Ahead of the track’s arrival, the 30-year-old sat down for a compelling interview on LIVENow‘s Reign with Josh Smith.
During the candid chat, Nelson opened up about the reasons for her departure from the group, new music, prioritizing self, and much more.
Check out a clip and quotes below…
On how being ‘heartbroken’ for the first time inspired new solo music and lead single Boyz:
“In a nutshell, I went through a breakup and it was probably the first time I’ve ever been heartbroken in my life. It was f**king horrendous, and I was laying in bed and was like, ‘Why is it that when I’ve been with really, really nice boys, that I get bored? And as soon as I get with someone that’s bad, I’m obsessed with them?’ And, ‘Why is it that most girls want a bad boy?’ And I thought, I need to write a song about this. So I was lying in bed and I was like, “Hold on. It would be so sick if I sampled the original Diddy ‘Bad Boys For Life’.” So I messaged the guys that I was working with and I was like, “You’re going to think I’m mental, but I really, really want to sample this song and write a song about why girls like bad boys and why I love a bad boy.” And they were like, “Let’s do it.” Went into the studio, and that was the first song we wrote.”
On finding her voice within her solo songwriting:
“It’s the first time I’ve ever got to really explain how I truly feel in my songs, which is really refreshing and like a weight off my shoulders… I’m taking control of everything now, down to my music videos, down to my styling, down to the… Every single thing. Before it was a collective, now it’s just me and that’s scary, but I love that because if it does go to sh*t, then I’m okay with that because this is my truth and this is what I wanted to do.”
On why going solo being her proudest moment in her life:
“Probably the day of my music video because I honestly never thought I would get to that part of my life. I really, really didn’t because I was down for so long. And I think when you’re in that head space, you feel like you’re never going to get out of it. So, to be there on the set of my music video with all these people there for me, it was very overwhelming. I had a moment where I was like, ‘Oh, holy f**k. This is all for me.’ It was a lot to take in, but yeah, I felt really proud and just watching my mum watch it all, it was such a lovely day. It was such a fun experience.”
On her decision to leave Little Mix:
“I don’t think people really knew that I was really, truly unhappy for quite a long time. It was 10 years of my life, but don’t get me wrong, I had times, and moments when I really loved it, but it felt like there was way more times that I was sad than I was happy. I don’t think people realize how hard it is to be in a girl band. And there’s a lot that comes with it that people don’t know about. And obviously I don’t get to make my own decisions. Three people have to agree as well, so there would always be disagreements on certain things and it’s hard.
I mean I feel like some people won’t understand it and will think this is a bit dramatic, but just little things like being able to wear what I want to wear… when it came to little things, like if we had to do a video and everyone had to wear bikinis and I didn’t want to wear a bikini because I felt like sh*t, I couldn’t not. Because then if I was to wear, I don’t know, trousers and a top, people would be like, ‘Why is Jesy wearing trousers and a top?’ And then I would get loads of sh*t for it. It’s just the little things like that, that would make me feel trapped. And I know that can sound quite dramatic, but I feel like unless you’re in it, you won’t ever understand it. And it was just the constant comparison every single day that was hard and that eventually, after 10 years, takes a massive toll on your mental health. I think that’s what people don’t understand.
I feel like a lot of people think that it’s selfish that I’ve left the group and it really affected me at the start. I really didn’t want to upset people and I didn’t want people to think that about me, but I don’t care anymore, because it was 10 years of my life that I was very unhappy with and I needed to take myself out of that and genuinely do what’s going to make me happy. And some people may not understand that, but you live once and you have to do what makes you happy.
I feel like now I’ve obviously got a lot more freedom. Being in Little Mix is literally like a machine. You don’t have any time off. You can’t switch off. Even when you go home, your phone is constantly going off about work and your life is planned out.”
On the return of her panic attacks before leaving Little Mix:
“…People knew that I was struggling within the team, I’d voiced that. And then obviously I just started having random panic attacks when I was going to work. We did Live Lounge and I had a panic attack. I’d had them in the very beginning of Little Mix, and then I thought I was never going to have them again. I thought I’d got over that and then when they just started happening randomly, I was like, ‘This isn’t right. This isn’t normal.’ And then the last music video that I did, Sweet Melody, I got myself in such a state and it also wasn’t nice for Jade, Perrie, and Leigh-Anne to be around as well. They’re having a great time on a music video, to be around someone that’s having panic attacks and not feeling good in themselves, that’s also not nice for them to be around. And I just felt like I need to remove myself from this situation now because it’s too much now and this isn’t healthy for me to feel this way.
On her Mum’s advice about leaving Little Mix:
“Especially my mum, she was like, ‘I think you really need to look after yourself now because this isn’t healthy.’ And what’s sh*t for my mum is my mum saw me as a barmaid who was very confident, who was always happy, to then go to someone who had no confidence, was down all the time, depressed. And that was really hard as a mum for her to watch… My mum does not care about money, fame, all of that sh*t, she just wants me to be happy. So for her to see her daughter do something that she’s always wanted to do, but see her be so miserable, my mum was like, ‘Why are you doing this? You live once. This isn’t you. This isn’t the Jesy that I know. You’ve become someone I don’t even recognize anymore.’”
On ending her Little Mix journey with Brit Awards win:
“I had honestly the most incredible memories with Little Mix. We laughed so much, they are, they’re like my sisters. Obviously, them getting the number one with Sweet Melody and the BRIT Award is everything they deserve. I was so happy for them when they won that BRIT Award because they f**king deserve it. They really, really do. They are the best girl band in the world and so yeah, it felt really nice. It was a really nice way to end that journey.”
On dealing with her insecurities:
“I’m a human being. I’m always going to have insecurities. There’s going to be days when I wake up and I feel like shit and I’ve put on weight or whatever, but I think now I’m just on my own journey, I’m doing what I love, and I’m not really focused so much now on what I don’t like about myself anymore. I felt like that was generally what a lot of my days were, just comparing myself, picking myself apart. Whereas now I’ve got so much to focus on and I’m doing it all for me, which feels really good.”
With that, what are…