When the Pussycat Dolls emerged on the scene in 2003, some detractors looked down on the group of sexy women proudly shaking their moneymakers. Yet fans loved their sexy strut, eye-popping burlesque outfits and pulsating high-decibel music.
Jessica Sutta, the group’s red-hot redhead, has gone solo — and her single “Show Me” reached the top of the Billboard dance charts last year. The Florida native is also a staunch supporter of marriage equality and puts her best foot forward to advocate for the cause. Xtra chatted with Sutta ahead of her performance at this year’s Aqua Pride party.
Xtra: Congrats on the hit song from your first release from your upcoming debut, Sutta Pop, topping the charts. Where were you when you heard the news and how did you react?
Jessica Sutta: I got a phone call from my radio rep at Hollywood Records while I was driving, and he said, “I just want to be the first one to tell you that you have a number-one record.” It was really exciting, and I think it was a huge achievement.
You have described your musical tastes as a hybrid of pop, dance and R&B. Is your CD going to be a mix of those sounds?
Absolutely. In music today there really are no rules, and I love that. You can be as rebellious as you want with sounds and lyrics.
You were in the Pussycat Dolls from 2003 until 2010. According to reports, in 2009 while performing in Australia, you broke a rib and were sent home. But since you had no home to go to, you were homeless and had to sleep on a friend’s couch.
We were on tour for years and I just went through a really bad breakup, and I moved out of the house I shared with him. And I was living with my girlfriends and I put my stuff in storage and I was going to get a place when I got back from tour. When I got back I was injured and I couldn’t look for a place. So that’s where the whole couch thing came from.
There have been so many rumours about friction within the group because of the attention given to lead singer Nicole Scherzinger. What was your relationship like with her during your time in the group?
It was really good. I really respected Nicole. She was the lead singer and she had all creative control. When I look back on it now, I am grateful for it because I wouldn’t be where I’m at today as an artist; I would not have worked as hard as I did as a vocalist. We’re not personally friends, but I am always going to be grateful for Nicole.
You are a strong supporter of marriage equality. Why is that so important to you?
It is extremely important to me because I feel like it’s a civil rights movement as well. There should be equal rights for every human being. I appreciate what Obama did when he said equality for all — that’s one of the things he said that made so much sense to me. I’ve actually seen a lot of my gay friends and they’re in monogamous relationships and they’re building these relationships and I’m thinking . . . Duh. I mean, that’s what we’ve been trying to tell everyone. And it’s about changing it and giving awareness and giving rights to everyone.
How did you get involved in the NOH8 campaign?
It happened organically. I was doing a lot of work in the gay community in West Hollywood and I happened to meet the person who started NOH8. I was drawn to it because I was bullied as a child, and it was something that triggered in me that I had to be a part of this. Luckily I did and it just fell into place, and I will always support that. There shouldn’t be any hate; there should be more repercussions towards people bullying in school.
How have gays and lesbians embraced you?
With open arms. I love them and I found that they really appreciate and love music and they love what I stand for. I really connect to my gay audience and I want to be the voice for the gays that can’t be heard. That’s why I’m standing so strong on this issue, because it needs to change.
You’ve been to Toronto before with the Pussycat Dolls. What are your impressions of the city?
I love Toronto. I love Canadians. I think Canadians are the nicest people on this Earth.