SAN JOSÉ -- She started playing the piano by age 4, the saxophone by age 9 and she loves jazz music.
Jessy J grew up listening to her father's favorites: Sergio Mendes, Trío Los Panchos, Banda El Recodo. Her father, a native from Sinaloa México, loves music she said.
"I am the only musician in my family but my dad loves music. He knows a lot of songs and artists and I used to listen to his records growing up; I learned that (Latino) music just from hearing it," said Jessy, 32. "I studied jazz in college (University of Southern California) and then I blended the two together when I was putting my band together; the fusion of Latin jazz, jazz and pop music and some classical influences as well."
Today, Jessy J is getting ready to release her third music album, 'Hot Sauce.'
" 'Hot Sauce' is based on the play of hot and cool. So the element of the jazz being really cool like in the songs of 'Río Grande' which has to do with immigration laws right now. Another cool song would be 'In a Sentimental Mood.' On the hot side -- the most picante side -- the song is 'Hot Sauce' because is a fast tempo, it's fiery; it has a lot of passion. So each song is hot and then it's cold, then it's hot, then cold," she said.
Growing up, Jessy J -- who was born in Portland, Oregon -- said she looked for ways to express her artistic side.
"As a kid, I was really intro drawing and painting, I was into expressing my artistry in other ways and I always enjoyed dancing as well. I love to write music, it's one of my passions," she said.
Jessy J is no stranger to the music industry.
The saucy Latina was a backup vocalist for Michael Bolton, she performed with Henry Mancini Jazz Orchestra and she participated in the Broadway musical 'Blast!' She also has done studio work with Michael Bublé, Seal, The Temptations, Jessica Simpson, Michael Bolton and Gloria Trevi.
"This has been the only profession I've ever had. I've had a great experience with music and I feel very fortunate to be able to perform and play regularly," she said.
Currently, Jessy J has been touring with Cristián Castro in his 'Viva el Príncipe' U.S. tour.
"His musical director was looking for someone to play the saxophone that could sing and asked me if I was available and it fit perfectly with my schedule," she said. "I'm really a big fan of music all over the world and Latin América -- especially since my dad is from México.
"I love to be involved in the Latino culture because it's my roots, got my history there. The culture is so rich. The music is filled with passion and emotion and I feel that in that same way I try to capture that when I write my own music as well."
Of all the instruments, why the saxophone?
"The thing I love about the saxophone is the character and the personality of the tone. I feel like the instrument has a lot personality and also I started playing when I heard jazz music and I really fell in love with making up my own songs and melodies, writing music, as well as playing jazz standards," said Jessy, who could be considered a classic in the jazz genre.
"I am Latina and I'm a jazz musician; there are not that many female Latin jazz musicians. I sing and I play the instrument: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, and flute. So whenever people see me play they get really happy and they are very supportive of me. I find the Latino community to be like a family," she said.
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