Ms. Jade Lets Nothing 'Interrupt' Her
Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.Ms. Jade has been preparing a long time for "Girl Interrupted," her 215/Beat Club/Interscope debut, due Nov. 5.
"I wrote my first rap when I was either 8 or 9," Jade says. "After that, I started singing. I was always into music, but I didn't know what I wanted to do exactly. I just knew I wanted to be an entertainer. I went through high school doing talent shows. After I graduated, I still didn't know what I wanted to do, so I went to cosmetology school. While I was there, writing became a hobby. Whatever came into my mind, I wrote down. When I was supposed to be washing hair, I was writing raps and getting in trouble."
As Jade's love of writing grew, so did Philadelphia's hip-hop scene. "This was right around the time when [then-Ruff Nation act] Major Figgas and [Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam artist] Beanie Sigel were coming out, so hip-hop in Philly was starting to come up," she says. "I would go anywhere so someone could hear me rhyme. I just wanted to perfect [my style], and that happened by battling people. I was just trying to grind my way in. When I decided to go after a deal, a lot of people told me no. They were either only looking for guys or I didn't have the right look. It was really hard -- I cried. When you want something so bad, and people keep telling you no, that's crazy."
Things changed when Jade met her manager, Terrence Glasgow of Philadelphia-based 215 Management.
"They had connections and set things up for me to come to New York, and I rapped for everyone. One night, we just happened to be in the studio, and I met Jay Brown from Elektra. He took me upstairs to another studio to meet Missy ["Misdemeanor" Elliott]. I rapped for her and she dug me, so she called Tim, and after that it was on. The week after I rapped for him, I was in the studio recording with them on 'Indecent Proposal,'" Jade says of her work on Timbaland & Magoo's sophomore set for Blackground Records.
Following work on "Indecent Proposal" and Elliott's "Miss E ... So Addictive," Jade focused on her own material. "I started when I was in the studio with Tim and Missy," she says. "He actually taught me how to rhyme over his beats, because they're so tricky. So I spent that summer in L.A., and when I came back I started working on the album. We finished it in four months."
Jade has already earned a name for herself via singles "Feel the Girl," which peaked at No. 22 on Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart, and "Big Head." Current single "Ching Ching," which features Timbaland and Nelly Furtado, is No. 54 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. In addition to party tracks like "Feel the Girl" and "Ching Ching," Jade shows a more mature side via songs like "Why You Tell Me," featuring Lil' Mo, and "Keep Ya Head Up."
"As an artist, music isn't just music," Jade says. "Most music has a message, and as an artist I wanted to throw that out there. I'm a real person, and I know what it's like going through stuff like relationships and working hard. It's cool to dance, but you also have to let people know that you work hard for what you've got."
From beauty shops to Beat Club, Jade's journey has almost been cinematic. So it seems fitting that the title of her album comes from a movie.
"I saw the movie and just took the title and ran with it," Jade says of the film "Girl, Interrupted," which starred Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. "I'm a young girl, and I was interrupted by so many things -- [guys] with money, the streets, indecision, and non-believers. But I still did what I had to do."
Excerpted from the Oct. 19, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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