2018 has been a whirlwind for Brooklyn’s Junglepussy. She debuted her acting skills in Andrew Bujalski’s film “Support the Girls,” walked in New York Fashion Week, released her third full-length effort, “JP3,” and completed her first-ever North American headlining tour. We caught up with JP during her DC date at Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe to talk about her growth as an artist, how social media impacts her relationships with fans, Caribbean influence and more. Read our interview with Junglepussy below.
Capitol Sound DC: Welcome to DC, first of all. We’re so happy to have you here. Have you ever performed in DC before? I know this is your first headliner.
Junglepussy: Yeah, I did. I think like two years ago.
JP: Yeah, Chynna's gonna be on Saturday. I had to switch the date because I had a smaller room at the venue, but it sold out, so they gave me a bigger room the following day. Then Rayana couldn't do it, so Chynna's going to.
CSDC: Chynna is amazing, too. What's the best part of the tour so far? I know you're on tour with all your friends, so that's fun.
JP: The best part of it is meeting all these people I didn't know existed. They're just down to hear good music, and they love the support that I bring. Seeing how people react, I know how I feel when I leave a live show that I really like — it's a natural high for days and weeks, like it lasts forever. So, to give people that feeling. That's just so cool to me.
CSDC: Definitely. Again, you’re on tour for your latest album, “JP3.” It's very different from “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” and “Pregnant with Success.” You have a lot more features on it and it is sonically your most diverse project yet. The content is more mature, very phoenix level. I hate to always bring it up, but “Stitches” is the polar opposite of that energy. Now, you get a little bit more introspective and it's really reflective of your growth. Also, reflective of your relationship with yourself, peers and men. A track that stood out to me was "Showers," because it features your nephew Zach. Can you tell me a little more about that?
JP: Yeah, that song is very, that's like one of the most positive songs. It's a reflective, more personal, because I am bringing my nephew on it. Though, he just loved the song when I played it for him and he just started singing it. He would not stop singing it, and I recorded a video of him singing it and Shy Guy, the producer, was like you need to bring him in the studio. I was like uh… let me ask him. I asked him “Do you wanna go?” And he was like yes, I love this song.
CSDC: That's adorable.
JP: So he went and did, it was like actually this time last year he recorded that. He was three then.
CSDC: Really? That's awesome. What a year it's been for him. I want to talk about social media, actually, because you use that a lot. You have plenty of Instagram gems, for one. On Instagram Live you once said, "I'm a good person for being thoughtful and wanting to rekindle, but sometimes, that other person is really not ready. People want me to keep giving them high quality love and attention as they take advantage. I have to protect myself and my love." That really touched me. You also have your signature uppercase tweets. How do those interactions with your fans present the opportunity for open and direct dialogue, and how does it impact your relationship with your fans?
JP: I feel like it's helpful. I guess in the beginning it wasn't a conscious thing. I was just sharing, sharing, sharing. Then I started to realize the platform that I had and what people come to me for. I'm like okay, I guess I have to open up more and be as transparent as I can be right now. So that's what that is about. I feel like it's helpful because I know there are people on the internet that I look to to inspire me, and just say uplifting things, and I realize the impact on that. I'm like well if they just wanna hear me talk, then I guess I could just talk, talk from the heart and hopefully they can resonate with something.
CSDC: We definitely do. You said, on the same Live I referred to earlier, that you think Rihanna hates you for the forehead line, but Savage Fenty just followed you!
JP: They did.
CSDC: Obviously it's not Rihanna, but I think that's a good stepping stone.
JP: They're gonna send me a bunch of sexy lingerie, too, I'm like, what you all want me to do with this?
CSDC: They want you to post it and tag them!
JP: Yeah, no, I don't think she hates me. I think she just hasn't met me, yet.
JP: Yes, I love him and his clothes.
CSDC: His work is so beautiful. Tell me a little more about your fashion background, because I hear you went to school for design?
JP: Yeah, I went to a design high school. I was in a four year internship there. They taught us how to do everything; how to use Photoshop Illustrator, how to make tech packs and they were preparing us for college. I did go to FIT, and I thought I wanted to do design, so we got to make samples. We got to make a hat with New Era, a watch with Timex, a coat with Marc Ecko - cause he was the one who started the internship company, Sweat Equity Enterprises. That was just a cool experience, but at the end of it, I just wanted to go. I wanted to be a stylist and didn’t really want to do design. So they said go to FIT for merchandising, and that was a lie because I was just buying and selling clothes, taking mad business classes, mad math classes. I just didn't fuck with it, but I realized through music I could express myself in all these ways and still be fashionable.
CSDC: What is your biggest fashion dream? I know everyone wants to own a house, but I feel like that's regular.
JP: I don't want to own a fashion house. I like too many things. My fashion dream? I just want a Vogue spread maybe? But then it's like, I don't care. To me, I have style. I don't keep up with these stupid little trends, and the see-through and everything. I do wear what I want whenever, and I don't really care for that look. Like this fashion it-girl look- no!
I've been popping, it's just that the internet came out and now everybody feels they have to prove themselves and show themselves in a certain light.
But me, I'm from New York, it's just innate to me to just be stylish and fly on the streets.
CSDC: Congrats on Support the Girls, by the way. I watched it and loved the story. I loved your character Danielle, but also loved Regina Hall’s character, too. What was it like working with her?
JP: That was cool. She was great, she was so comfortable. Such a legend, she was so relaxed and calm.
CSDC: Such a legend. You said after wrapping that you felt inspired to revisit “JP3,” can you tell me anything that you changed after that?
JP: Well it wasn't “JP3.” I was just working on an album, it was something else. I was working on it through the whole time I was doing the movie. Before I left for the movie, I thought it was done, I thought I had what I wanted on there already, and as I did the movie, spending the whole day, channeling this other character, I looked forward to going home and just getting back to the hotel, going back to my JP vibe. Then I was like “oh I have more to say, more to do,” and it was just a cool back and forth between me and myself, and then giving it this other perspective through the world of Danielle in "Support the Girls."
CSDC: That must’ve been a crazy experience. Speaking of visuals, let’s talk about yours. They’re so unique in the sense that you very clearly hands on on every single part of whatever happens, right?
CSDC: The “Spicy 103 FM” video touches my soul. Everything about it, like the, I remember the thing that stood out to me the most the first few times I watched it was the girl in the shirt, “Hip-Hop is bigger than the government,” I think that's what it said...
JP: That was a student at Columbia.
CSDC: I loved it. What are your visual art inspirations? It could be anything, cartoons or sitcoms, because I know you love Moesha, music videos, whatever.
JP: I watch everything. I just, everything is a visual to me. Whether it's on a TV screen or in real life, I just like to hold on to what I relate to and try to manifest it in the cutest way possible.
CSDC: It's cute as hell, so you've been doing it.
JP: Thank you.
CSDC: Of course. To wrap up, I’d like to hear about your Caribbean influence. I'm Guyanese, my whole family's from Flatbush, so obviously when I heard Mi Nuh Care and Country Boy, I was pleasantly surprised. And you even shout out Patra in one of your songs — that's what won my mom over. Your mom is Trinidadian, your dad is Jamaican?
CSDC: But you’re rasied in Brooklyn, which is known to have heavy Caribbean influence but also it’s own, unique aura. How does the fusion of those cultures play into Junglepussy?
JP: We always went back for holidays and I spent my summers there. I definitely think that influenced me, just having such a tropical palette — the food, the clothes, the tastes, all of that. Coming back to New York, I got to experience all the other little nooks of the Caribbean countries that are in New York now. All my friends are from Guyana, Grenada, Barbados, so it was cool. I also went to high school in the city. That was different because when you grow up in Brooklyn - well now it's different, it's gentrification - but when it was just like super duper Brooklyn, you go into the city it was another world. I think that helped me build my eclectic style. I had this other part of me that I had to explore. That's why I started just listening to different music. I got my first MP3 player when I started going to high school in the city and would just look for all this different music to download. Even now I look back and I remember finding music I resonated with, but felt like I didn't know enough about it. I was like, “I'm not a poser, I just like this stuff!” And now I see that was all so useful and important. I have a range of influences and that's definitely evident in my music.
Interview by Angelie Benn. Photos by Meredith Wohl.