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Takeaways from Jesse Jo Stark’s Artist Friendly interview

Jesse Jo Stark joined Joel Madden on the newest episode of the Artist Friendly podcast, presented by Alternative Press. Here’s what we learned. Continue reading…



Still flying off her evocative debut album, DOOMED, alternative musician and fashion darling Jesse Jo Stark stopped by Joel Madden’s Artist Friendly podcast for another exciting episode. From the jump, it’s clear that these two artists go way back, and they get into an interesting discussion about being shaped by creative families, the allure of Mazzy Star, and dealing with anxiety. It’s available now wherever you listen to podcasts.

Read more: Fan Poll: 5 greatest albums of the 2000s

Before you queue up the new episode, we rounded up a few takeaways from their conversation. Check them out below.

Stark has great respect for her parents’ legacy with Chrome Hearts

Being raised in a creative family gave Stark the drive to want to “do everything.” “I’ve always wanted to work, and I wanna have respect for myself and my art,” she tells Madden. Stark also has deep respect for her parents and the legacy they’ve created over the past three decades with their luxury brand. Chrome Hearts is a fashion powerhouse, worn by stars as diverse as Rihanna, Slash, and James Blake, but it’s the result of hard work. 

She wasn’t comfortable with her body until she was in her mid-20s

During one of Stark’s first photo shoots, she wanted to be naked with a spiderweb. After connecting with a photographer she loved through Instagram, she remembers feeling comfortable immediately. It was more like friends collaborating on an art project than anything else. “That was the first time I felt empowered and not embarrassed,” she stresses. For someone who went from wearing big shirts at the beach to really feeling herself, the transformation was a massive turning point.

artist friendly jesse jo stark


She’s obsessed with the cover for her debut album, DOOMED

The album cover of Stark’s 2022 debut album, DOOMED, looks just like an oil painting, and it’s a vibe that she’s obsessed with. Drawn by Greg Hildebrandt (Star Wars: A New Hope, Lord of the Rings), the artwork offers a striking entry point into her world. But it was the attention to detail that blew her away, especially when asked if she wanted a tail or not. “I was freaking out. This is the only question I need to be asked ever,” she laughs. “This whole process was insane. I was in awe.”

Stark loves Mazzy Star and Annie Lennox

Stark admits that for a time, she was obsessed with sounding “raw and rock like the Cramps.” Now, however, she’s experimenting, and the pressure she was putting on herself feels less serious. “I’m listening to Annie Lennox every day,” she says. Stark also admits that she loved Mazzy Star long before the band spiked in popularity, using their music to get deep in her feelings. “I went to see them play, and everyone was sitting on the floor. I want 5,000 people sitting on the floor watching me,” she says.

She gets anxiety

During the podcast episode, Stark freely admits that she has anxiety. “Not LA anxiety,” she clarifies with a smile. When it’s bad, she says it gets to an 11. It also manifests in different ways, where she can’t breathe or now even gets flight anxiety. “You have to vocalize it. People are not taught that it’s not embarrassing. [You have to say], ‘I’m having anxiety — I need to step away. Hold my hand. Breathe with me.’ Otherwise, your thoughts go into a whole, ‘I’m gonna die here,’” she explains. But Stark also pushes herself to move beyond it, realizing that her anxiety can hold her back from having a good time.


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