Jessie J ‘ not heard of PJ Harvey or Mercury Awards’ but why should she?

23 year old 600 000 selling pop singer type, Jessie J, was asked about PJ Harvey winning the Mercury Music Prize and has shocked the chattering classes by saying she has never heard of either.

Not sure why this is so shocking – In the real world of pop where people sell millions of records the Mercury awards, despite being called the ‘most important music award’ by the Guardian means little.

Has PJ Harvey heard of Jessie J?

Are things getting a bit out of context here?

What do you think? Is Jessie J out of order for not being in touch with the oldies music scene? Are we losing focus here?

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. not taking the piss, but i’m not sure who jessie j is. i doubt that in 20 years we’re still talking about her (Dry was out in 92, wasn’t it). know what i mean?

  2. It’s nothing to do with age, I know plenty of 23 year olds that know more about music than I do (having grown up with it all at their fingertips). Ask Nathan from Frazer King about music sometime, yoiu’ll need a few hours. Moreover, at 23 Jessie J is older than at least one of the Mercury nominees (James Blake, who’s 22). She’s simply as ignorant as she is irrelevant.

  3. Jesus John, why should we be remotely concerned by what Jessie J has to say about PJ Harvey or the Mercury? Jessie J, like most of the population, have no interest whatsoever in popular music that is not supplied to them on a plate normally via the BBC Radio 1 playlist. PJ Harvey is too important to be lost amidst that mainstream mediocrity. That Jessie J doesn’t know of PJ Harvey is more a sad indictment about the state of popular culture and within that her own self-awareness. Popular music is awash with Jessie j type ‘man-pleasers’ [source unknown]. This generation has watched as the feminism in music has been undermined to the point of extinction and the rise of the sexy starlet has been allowed to occur unchallenged.
    I’ve no interest in awards but I do find it heartening that somebody or some body cares about the music enough to at least provide a platform for the critical assessment of music based on its artistic merit not the capability for the artist to shake their semi-naked arse. That the Mercury judged in favour of PJ Harvey this year vindicates those who don’t sit back and accept mediocrity but who know that a love of music is a two way process and that we, the consumers, should work a little bit to uncover the best of what our culture has to offer.


  4. why the hell should jessie j know ? she is a 23 yr old pop singer..she writes fantastic throw away pop songs ..and PJ writes fantastic crafted songs that wont touch Jessie’s world..should every female artist know every other one ? Lets not forget this is PJ Harvey and as much as we like to think the world knows her..they dont..she is not madonna or kylie even.. her music as fantastic as it is, is still leftfield as far as the public goes. so let jessie live in her world and polly in hers.. end of move on

    • You think it’s that easy? No, my friend. It’s not just about ‘different worlds’, it’s about the preservation of music as an art form and as a cultural heritage. PJ Harvey understands and epitomises this, but for every artist like her, there are a hundred Jessie J’s who do not; nor do they give a shit about artistic or cultural integrity. They are drowning it, along with the faceless pop-trash entity that perpetuates them. To say what you just did is to turn a blind eye to the death of art in this country.

  5. WHy should Jessie J know who PJ Harvey is? I hate this middle class take over of music, this 1950’s style BBC knows better than you sniffiness, this idea that our music is better and pop music like Jessie J will soon be forgotten.

    The Mercurys mean nothing to most people, like the appalling BBC coverage of Glastonbury it’s just another smug, middle class hijacking of pop culture turning it into respectable music to do degrees on at college.

    • Well, there’s a fallacy right there. To assume that it’s all ‘middle class’ is ridiculous and insulting. I’m working class, and I adore PJ Harvey, because unlike some people, I give a damn about art and music, and to see and hear such apathy and misplaced scorn when it comes to some nobody pop bitch flaunting her ignorance of her betters is disgusting. You’re disgusting.

      • Mate, relax! What the fuck do you care for what Jessie J thinks about the Mercury or PJ Harvey? The latter probably never heard of the former either, so it’s all good. To each its own, mate.

        • *sigh* You’re right. I was just feeling pissed off that the artists that deserve the level of recognition that ‘pop’ acts get are so easily overlooked.

  6. …and Madonna and Kylie will be remembered long after P J has been forgotten. Your point is?

    Has pop music always been this self-referencial? (Thinks… actually probably, yeah!)


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