For much of the early part of 2010, Darwin’s favourite daughter, Jessica Mauboy, found herself at various time driving down Los Angeles’s frenetic Sunset Boulevard, or standing amid the towering, neon-stamped buildings that engulf New York’s Times Square, or enjoying the soul food and urban hip-hop sounds of Atlanta. Indeed, the shy girl who first appeared on Australian Idol as a 16 year old back in 2006 has grown – in more ways than one. Sure, she’d known massive success at home (her debut album, BEEN WAITING, achieved double platinum sales, garnered seven ARIA award nominations and spawned six hit singles, plus in 2009 Jessica starred in her first feature film, Bran Nue Dae), but she wanted something more. America marked something of an independence, both musically and personally for the 21 year old. “I’d never been away from home for so long before – just dealing with being on my own, and being away from my family and from Australia was challenging.” The singer went into the studio with a definite musical mind-set. Early on in Atlanta, Jessica had recorded ‘Get ‘Em Girls’, a thumping hip-hop track (and the album’s first single) with producer Bangladesh (Beyonce, Lil Wayne, Usher, M.I.A). When Jessica had left the track behind and returned to Los Angeles, she’d thought something “was missing”. That missing ingredient was one of the world’s most famous and iconic rappers, Snoop Dogg. The track found its way to the rapper, and he agreed to put his stamp on it. The missing link was found. “I never thought he’d even take the time to listen to it. I think that was the really cool thing – he found a connection with the song.” The rapper Ludacris did his thing on the Brian Kennedy-produced ‘Saturday Night’, surely a club favourite-in-waiting, with its sweeping synths and staccato beats. As a sign of Jessica’s new-found confidence, she wasn’t happy with the original rap, and had the rapper re-do it. He did. Then there was ‘Like This’, a tune she’d written at home in Australia.
Jessica Mauboy has found her true sound, and worked with the best in the business who have been won over and amazed by her staggering talent and her soaring vocal range. “I want everybody to hear this album,” she says. In the coming months, one suspects we will hear it; on radios, on television, and most definitely, on dance floors across the globe. This is Jessica Mauboy.
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