Jessie J finds her voice with album
When Jessie J wrote her debut album Who You Are she had her time at London's premier talent academy, the Brit School, to draw upon. Not to mention knockbacks from a record label that went bust before releasing her music, songwriting for the likes of Chris Brown and Miley Cyrus, and the various trials and tribulations of being a teenager.
Who You Are, following on from the huge success of her debut single Do It Like A Dude, was a big deal in the UK.
But things are very different this time around as she releases her second album, Alive.
"I know what I'm doing that bit more," says the 25-year-old, clad in a cream outfit almost the same colour as the shock white crop she's growing out after shaving her head in March for Comic Relief.
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"I feel like I'm in control and prepared, rather than just turning up. I know how I want to represent myself, what to wear and all that. I know a catsuit on Lorraine just isn't right."
There's a new-found self-awareness to Jessie. She still says ridiculous things – her analogy that women are like onions "because they have layers, and if you cut us, you'll cry" is maybe the most ridiculous thing she says today, but she at least stops halfway through to laugh.
Alive took five weeks to write, spread over a year to accommodate her other commitments. As with her first album, she called up a host of big names to help co-write and produce the songs, none bigger than Rodney Jerkins, who's worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears.
Jessie says the more successful she's become, the more people tried to tell her they were responsible for it, and the more they wanted an input on what she did next. "Before I was successful, someone might not be bothered. Now, they all want to get their little spoon in the glory pie."
In her view she treads a fine line on Alive between being truthful and holding something back for herself. It's best demonstrated by the new song I Miss Her, one of the album's big ballads. "It's someone in the family, but I don't want to name them because it's a privacy thing," says Jessie. "This someone is very close to me and very ill, and isn't them any more. So she's here, but she isn't her. A lot of people have family members who suffer from dementia and things so I wanted to write a song about it, when someone isn't themselves."
She reckons it was the hardest track she's ever written, difficult to record because of the emotional content and, as her trembling bottom lip indicates today, difficult to talk about too.
And then there's The Voice. Jessie, along with The Script's Danny O'Donoghue, announced that she won't be returning for a third series of the BBC singing contest.
"I won't miss it," she says. "Not in a bad way, just that it's time for someone else to have a go. I can't sit there telling singers that I'm a successful artist if I'm available to film a TV series for half the year."
Jessie J is touring this autumn, playing Bournemouth International Centre on November 10 and Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on November 11