Radar: Jessica 6

by Kristie Bertucci
Photography by Josh DeHonney

Although Brooklyn-based trio Jessica 6 is self-described “contortionist jazz exotica,” listeners may hear more of a unique fusion of dance, R&B, electro, soul and a few other sounds thrown in for extra spice.

“It’s a private joke,” bassist Andrew Raposo laughs. “Actually, it’s a reference we picked up from an episode of Twin Peaks,” adds lead singer Nomi Ruiz, stifling Andrew’s laughter. “So there was this beauty pageant, and during the talent section of it the announcer described one of the girls’ talent as that, and we just thought that it perfectly described our sound.”

Officially meeting while performing with Hercules and Love Affair, Nomi, Andrew and Morgan Wiley (keys/synths) became Jessica 6 in 2008. Andrew and Morgan were originally from DFA’s vanquished hip-hop group Automato, but quickly took to Nomi after sheíd shared a song she wrote with them (the sexy and mesmerizing “Fun Girl”).

The trio messed around with some music and – before they knew it – formed a band, taking its name from the lead character from the erotic flick Logan’s Run. In the few years that the three have become a group, Morgan describes their journey as a long and winding road, but all three note that it’s been an amazing experience.

“We developed our personal relationship live on stage,” says Andrew. “Morgan and I have been playing together for over a decade, and Nomi was next to us every night with Hercules for over a hundred shows. It went from that relationship on stage into something that grew as a studio project.”

The threesome are anxious to finally release their debut LP See the Light, a record inspired by Sade, Madonna, Nina Simone and more, as well as the group’s collective love of Portishead’s seminal Third. “We actually referenced that album a lot while making ours,” confesses Andrew.

Making the record was spontaneous for Jessica 6, which is what makes it so eclectic. “It will surprise people,” he adds. “I think people already have it in their heads that since we used to be in Hercules and Love Affair and Nomi is known for her dance tracks and whatever, that we’re going to ultimately make a dance record – but it’s not. We really followed our hearts while making it, which is what’s given it such a diverse sound.”

A growing fan base is a testament to their diversity, but they’ve also got social media to thank. “I get stalked all the time, so it’s nothing new to me, but Andrew gets a bit freaked out still,” says Nomi of Twitter, which Andrew and Morgan are slowly learning.

With a hectic touring schedule ahead, Jessica 6 is looking forward to taking their show on the road and providing a badass performance for both new and old fans. But when asked what show in particular stood out the most, Nomi noted a jostling experience in Moscow.

“After the stage got bombarded, some guy gave me his underwear and when I looked at it backstage, I saw that they were totally used with holes in it,” she laughs. “I didn’t know they were used!” Andrew exclaims. Just another day in the life of Jessica 6.

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