Even though she was personally having a "real bitter day" when she wrote the chorus -- "You know, after Christmas, when you've eaten your weight in, like, everything?" -- JESSIA discovered that listeners were connecting to the song's "it's OK to not feel OK" message for a range of reasons, whether it was postpartum moms struggling with baby weight or teenage boys with body dysmorphia.
"The song is talking about not being pretty and not feeling your best -- that sucks that people feel this way," she says. "But it's also really beautiful that we've created this amazing community where everyone's like, 'Yeah, I got a belly and I got a bum, let's just keep on moving on with our lives.'"
The buzz around the song caught the attention of singer-songwriter Ryan Tedder, who DM’d the aspiring pop star asking her to send more material. “I won’t sign a writer that’s not an artist, and I won’t sign an artist that’s not a writer,” says Tedder. “She was both in full spades -- and I’m convinced had she not been living on an island off the coast of Vancouver, there’s no shot I would have had a chance of getting her. It would have been a feeding frenzy.” Adds JESSIA: "He gave a s--t. They say don't meet your idols, but I'm very happy that I met him."
He did face some competition, but by Jan. 31, Tedder’s Artist Driven Records and Brandon Silverstein’s S10 Entertainment record-label division signed JESSIA in partnership with Republic Records. Her manager, Studio 44’s JR Antoine, had come on just over a year ago. Ben Facey, Republic Records EVP, global marketing & digital strategy, says JESSIA's music "popped" the first time he heard her, adding “her sound, her songwriting, her tenacity, her voice, her individuality stood out to such an incredible degree.”
Since then, things have only grown for the "I'm not Pretty" singer, including a Bebe Rexha remix released in April, while the original now soundtracks a body-positive Dove Self-Esteem Project campaign on TikTok. “I’m not Pretty” has racked up 49.4 million on-demand U.S. streams through May 27, according to MRC Data, and JESSIA topped the Canada Emerging Artists chart on May 8. Perhaps most affirming, though, are the steady stream of texts she now receives: “I constantly get messages like, ‘You were playing in Home Hardware!’ or ‘We haven’t talked in five years, but way to go, girl!’"