Jess Connelly is an R&B singer and MTV VJ who’s making her mark

Jess Connelly from Manila, Philippines, is taking over their R&B scene, and has already booked the gig of hosting MTV Philippines.

She’s into old school hip hop and laid back fashion, and we’re into her video for her newest song, “Turn Me Down.” Be sure to check out the video here and our interview with Jess below.

You just premiered a video for your new song, “Turn Me Down.” Tell us about the inspiration behind your video and how it correlates with the lyrics of the song.

I worked with my friend, Paco Raterta, on the video. I trusted his vision 100% and he understood the dreamy vibe that I wanted to create for the song. In the hook there’s a line, “Boy there ain’t no one around.” Essentially the video is just me and the viewer kind of in our own world.

Do you find that your visuals are just as important as your songs?

Yes, in my opinion visuals bring everything full circle. You can love a song, but having great visuals elevates the music and helps communicate the whole message. It’s also another fun thing to create, and for me, music is more than just what it sounds like.

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How did you first get into R&B music?

I’m the youngest, and when I was growing up, my brother and sister listened to a lot of 90’s and 00’s R&B, hip hop and rap. I grew up in suburban Australia, so urban music wasn’t the most common thing to listen to. I would steal the albums my siblings bought and search related artists online and on Limewire to rip.

Who and what are your influences?

When I was little all I wanted to be was Britney Spears. I don’t know why I was so infatuated with her, but she definitely played a part in why I always wanted to pursue music. I’ve also always loved the style sounds of artists like Aaliyah and Sade. I appreciate artists like Solange and FKA Twigs, and I admire the image and art they have created for themselves and how they do it. I also listen to a lot of rap. I like everything from hard to laid back, I like the different kinds of moods rap can put you in.You’re big into fashion. Who is your favorite designer and why?

I don’t think I’m a big fashion girl, but I enjoy dressing up. For me, clothes are a way to express myself and feel comfortable. If my daily uniform was Margiela, I would be fine with that. I like clean cut, relaxed silhouettes that still feel sexy.

How would you describe your style?

Laid back feminine and functional. I want to be able to move around and feel good in any situation that I am dressing up for.What helps you feel inspired when you’re writing music?

When I love the beat I am writing to. Good music always inspires me to express a mood. New surroundings inspire me. I like hearing sounds that I create in unfamiliar places.

What’s the song your jamming to currently?

“For Real” by Lil Uzi Vert.READ ALSO: How inner peace can give you true confidence

Where are you from? How do you think that has influenced your music/style?

I’ve been living in Manila for about 7 years now. I was an extreme introvert growing up in Australia. I am half Filipino, so when I moved to Manila I felt comfortable exploring myself and going for what I want. The creative scene here is thriving and it influenced me to do whatever I like when it comes to my style and music. What is most exciting about joining MTV Philippines as the host?

Just the fact I’m working with MTV is pretty cool to me. I was never interested in doing anything in TV to be honest, but the MTV opportunity just randomly and organically fell into place and it felt right to do. I’m also lucky the show is relative to everything I am interested in.

What’s next for your music career?

“Turn Me Down” was the 1st track from my upcoming project, so one by one I want to release a couple tracks from it before the whole mixtape drops. Expect more music and more videos soon!

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Photography: Skye Jones

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