Jesy Nelson Releases Solo Debut Single ‘Boyz’ Featuring Nicki Minaj

MUSIC

UK pop pioneer, Jesy Nelson, kicks in the door with her massive solo debut single ‘Boyz’, which samples Sean “Diddy” Combs classic anthem “Bad Boy 4 Life”. Released via Polydor, Jesy’s comeback has been hotly anticipated by fans since her departure from BRIT award-winning girl band Little Mix at the end of 2020.

While she acknowledges that many thought her return would be a ballad – something to tease a new direction and get the tastemakers on-side, Jesy isn’t wasting any time on subtleties. Channelling the in-your-face swagger of the noughties US hip-hop and R&B that she grew up on, Jesy flips Diddy’s 2001 anthem ‘Bad Boy 4 Life’ into a reflection on the men she’s attracted to, complete with a verse from rap megastar – and former collaborator – Nicki Minaj who declares the reunion of “the UK baddie and the Barbie!”

A clear statement of intent for her forthcoming solo work, ‘Boyz’ sees Jesy seizing control of her own narrative: conceptualised and co-written by Nelson following a particularly painful break-up. The idea for the sample came while Jesy was suffering from heartbreak, reflecting on the type of boys she finds herself attracted to. “’Why do I like bad boys, what is wrong with me? Why am I attracted to anyone that looks naughty?’” she recalls thinking. “So I messaged [production duo Loose Change] and was like ‘you’ll think I’m a nutter but I really want to write a song about why most women like bad boys and I want to use the Diddy song’ and they were like ‘let’s do it’.”

Excitement for the track has reached a fever pitch, following teasers on social media, Jesy’s fans have been preparing diligently for the collaboration – even revisiting the original sample, and speculating about Jesy and Nicki’s take. It’s a set-up that’s primed for Jesy’s launch into solo stardom, as she readies herself for the career she’s always wanted. “I just want to be myself and be real,” she says. “I want my fans to hear that they’re my stories because they genuinely are. No one has come in and told me what to write about. This is the music I’ve always wanted to make.”

* Photo credit: Jack Bridgland

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