She forged her career as a member of Pussycat Dolls alongside Nicole Scherzinger, but J Sutta is keen to move on from her kitty littered past.
Singer and dancer J (full name Jessica), who left the band in 2010, saw her debut solo single Show Me fly in the States. About to release a new album, the singer is headed down a more pop-orientated route.
Speaking to Loaded from LA, J is recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan to perform for US Troops which certainly proved eventful.
“I go overseas a lot to perform for the troops,” she reveals.
“It was pretty wild. We landed and were in single file walking to get in the car when we were told ‘If the alarm goes off at any point, you need to get on the floor, take cover and put your hands over your head’.
“I was a little freaked out because I’d performed at a military base in Jordan before, but it wasn’t as extreme as the Afghanistan one was.”
She continues: “On the night of the show, I was getting ready and putting on my mascara. and the alarm goes off and security said: ‘We’ve been hit, take cover'”.
To the delight of the troops, 33-year-old Sutta and her twin backing dancers were able to proceed with the show after the incident, which hadn’t been close enough to the base to cause an evacuation.
“We just carried on and went onstage and they went wild,” J laughs. “They definitely were very happy that we were there – very, very happy.”
For years, Sutta topped the charts with Pussycat Dolls, but she won’t be drawn on speculation surrounding any potential reunion. Given that the band fell apart due to many claims of in-fighting and clashing egos, it’s perhaps unsurprising Sutta seems happier in her skin these days.
Since leaving, she admits it’s taken her a number of years to grow as an artist and be happy with her work as a solo performer.
“You really have to readjust when you leave a band like that.” she says. “It’s very hard to make it as a solo artist, and I’m ready to prove to people what I’m capable of doing.
“Now I’m a more ferocious feline than I ever was before. It was time for me to find the real Jessica. This is different level of music and I’m in charge now.”
She’s thrilled with the results of newly-released single Forever.
“It centres around being in a blissful state of mind that you just want to stay in forever,” she explains. “It’s getting really good radio play over here in the States, which is amazing. Forever has more of a pop sound than anything else I’ve done, so I’m really excited about that.”
Sutta is also preparing for the release of her album Feline Resurrection over the next couple of months, which has seen her team up with Rico Love (Beyonce, Usher, David Guetta), Benny Cassette (Kanye West, Nelly) and British producer S-X (Lil Wayne).
“I just can’t wait for people to hear it, and to experience the sound I created with all of these amazingly talented people,” she says.
“Feline Resurrection is a beautiful record and I’ve grown a lot. Feline Resurrection represents a cat which has been brought back to life. For me, that part of me had to die before I could come back to life.”
She’s not joking. The title track, released as a single in 2015, features lyrics including: “I used to be a kitty, now the tiger wanna eat. Say bye to the kitty cat. Motherfucker, I’m the queen of the jungle.”
Forever is out now. Listen here https://soundcloud.com/jessica-sutta/forever
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1