Jesswar is an artist who we’ve long championed within the pages of Blank. The Gold Coast artist (based on Yugambeh/Kombumerri land, who are the traditional owners of Currumbin ) is a compelling presence on the Australian hip-hop scene, with her tough as nails, righteous raps a conduit for emblazoning her proud Fijian heritage and emboldening women to stand proud and step forth.
She’s dropped her long-awaited debut EP, ‘TROPIXX’ today, 5 March.
The EP was preceded by the release of a powerful new single, ‘Medusa’, it’s tough, relentless aura and hydra-headed statement of defiance and resolve breathing the same claustrophobic air of artists such as Bristol trip hop outlier Tricky. Medusa’s creepingly ominous vibe is mirrored in its striking video clip, which was produced by Colin Jeffs and Jeff Bar, who also put together the clip for her previous single, the equally striking call-to-arms ‘Venom’.
The release of ‘TROPIXX’ has been hotly anticipated for some time, and for Jesswar it’s been a case of purging herself through her art in order to come out stronger on the other side.
“Some of the songs from this project were written way back in 2017,” she explains.
“The years leading up until now have led me to where I finally feel like I’m in a really calm place. When writing TROPIXX I was going through a lot in my personal life and work life. I was tired of being talked down to and undermined, so writing TROPIXX was self-care for me. I finally felt like I got everything out through my art.”
To coincide with the EP’s release, Jesswar also recently signed a deal to join the Inertia Music / (PIAS) Recordings roster of artists, as opportunity for which she is over the moon.
“I feel super grateful to be working with Inertia/[PIAS]! I actually got the opportunity to show them my work during lockdown last year. There’s a really beautiful sense of community at Inertia and I’m super excited to be working amongst some really beautiful people.”
The year of 2020 was no different for Jesswar than for many other artists struggling to come to terms with pandemic-related impacts, but in typically fighting fashion she took it as an opportunity rather than a hindrance in order to diversify her artistic skill set.
“For me, the biggest thing I learned through COVID is to work with what you got” she tells us.
“Make the best with what you got around you. It also taught me to think on my feet as anything could change at any given second. I started diving into more production and focusing on building visuals for the videos we were creating. I feel through all the roadblocks with COVID that I actually had more time to spread my wings creatively and step into other realms within my art.”
Jesswar is clearly is a space where she is moving in an upwards trajectory in both her life and her music, for which she’s both grateful and more content.
“Things are working out real nice at the start of 2021!!. Every day I wake up and feel really grateful for where I am in my life and in work. Just to be able to make music and release it is something I feel super grateful to do in my life. 2021 and beyond is looking: Big, better, fuller thicker, calmer and softer!”
Jesswar’s in-your-face new single, ‘Medusa’, is out now, with her debut EP, ‘TROPIXX’ available now on the usual services. IMAGE (C) James Hornsby & Georgia Wallace.
Check out ‘Medusa’ below: