Jessi Frey

FRESH: ‘Villainess’ – Jessi Frey

British singer Jessi Frey returns with “Villainess”!

by Christopher Smith

Jessi Frey is a dark synthwave artist from Bristol, UK. First known as the frontwoman of the Finnish industrial metal band Velcra, Jessi Frey combined the hard with the soft in both her vocals and her songwriting. Her vocals were praised for effortlessly flipping between powerful screams and soft melodies.

Velcra was signed to Virgin Records after releasing just one demo. All of their three albums entered the Finnish charts and the band was nominated as the best newcomer in the Finnish Grammy’s. Velcra toured extensively across Finland and Europe with bands such as Guano Apes, Oomph! and Suburban Tribe, before disbanding at the end of 2008.

After Velcra, Jessi took a break from music and moved permanently to Bristol. In 2018 she announced unexpectedly that she was working on a solo debut, due for release in 2019. The new album sees Jessi moving from the metal influences and screams to sleek 80’s inspired synth pop. Her songs are catchy and dance-oriented, but her sound is still dark, and her voice as captivating as ever.

Jessi has written and programmed all songs herself. Stating Depeche Mode’s “Violator” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Pretty Hate Machine” as her biggest influences, she also drew inspiration from contemporaries such as La Roux, Grimes, Roisin Murphy, Robyn, Rina Sawayama. In addition she has a special affinity with the dark synth scene where many artist have a background in metal music and a love of 80’s synth pop.

Jessi’s first single “Dark Heart”, released on 8 February 2019, gives a taste of what to expect from the album. The track draws influence from the dark synthwave scene, and combines it with her moody pop vocals. The result is a catchy but dark retro pop track. The full album “Villainess” will be released on 23 August.

For more about Jessi, check out her WEBSITE and her FACEBOOK page

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!