“If Stevie Nicks and Lux Interior from The Cramps had a baby, then I would be that child,” singer-songwriter Jesse Jo Stark says of her ’70s-inspired sound. “My childhood was the Spice Girls and Britney Spears, but on the way to school, my dad would play Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson and The Clash. I loved it, but I didn’t want to admit it, because my dad was playing it, you know?”
The 26-year-old Southern California native—and daughter of Laurie Lynn and Richard Stark, the founders of the fashion brand Chrome Hearts—has since embraced her eclectic taste, which will be featured on an EP planned for release in 2018. “I write better when it’s really loud,” Stark says of her creative process. “I’m always taking notes when I’m in the car or if I’m out at a bar.”
The soft-spoken songstress—who opened for Guns N’ Roses this summer—credits her upbringing for her work ethic. “I was around a lot of adults when I was a kid,” says Stark, whose godmother is Cher. “I was always the little one, but they treated me like I was an adult. They never just patted me on the back. It was like, ‘You can be better.’”
Following her 2014 debut EP, Down Your Drain, produced by Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, Stark’s goal is to release a new single (her latest is “Deadly Doll”) each month for the remainder of 2017. “My dream is to make beautiful songs that people dig,” she says. “I dream big, but I think small.”
Photography by J.R. MANKOFF.
Written by LINDZI SCHARF.
Styling by REBECCA RUSSELL.