As the red-hot redhead in the Pussycat Dolls, Jessica Sutta helped to bring the heat to the burlesque singing group.
Since the demise of the Dolls, Sutta has not been idle. Her first major label release, "Show Me," reached the top of the Billboard dance charts last year and this September the Florida native will show fans what she's made of when she releases her debut CD, Sutta Pop. Windy City Times talked with Sutta about moving on, marriage equality and Chicago's sex appeal.
Windy City Times: Congratulations. "Show Me" topped the charts last August on the Billboard Dance/Club Play charts. How did you feel when you got the news?
Jessica Sutta: It was definitely reassuring and it made me really excited to go forward with things because if you really push and don't give up, things can really happen and everything's possible.
WCT: Was having a number-one song with "Show Me" like sweet revenge because you never got to sing lead with the Pussycat Dolls?
Jessica Sutta: I don't see things as negative because I think everything happens for a reason.
WCT: Hollywood Records has been the home of a lot of teen/pop artists, like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. Why did you choose that label?
Jessica Sutta: They've never had an artist like me before and Ken Bunt who took over Hollywood is really excited about our project They are a really cool label and they have a lot of elements that they have never showcased and with me they gave me the freedom to be who I am.
WCT: Is there an artist today who you look up to or would like to have a career similar to?
Jessica Sutta: Kylie Minogue. I have a lot of respect for her because she has so much success and it didn't go to her head it goes in her music and to her fans. That's what I want to do.
WCT: You were in the Pussycat Dolls from 2003 until 2010. According to reports, you were homeless at one point and living on a friend's couch?
Jessica Sutta: We were on tour for years and I just went through a really bad break-up and I moved out of the house I shared with a guy and I was living with my girlfriends. I put my stuff in storage and I was going to get a place when I got back from tour. When I got back I was injured and I couldn't look for a place.
WCT: When you left they were down one member and nobody replaced you?
Jessica Sutta: They wanted to replace me and the girls said no. The girls went on strike and said, "We are not going on the road without Jessica. If you are going to replace her, we are not going on the road."
WCT: What was your relationship like with lead singer Nicole Scherzinger?
Jessica Sutta: I learned a lot from her and I am grateful for it because I wouldn't be where I'm at today as an artist.
WCT: Which of the girls do you still speak to today?
Jessica Sutta: I speak to Ashley [Roberts], Melody [Thornton] and Kimberly [Wyatt]. They're all doing really well. I really truly think that every single one of those girls was very special and that's what made the group last as long as it did and be as successful as it was.
WCT: Why is supporting marriage equality so important to you?
Jessica Sutta: There should be equal rights for every human being. I've actually seen a lot of my gay friends and they're in monogamous relationships and they're building these relationships and I'm thinking...Duh. I mean that's what we've been trying to tell everyone and I think that's why there's so much hatred and everything against them because people just have an idea what gay or homosexuality is.
There was segregation with Blacks and whites 50 years ago; that's despicable. And we're going through that right now with homosexuality and it needs to stop now and finally we have a president who can see it.
WCT: Tell me about your involvement in the NOH8 campaign?
Jessica Sutta: I was drawn to it because I was bullied as a child and it was something that triggered in me that I had to be a part of this. The majority of my friends are gay and I've seen their struggles in their lives with their families or not being able to marry the love of their life.
WCT: Why were you bullied as a child?
Jessica Sutta: I was really into dance and a lot of the girls didn't like that too much. Some of them would go into my bag and rip the buttons off my shirt; I had a padded bra at the time and they would put it in water and show everyone that it was dripping. Luckily, it inspired me to be where I'm at today and it gave me fuel to become famous and follow my dreams.
WCT: You will be performing at Northalsted Market Days in Chicago. What are your memories of the city?
Jessica Sutta: Oh, I love Chicago. It's such a sexy city. It's big and gorgeous and bluesy, and there's a lot of history there.
WCT: What is your philosophy about life?
Jessica Sutta: It's all about love. I know that might sound really corny but it's like the Beatles say, "all you need is love," at the end of the day. If you live from your heart, this world can change.
Jessica Sutta is performing at Northalsted Market Days Saturday, Aug. 11. For ticket information visit www.northalsted.com . To find out more about Jessica Sutta, go to www.jessicasuttaonline.com .