If disco balls, ecstasy, pearls, Studio 54, sex, crystal chandeliers, Purple Rain, and Creme Brule, could be whipped in a blender and made into a delicious pop-dance musical confection, you would have Pretty Mess, the debut CD from...
If disco balls, ecstasy, pearls, Studio 54, sex, crystal chandeliers, Purple Rain, and Creme Brule, could be whipped in a blender and made into a delicious pop-dance musical confection, you would have Pretty Mess, the debut CD from dance-pop's latest sensation Erika Jayne. Pretty Mess, which includes the No. 1 Billboard Dance Radio Airplay hit singles "Rollercoaster" and "Stars" and a guest appearance from Sheila E., will drop August 11th.
It's typically a no-no to be so bold as to compare any new artist to the Queen of Pop, Madonna. But, when it's comes to Erika Jayne, it's impossible not to make the comparison. Just ask the Guardian U.K., which wrote, "Erika Jayne is Madonna trapped in the moment when she recorded the Erotica album. She's Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge goes trance with a dash of debauchery, or Gwen Stefani goes burlesque. She's equal parts Hollywood glamour and S&M chic. The spawn of Sapphic union between Rita Hayworth and Traci Lords."
"That is a perfect description of my music and vibe, actually," says the Atlanta-bred, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter proudly. "All of that influenced me, as did Purple Rain, the feel of Studio 54, Kylie Minogue, and the Old Hollywood designers Edith Head and Adrian Adolph Greenberg. They were all about having a good time, and that is what my record is about. I want people to have fun, dance, and escape into fantasy. I want the listener to take a sexy little trip away from their lives. It's a very sensual, erotic, luxurious-feeling album. That was my state of mind when I wrote, and that comes naturally for me. It's something that I could either choose not to accept or to embrace it and run with it. And, I'm running with it. I'm not afraid to be me and to sing about the things I want to sing about."
To honor her love of all things Prince, Erika scored Prince protege Sheila E. to play percussion on the sexually charged "Time to Realize," one of the four songs Erika co-wrote. "Having Sheila play was a dream come true!," she says. The singer also recorded a cover of Apollonia 6's 1984 hit "Sex Shooter," which was featured in Purple Rain. "When I saw her perform the song in the movie in lingerie, I was totally shocked. It was so provocative and I loved that."
Erika also scored heavy-hitters on the production side for her 14-song collection of dance, rhythmic pop, and dreamy electronica songs. Peter Rafelson (Madonna, Britney Spears, Stevie Nicks) and Eric Kupper (Shakira, Destiny's Child, Kylie Minogue) produced and co-wrote Pretty Mess, while Canadian singer-songwriter Esthero (as Pinklake), Jahi Lake (Chris Brown) and Ike Dirty (Lil' Scrappy, Ying Yang Twinz, and son of legendary artist Isaac Hayes) contributed additional production.
The third single to follow the two chart-toppers "Rollercoaster" and "Stars" is the upbeat disco-flavored dance track "Give You Everything." "It's the first song I recorded. I did it in one take. It's my favorite song," she says. "'Run Along' is my Atlanta song. I love my hometown. It has Ike Dirty on it. We were feeling very glamour-ghetto-royalty when we wrote it. 'I Lose Myself' is about an orgy and the decadence of Paris in the '20s. 'Rollercoaster' is my simple, catchy, and fun song. 'Just a Phase' is my sassy, blow-off song. 'Everybody Wants Some' is a total performance number, very sex kitten."
Erika gravitated to music and performing as young as her earliest memory. "My mom was a young mom, 18, so she would always have the latest music on in the car, but she was also a classically trained pianist who taught lessons in our home. Music was always playing in the house, which was cool," explains Erika. "At 3-years-old, I would go in the closet, ask my mom to introduce me, and pop out to put on a show for my family. I would usually sing 'Little Miss Muppet.' Then, when I was 5, I won the Best Little Performer award in my dance class, and my first performance was singing Dolly Parton's '9 to 5' in the third grade school talent show. I knew I wanted to be a performer."
The precocious child also did musical theater (she was Val in A Chorus Line and Frastrada in Pippin) and honed her singing, dancing, and acting chops at North Atlanta School of Performing Arts for high school. It was in high school when she got her first real taste of what it would be like to be an international pop star. She toured the world in the school's revue show where she performed "9 to 5" and Madonna's "Get Into the Groove." "I was singing and dancing five nights a week on top of going to school," says Erika, who is also a skilled ballet dancer. "At 18, I moved to New York and was in a few girl groups , but I always wanted to step out on my own. I worked my ass off to get to where I am today and I'm really glad I did it this way. It makes the success worth it."
Erika has indeed accomplished more before the release of her debut CD than most artists. Along with two chart-topping dances radio tracks, the sensual video for "Stars" -directed by Scott Speer (Will I. Am, the Veronicas, Paris Hilton) -spent 12 weeks (peaking at No. 2) on LOGO's The Click List, and the song also hit No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Play chart and is featured in the 2009 movie American Summer with Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite) and Matthew Lillard (Scream). Three other songs have been placed in movies as well --"Rollercoaster" is in 2008's Deal featuring Burt Reynolds and in the horror film Bumper, and "I Lose Myself" and "Just a Phase" are in the 2007 Matthew Modine flick The Neighbor.
"I couldn't have asked for a more fitting scene in The Neighbor for 'Just a Phase' to be playing in," Erika explains. "These young girls are having a slumber party and they are just jumping up and down and going crazy to the song. It reminded me of when I was a little girl and would jump on my bed singing along to music. Just pure, unadulterated fun! It was delicious. It's what I hope everyone will do when they listen to Pretty Mess. It's all about that feeling."
Meet the perfect dance-pop confection that is Erika Jayne: All pleasure. No guilt.