Image for Jessica Mauboy - Burnin' Up

Jessica Mauboy - Burnin' Up

Jessica Mauboy loves the gays. Her level of enthusiasm, by no means low to begin with, bursts into orbit once I explain the audience I’m interviewing her for.

A regular attendee at Darwin nightspot Throb, to which she was introduced by her cousins and their friends, Jessica is definitely aware of her gay fanbase. She loves taking in drag shows and she’s performed at Throb to a rapturous response. “I just loved it – they were so into it!” she beams.

Of course, it’s not just the gays giving Mauboy some love. At the time we spoke, her second single Burn had vaulted to number two on the ARIA singles chart (it has since become her first number one), and her debut album Been Waiting was holding fort in the top twenty, looking a likely candidate to soundtrack the rest of summer.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” says Jessica. “Hearing Burn on the radio… oh my god, people like it!”

Burn was written by songwriters Jonas Jeberg, Taj Jackson (nephew of Michael) and Mich Hansen, who have written for the likes of Rihanna, Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks.

Whilst Burn is a product of proven international hitmakers, it is first single Running Back – based on “one of my past experiences”, which she co-wrote with local writers Audius (who has worked with the likes of Delta Goodrem) and Sean Ray Mullins, that might well give Mauboy her best chance of a break in the US.

Jessica was confident the song was a hit before she found out that American Hip Hop’s man of the moment Flo Rida had agreed to provide a rap, but the news took her excitement to another level. “I could not believe it! I think I was in another world. He’s just such a cool guy. To have him on it was seriously a blessing.”

Although the recording of Running Back was done in separate studios, Jessica met Flo Rida when he toured Australia and filmed the video. “He was intimidating at first ‘cause he didn’t speak and he had these big gold glasses on and had this bling, and I was just like ‘wow, that is so crazy’. But when we started talking and stuff he started asking all these questions about my background.”

Jessica says there has “absolutely” been discussion of a US release for Running Back. It’s a prospect she finds exciting, but scary. “I know that it’s such a big music industry over there industry over there, especially the urban/R’n’B [market], she says, “There’s so many people, especially the female artists, that I might be up against. I’m excited but… you know!”

Besides Running Back, Jessica mentions the ballad Because as her favourite track on the album, as it reflects “personal experience”. She’s obviously particularly proud of having co-written so many tracks on the album, something she says she wasn’t sure she’d get to do.

“I had heard some stuff about coming into the record label and they’re going to give you songs instead of you writing them. Having the opportunity to say what I felt kind of made me stronger.”

This strength developed as she bunkered down with her producers. “I was there 24/7 with them. I really got to bond with the producers and really actually opened up to them, which was kind of awkward at the start, but you really get into it once you start to hear the music and start putting things together.”

Whilst she sang a variety of styles on Australian Idol, and grew up with country music as a huge influence, Mauboy sees urban and R‘n’B as her focus for the immediate future, although she does caution to add that “you never know” about the future.

“This is what I really feel most close to and I hope people will respect that,” she says, but she hasn’t noticed any disappointment with her chosen direction from her Idol fanbase.

These fans should look out for some 100% Jessica Mauboy originals down the track though. Jessica says that developing solo compositions is “absolutely” a priority. “I’ve been writing, actually, ever since the album came out. I’d like to put some of those on the next album.”

In the meantime, she is “totally planning” to hit the road, most likely showcasing some of the dance-oriented tracks from the album ( To the Floor and Up/Down especially), which she describes as another musical passion she’s enjoying the chance to explore. “I love to dance so we’d like to kind of do a couple of club tours to start it out.”

Will that include some gay clubs? With no hesitation, Jessica utters her favourite word again. “Absolutely! That would be so awesome.”

Read Jessica Mauboy – Northern Star in Same Same’s Northern Territory section here.

Jessica Mauboy’s new album Been Waiting is out now through Sony BMG.

Comments arrow left

marly said on the 10th Feb, 2009

They all love "the gays" dont they , when they realise how many record sales the pink dollar equates to.


ojil said on the 10th Feb, 2009

nup, disagree. I had the HUGE pleasure of meeting this little pocket rocket last week and seeing her sing live acoustically... without a doubt she is a true to character, laid back, salt of the earth NT gal. I wish her every success!


ojil said on the 10th Feb, 2009

nup, disagree. I had the HUGE pleasure of meeting this little pocket rocket last week and seeing her sing live acoustically... without a doubt she is a true to character, laid back, salt of the earth NT gal. I wish her every success!

Travis de Jonk

Travis de Jonk said on the 10th Feb, 2009

Jessica rocks my box! She is one seriously talented aussie!


Weasel said on the 10th Feb, 2009

Marly - I found it very genuine when I spoke to her. She squaled with dleight when I told her what samesame was, and she's clearly a part of the NT queer community.

The sad career of Dannii illustrates that the gay dollar isn't all it's cracked up to be, so we should welcome with open arms the performers who are willing to go on the record with their love of the gays (and lesbians, bisexuals, transexuals and the rest of our community).

PS. The album rally kicks ass.


girlsOngirls said on the 10th Feb, 2009

i love her. but she doesnt love me. b*tch, nah i still love her.


pkgrrl said on the 12th Feb, 2009

That's a nod in your direction Marly. Who is going to say, they dont like the gays??? It's basically a given that 'they' all are lovey dovey with the gays.