Jessy Lanza clears her head


The FADER: How did you find the atmosphere of moving, and moving to New York especially, changed how you thought about your music?
Jessy Lanza: A huge influence for me was getting to hang out with like.. I met DJ Swisha, and AceMo, and Chris Jones, and they were like these people that I’d listened to for a long time. The first time I became aware of Swisha was when my friend Sherelle, she’s from the UK, played me this bootleg remix that Swisha had done of my song “Never Enough,” and I liked it more than the original track. When I moved to New York I got to meet him and hang out with him, and see the way that he worked and made tracks. If a track wasn’t working, he would just be like “fuck it,” and move on, which is the opposite of [me.] I would really get so precious about stuff, and I was quite annoying to myself in that way. That was a huge influence for me, just being able to hang out with them and see the way they worked. They worked really fast and it was really fun. I was feeling kinda shitty at that time, too, so it had a huge influence on me.

Do you think if you had spent your whole career in New York you would still make the same kind of music?
I think being sentimental is such a big part of my music. I write on emotions that are based so much in my childhood, and my family is so interconnected to my music. I’m very glad that I left Hamilton, because I think it helped me to grow as a person, but at the same time, I’m so tethered to that place — my parents were both musicians and they set me in that direction. It wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t spent as much time there as I did. I’m very close to my family.

So, you’ve spoken about coming to terms with anger management issues around the time you were making this record. How did that process begin, of realizing you were struggling with anger and then learning to cope?
The album helped a lot. My partner and I would get in these banger fights — I’m sure lots of people can relate to [the point in an argument] where you could say sorry, but then a lot of the time my pride gets in the way and I just go full hog. [In every fight] I kinda choose to go nuclear and not back down.

I’m sure you’ve seen the video of the Trader Joe lady, who just throws her basket. She’s a fucking maniac, and you can see she had a choice: you don’t have to be the psycho lady in Trader Joe’s. But there she is. I would never do that, but in those private fights with my partner, I made the choice so quick, I didn’t even know that I had made it, I let my pride get in the way. I think it was just noticing that these issues were kinda following me around. Up until that point it had been easy to blame [whichever] partner, maybe I could blame Hamilton, I could blame a lot of things. The reality was that I felt irritated all the time, and I was sick of feeling that way. I was mad at myself too, because I don’t really have much to complain about in the grand scheme of things.

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