When it comes to Instagram in particular, I feel like it’s a little more stifling when it comes to being an artist or having a small business. I noticed that once I switched my profile from a personal profile to a business profile that my growth had really plateaued, but I think it will just really depend on what you’re trying to do with your account.
But that’s really interesting to hear though. I would have never thought that there would be that big of a difference with switching. It’s so crazy how much the algorithms don’t make sense sometimes.
Jessica: It was definitely an eye-opener. I listen to a lot of podcasts that specifically talk about growing your influence, and a lot of them actually recommended to not switch to a business profile because it can slow your growth down. Unfortunately, they all expect you to pay money in order to get in front of a bigger audience. I think it can help when you’re at a certain level, but if you’re still in the growing process then I think it could make it harder.
That’s so cool that you listen to those business focused podcasts though!
Jessica: Oh I just love them! I listen to them every morning when I’m getting ready. *laughs*
Do you feel that social media puts a pressure on artists to constantly have something going on or something to promote, like new music or music videos or touring?
Jessica: I definitely feel that way, and it sucks, because I’m more of a quality over quantity kind of person. I’m not releasing consistently because I’m trying to work behind the scenes in order to put out my best work. So yeah, I do feel that there’s a pressure to put out stuff because it’s so easy for people forget about you if you’re not doing it consistently enough.
Do you think it’s because the consumers nowadays kind of have a lack of attention span?
Jessica: Definitely, but I also feel like it’s because everyone is so used to having everything so instantly. Like, if something took three seconds, or even five seconds, to load up on your screen you would be like, ‘What is happening!?!’ *both laugh* We’re all just so used to instant gratification that we expect everyone else to be on the same page as us.
Yeah. I definitely think it’s had an effect on the music industry where it’s helped it grow but at the same time diminish.
Jessica: I feel like music can be made very fast now, at least from my experience. It can be written very fast and recorded and mixed equally as fast, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your best work.
Agreed. And if you could choose three artists to go on a world tour with, who would you choose and what would you name your tour?
Jessica: I would probably pick Normani as my first one because I really think she’s an artist to keep looking out for.
She’s been doing great since the, well, I don’t want to say ‘breakup,’ but I guess the Fifth Harmony breakup/hiatus.
Jessica: Oh yeah totally! I just love her music and I really believe she’s going to be huge! So I would say Normani, and then I would want to have Tinashe on the tour too. I think she’s amazing! And the last one I would choose would be Iggy Azalea, so it would be this, like, girl power kind of world tour. For my tour name, I would want it to be the ‘Heartbreak Tastes Like Summer Tour’ because it’s one of my favorite song titles that I’ve done. And of course, it would be during the summer because of the name of it. *laughs*
Yes! That’s where the hype is. Plus you get cuter outfits. *laughs*
Jessica: Oh for sure! *laughs*
Which artists would have influenced your style and sound? Even your personal aesthetic that you show through social media as well.
Jessica: I grew up listening to Britney and Christina, so because I was in that era they are definitely my idols. I love them so much!
Me too! I was bummed that I missed Britney’s Vegas residency.
Jessica: Aww I know. I was really sad when I saw that she checked into the mental health facility. It just broke my heart.
At least she is taking care of herself. That’s the most important thing to do in this crazy life.
Jessica: Yeah, it’s very good. I have high hopes for her reaching some inner peace. So yeah, Britney and Christina are my two queens, and then Gwen Stefani would be one of my style icons.
She always looks great!
Jessica: I know! She looks amazing!
We love you Gwen!
Jessica: Yes! *both laugh*
So how do you balance your personal and professional life?
Jessica: I try to keep a planner for myself, because I think the only way for me to stay on top of everything is if I write it all down and have a set schedule.
Oh my gosh me too!
Jessica: So you know how it is then. *both laugh* I’m a scatterbrain, so I just need to do a little bit more to make sure I remember everything that I need to do. Write everything down makes it easier.
I mean, there actually are studies about how you retain more information when you write it down.
Jessica: And they’re absolutely right about that! That’s how I would study in school as well, I would just write everything down a million times. *laughs*
Everyone’s always like, ‘Why don’t you just use your phone or your computer to take notes and set your schedule?’
Jessica: It’s so different though!
It really is! I’m trying to do the Google Calendar thing with color coding. It helps a little bit, but I’m totally not used to it. *laughs*
Jessica: I’ll have to try that. But I really love my planner and I have a bunch of different colored pens and stickers and stuff. Planner-ing is so fun! *laughs*
Planner people unite! *laughs*
Jessica: Yes! *laughs*
If you could give your younger self any advice in regards to what you’ve experienced so far in your music career, what kind of advice would you give her?
Jessica: I would say, ‘Don’t be scared.’ I feel like it’s really terrifying to have big dreams. I was definitely terrified to move to L.A. by myself, and I’ve been here for about five years now. I remember when I first moved here I was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I doing?’ But honestly, it’s been the best decision that I’ve ever made for myself. I feel like I have a grown a lot because I took that chance, so I would just want to tell her to not be afraid of doing anything. Whether it be in music or on a personal aspect, I would say ‘Be fearless.’
Yes! And what do you hope your audience away from your music?
Jessica: I want my music to be an escape for people because that’s how it’s always been for me. Growing up, I would just go in my room and shut everything out when I would listen to music. It would take me to a different place and it just felt very freeing, so I really just hope that my music can do the same for my fans. Everybody is going through something, and I feel like music helps a lot.
I definitely agree. That’s why people say that music is the universal connector.
Jessica: It really is though.
I mean, you could literally be friends with someone across the coast all because you like the same band.
Jessica: Actually, it’s funny that we’re talking about this. One of my fans DMed me saying that he met a mutual follower from Twitter and they were jamming out to my music together because they found out they were both fans of mine.
That’s so cool!
Jessica: It really was! I was so happy that my music was able to bring these two strangers together. I feel like a lot of people naturally bond over music.
They really do, and it really is amazing to see what music can do for a community. Long live music!
And to end us off, what other big and exciting things should we be expecting from you?
Jessica: I’m trying to play out with my band a little bit more, and we’ve got some shows lined up so I’m really excited about that. I’m also working on a new song right now, so I’m hoping for an early summer release. And I’m going to be doing a re-master and re-release of my song “Heartbreak Tastes Like Summer.”
Just in time for the season!
Jessica: Yes! *laughs* Bring on summer!
About Kreation Organic Juicery Studio City:
Sometimes it’s just one of those days where you need a nice, freshly squeezed juice and thank goodness cafes like Kreation are here to be of service to parched patrons seeking something a little fruity. The Los Angeles-based cafe chain is still in it’s beginning years (under ten years in business) but has certainly made a name for themselves with their health conscious take on food fare and leading the charge on the ever-popular juice cleanse (or in their case ‘klense’) craze. A variety of cold pressed juices and bottled smoothies along with specialty tailored syringe shots (i.e. beautify, flush down, and immune+), tonic shots (i.e. decongestant, sexy, and super green), and kleanse kits that cater to needs ranging from hangover fixes to a premium detox to even semi-humorous options focused on sex performance and Coachella survival, so it’s no wonder that they’ve garnered some local love and a big celebrity following. Whether you’re an Avenger (Chris Hemsworth aka Thor, Elizabeth Olsen aka Scarlet Witch), NBC’s ultimate dad goal (This Is Us’ Milo Ventimiglia), a Kardashian/Jenner (Kendall Jenner), a former Twilight vampire (Ashley Greene aka Alice Cullen) or an international pop star (Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Adele), Kreation offers up something for everyone’s taste using intriguing ingredients like chlorophyll, boron, camu camu, activated charcoal, and bee pollen (which was included in the juice that I had). Don’t worry coffee lovers! They also have some wonderful cold pressed coffee (and teas) available to satisfy your craving for caffeine!