The Exposé Epistle

Interview with Jeanette Jurado, 2009

John R. Troy:  When did you first started singing, or moving in the direction of that career path in your childhood or adolescence?  When did you first see it as a serious thing.

Jeanette Jurado:  Gosh, it's so weird to say—it's always been part of me.  As a little girl my sisters and I sang often.  And my family, much to my hatred of it, would make us all sing in front of our aunts and uncles when they visited—I'm the middle child of three sisters.  We did that often and that lead to me my singing at school and school functions.  It also led me to sing in choirs.  I ended up entering a band in High School, one of my best friends John, asked if I was interested in auditioning for a band, I did, and for whatever reason, I joined.  At this time I was only sixteen years old, so I was joining a band that was planning to play in nightclubs, so it was funny they wanted me to join...

JRT:  Around what time was this?

JJ:  I think about 1981.  So anyway, for some reasons the nightclub owners allowed me to sing in their nightclubs, so I was going to school during the day and singing at the clubs at night.  I remember working on  Wednesdays thru Saturdays, I would work from 9PM to 2AM, then went to school the next day, so it was kind of crazy then (laughter).   That lead to me (joining) other bands, until the time I met Lewis and...actually, I met the girls first, I met Ale'...

JRT:  Before you go on with that, it's been mentioned in other print interviews and articles--weren't you in a band named Nu  Breeze?  Wasn't that the last band you were in?

JJ:  That was the last band I was in prior to being in Exposé.  It was a band of two brothers, and we used to do lots of R&B covers like Teena Marie, did a lot of Prince.  We practiced our choreography, and we partook in "battle of the bands", I think we came in second place or so, almost got a record deal.  It was so much fun and I learned so much from those guys—Bruce Soto was the leader of that band, and he always had a natural presence on the stage.  It was so much fun and I learned a lot about performance that way.  I also loved the band I was in before Nu Breeze, but Bruce showed me how to carry myself on-stage.

JRT:  And then as you were saying you met the prior incarnation—the prototype of Exposé?  What made you decide to join?

JJ:  Lewis had asked me to join with the other two girls.  Actually, before we met, Ale'  was the first one to meet with me—she met me at a club and she told me she did not want to be in her group and she asked me to take her place.  She asked me to sing Point of No Return because she wanted to hear me.  After I did that she said she wanted me to take her place.

I considered it, but at the time I couldn't imagine or envision myself on stage with the other two girls.  I just couldn't see it happening—it didn't make me feel good, it didn't seem right.  So I turned it down.  And, what really made me want to join the group was when I found out that they would not be in the group and that two other people would be joining the group.  And the fact that I had just broken up with my boyfriend and had wanted to STAY broken up with him made me really want to get out of town!  (Laughter).

JRT:  That's pretty interesting!

JJ:  Yeah, he had always said "you and I are always gonna break up and then get back together", and me being stubborn I said "Oh Yeah", and that encouraged me to leave.

JRT:  You're the only one of the girls who really had to move away from home, right?  Since Ann had grown up in Miami and Gioia had been living there for some time.  You were the refugee from California...

JJ:  Exactly!  (Laughter)

JRT:  How did you handle moving to Florida.  I believe you used to live with Gioia in an apartment in your early days.

JJ:  At first, I moved into my Manager's mother's place, while I was recording the first record.  That experience was crazy.  I had never lived with air conditioning in California—we never had it, even in a car.  But in Florida, it's so hot you have air conditioning on all the time, you need it.  This caused me to completely lose my voice—I didn't know how to handle it, it was such a foreign place to me.  It was just bizarre...

JRT:  But isn't California as hot as Florida.

JJ:   California isn't as hot as Florida, at least in the same way—we didn't have air conditioning in my house growing up in California.  In Florida you had air conditioners all around—in the cars, my apartment at the time, and in the studios I was recording in.  I know why, it was so hot!  But my voice had a strange reaction to the constant air conditioners—I started to lose my voice when working in the studios with Lewis.  I didn't know why at the time.  Lewis figured it out and told me it was the AC and I needed to find somewhere to stay that wasn't air conditioned.  My manager found me a place for me to stay—his brother was out of town--where we couldn't turn on the air conditioner.  But it was hot, this was July and I was in the pool a lot.  But I ended up getting my voice back.  But it was weird to learn how air conditioning and the lack of humidity can affect a voice.

From there I moved in with Gioia—because I had literally moved from California without meeting either Gioia or Ann.  I ended up meeting Gioia the first night I arrived from Miami.  Lewis and the guys who were handling things back then invited me to a club, and of course I wanted to go.  So as we were walking into the club I saw this tiny little person looking like a rock and roll star already—she had this coolest little rock and roll haircut, and was wearing the coolest clothes, etc.  That's the first time I saw her—we danced together on the floor and talked a bit and that was our introduction.

JRT:  You're fame pretty much skyrocketed in the first couple of years—of course fame being a relative term—it took off pretty quick.  You had 4 top ten singles in the span of a year and a half.  That had to be pretty crazy for you.

JJ:  Absolutely, it was pretty much like a tornado coming through.  I don't think we even realized it at the time.  To us, we had come from working in Top 40 bands, so we were a little used to the craziness, working 5 nights a week in those bands.   We were digging the travelling, hearing our songs on the radio, etc...

JRT:  Wasn't there a period when the club shows graduate to larger places like arenas—not the huge ones but you know what I mean?  It graduated to a certain point.

JJ:  I remember the first single was released in November of '86, and by February or March we were gearing up for our first tour.  We had only been in the group for a few months and already we were pretty much out of the clubs and into larger venues—how lucky were we?

JRT:  You mentioned tours—and I know you toured with Lisa Lisa.  For the record—is it true that the band members of Lisa Lisa's entourage tried to sabotage your equipment?  I heard that from a couple of people.

JJ:  Yeah—(laughter)—I believe that happened--even though I wasn't there when it was happening, and nothing was ever said to any of us, myself, Ann, or Gioia—we suspect it was always from somebody from the crew, and was kind of hearsay.   Later in the tour there were things happening, certain microphones we weren't allowed to use... however—I just want to be clear, this was a long time ago and memories are fuzzy—we can look back and laugh on it now.

JRT:  Was this sort of a case of the opening act starting to eclipse the lead act, which can happen from time to time?

JJ:  That's what our sound person and road manager felt—and I'd agree. 

JRT:  That's not a very unusual occurrence, right?

JJ:  Yeah, it's part of being an opening act.  It seems the higher our songs charted the more we had stuff taken away at the show.  (Laughter).  But we overcame it.

JRT:  And then you did your TV appearances, and the videos...hmm...looking back on what you've done on music videos, are you ever embarrassed with your fashion sense.  Were you responsible for your look or the managers, etc.?  How much control did you have?

JJ:  Well, I can't be embarrassed by my fashion sense, because I never really had any fashion sense whatsoever!  (Laughs)

JRT:  Well, it seems earlier it got away from the weirdness—although I think the mid 80s was a very weird time in fashion in general!

JJ:  It's crazy—but I must say that neither Annie nor I ever teased our hair before.  To do hair, pick clothes, setup videos, etc.  The person who ended up being in charge of our hair at the time,   was Cheecky(sp?).  And she would totally spike our hair up—Ann and I thought that was so odd, but that was the look, we followed it, and Gioia was the only who did it herself—she used to help us tease our hair a lot.

JRT:  The Come Go With Me video—were you guys wearing wigs at one point—the black and white sequences?  (Jeanette Laughs)  I just remembered hair like spiky afros.

JJ:  Let me set this straight—I have never had to wear a hairpiece!  Ann had a ponytail added in one of the scenes

JRT:  I know the sequence you're talking about, I just am thinking of the Black and White sequences –all of you had the same haircut, kind of like Angela Davis after she put a finger through a light socket! 

JJ:  (Laughter)—well, like I said, unfortunately that's what I look like with my hair teased.  I have video of this—Gioia teasing our hair before a club show.  I don't think Gioia had to wear extensions; Ann did have a pony tail.  But it's funny, because it was the 80s, and everybody had that sort of spiky hair.

JRT:  Well, as you got along in your career the fashions and hair sort of went away...y'know, what I'd call artificial types of the time you got to the Season's Change video you started looking better, more au natural

JJ:  Well, for that one it would have looked ridiculous. Imagine us sadly packing up and leaving our house with long spiky hair and mini skirts (Laughter).  We had to dress down for that and we loved it.

JRT:  Now, the process of recording the second album, what made that different from the first.

JJ:  During the first album in many cases we didn't all peform in the same room as a group, there was a little more isolation—Gioia would record some songs by herself, we didn't get the change to sing all of our backgrounds together as a group in one take in the same room.  It was a definite improvement for us to work in a more integrated fashion with that second album—there are a lot of good and even bittersweet memories from that experience.

JRT:  It's gotta be hard at times.  I know you try to keep a songwriter involved who does the best work, etc...especially at a big label that's songwriter friendly like Arista.  I know it's gotta be frustrating for you since Lewis—and I respect his musical talent—but based on the credits, in the studio process at times he would add a lot of other singers in the background—he had three other background singers including a guy! 

JJ:  I think Lewis is very talented, since he created songs that people love.  But with every singer, songwriter, producer, whatever—you have your strong and weak points.  Now, with my experience I've worked with producers who worked well with harmonies and arrangements (of vocals), and I don't believe Lewis had as much experience with that—Lewis seemed to be focused on the lead vocal and then smaller harmonies "stuck on top".   I just don't believe he used Gioia, Annie or myself to our full extent.  And it's just like anything else—with growth and change comes experience.  And I did like working with Lewis, I respect his talent as songwriter and producer.

I but I'm glad we got to do more with other producers who also were able to allow us to reach our potential.  I just love singing harmonies with the other girls and just getting that right combination.  I loved with Ann and with Gioia or Kelly in my experience.  The very first time we got to do that was with the Jingle Bells song with Barry Manilow.  Barry asked us to come in and sing, which that was the first time we really got to sing harmony together in the studio and work together like that.

JRT:  How was touring for the second album?  It seemed like the audience dwindled a bit, I'm not sure you got the big arenas like you did before.

JJ:  Actually, we did play some huge venues on that tour.  It wasn't as...I don't want to say exciting, because anytime you play a venue it's exciting.  But the initial craziness had dwindled, we weren't "on the rise" at that time.

JRT:  They released that album pretty darn quickly, and the singles were released pretty fast—you ended up having three top 10 hits in the span of 6 months, starting in May or June (of 1989)—I wonder if there was a little "rushing" going on.

JJ:  I never thought of our singles being rushed, actually.  But I know you pay a lot more attention to things like that John.  (Laughter)   Being a part of a major record label, you realize that they have schedules, which is not something I ever saw as a music fan.  Our label had many artists and groups and there's a lot of scheduling to keep as many singles on the charts as they can to maximize the effect.  Thus, if they know there's another release from our label-mates coming three or six months away they will release our singles first to prevent us from competing with others.  The scheduling can be a little tricky at times...

JRT:  Arista had so many hit artists at the time I guess it was hard to figure out where to place people at times.

JJ:  Yeah, I would think so, and as Clive, sitting in the big chair, had to work on juggling all those artists.  It's all part of the process.

JRT:  I did want to ask you something I missed—and let me know if this is too personal—didn't you at one time have some trouble or issues with a stalker or stalkers?

JJ:  Yes.  I did and, it was scary and I'm sure it affected me like it would anybody who's ever had problems like that.  Most people, I think, try to separate their personal lives from their careers.  Although I'm not putting myself in the same circle as today's Hollywood stars—they can't go anywhere now without having photos taken, and I think it's more and more difficult today...I just think it's scary when someone takes such an interest in you that they know too much about you.  And—and so, it was dealt with, and to this day I'm very careful with facts such as where I live, etc., because I'd rather not have it out there.

JRT:  Around 1990, there was a lot of chaos going on.  I know that Gioia ended up getting sick and had to leave the group.  When did you guys know about this, since there's a lot of confusion about this time.  Apparently it happened earlier, but fans didn't know until the summer of 1992, for instance.  When did you and Ann know for certain?

JJ:  Well, we were on tour—we knew she was having trouble vocally—we also knew she was torn between being on tour and being with her daughter, and being a mom now I totally understand that.  We knew there was a possibility of her not coming back, but in order for it to be official a doctor was necessary to produce an accurate diagnosis.  She didn't just quit—she literally had to be excused by a doctor.  Until we got that we didn't know for certain.  I think we had to cancel to tour because of these ongoing vocal problems at the time.

JRT:  It's just a curiosity—there were other things involved.  You mentioned the Barry Manilow song, you ended up having to record the video and she wasn't there...

JJ:  But that wasn't because of her voice.  She was pregnant when we did that video—she was very very late in her pregnancy, and that's the reason she wasn;t in the video, or I'm not sure if she chose or her production company didn't want her in the video, but it was for some reason.  I believe we filmed that in Los Angeles, and there's a certain time during pregnancy when you're not supposed to be on a plane.

JRT:  It really was that long ago?  I believe Barry's album came out in late 1990 and the video came out in 1991.  That seems like a long time between production and release?

JJ:  You know, that's true—I really don't remember every single detail.  It was so long ago.  There was a time when she was unavailable because of her pregnancy, and then doctor's orders because of her voice.  I don't remember being out of touch with Gioia at that time.  I do remember being upset Gioia wasn't there at the time.  Ann and I never felt all that comfortable working without Gioia at that time, or any time up until the time she had to leave because of her condition—even then, it took a while to figure out what we could do.  Our relationship over the years, both good and bad, has made us very strong.

JRT:  I was just curious because that was the one video where you had a disclaimer, since there was a live song done at the recording time and it had to have this disclaimer about that since Arista lost a legal class action suit with Milli-Vanilli customers, the customers turned out to have the right to get their money back from that fiasco.

JJ:  We absolutely had that in mind.  We were very excited to film this video with Barry.  We were also careful and had to deal with that concern (regarding vocal credit).  There was also stuff going on with Paula Abdul at the time...

JRT: And Martha Wash.  That was the whole thing where people were getting really upset about this stuff.  Of course now, we have all these artists today using Auto-Tune, and I think "well, jeez, what happened to this outrage"?  And the disclaimer was also to make it clear that Gioia was not being replaced, Sinoa was not a member of Exposé.

JJ:  Right.  Well, since you stated that Gioia was important to you, and she was unavailable for this video, how did you end up choosing who'd be in it with you, assuming it was even your choice.

JJ:  Well, I don't remember who sent it to us—Barry didn't make that choice—I believe Annie and Myself had to make that choice.  But somebody sent us the video of this girl.  Sinoa came in to do this video—and then we never thought of her again!  (Laughter).  Isn't that kind of cheesy?

JRT:   I suspect she might have had plans with the label.  Sinoa Loren was first in Seduction, who actually replaced a woman in that group—then later I guess she was signed to Arista because she ended up being on the Soundtrack to The Shadow movie adaptation and even appeared as a nightclub singer in that movie.

 JJ:  Oh, that's right, I remember seeing it.

JRT:  It's gotta be great to have a song now on the radio that you get to hear every year during the holiday season.  Some of your stuff might become "dated oldies" over time, but Christmas music tends to carry on for years!

JJ:  It's it awesome.  I get the biggest joy out of that John, and it's an even bigger thrill when I'm with my kids walking or driving around during the holidays—and that song comes on the radio, and my boys say "Mom, there you are", when Jingle Bells comes on every year.  Because of Barry and his career and prestige I'll bet that song will be on the radio during the holidays for years to come.

JRT:  Don't rule yourself out either!  I remember a few DJs who would put that song on and just credit it as "Exposé", probably not thinking Barry Manillow was hip enough!   (Laughter).

JJ:  I just think it will be so cool that my relatives will grow up listening to that during the holidays the same way we did other classic Christmas songs.

JRT:  Switching gears, with the third album—and sorry to rush, I want to make sure I get to some of your post-Exposé stuff.  With the third album, you had a lot more control—not so much you could write your own songs, but you could pick some from a list.  You had other producers.  Lewis still had some songs, which I guess you had to do...

JJ:  (Laughter).  "Had to do?"  You're so funny...

JRT:  Well, I think contractually he was obligated to have some songs on the album...So, how was that experience.  Did you have a lot of fun with that.   Since you worked with 4 different production teams you had to fly out to four different studios—Miami, New York, Los Angeles for Diane Warren and Guy Roche, and even England for one song. 

JJ:  We absolutely had an amazing time recording that third record.  There were wonderful stories, a wonderful feeling.  Because this was the first time I remember being there when everything was being done!   We saw it being mixed.  When Annie was doing her vocals—if I wasn't in the mixing room with the engineers I was sitting in the studio on a stool when she sang.  Same with Kelly.  We loved the studios we were in.  I remember thinking it was so amazing, and I just remember being pleased and thinking "this is what it's supposed to feel like!".

JRT:  It was a little disappointing to me that with that album—you had all worked so darn hard on that album, but the marketplace seemed a little skeptical of it.  You didn't have the same level of hits you did on your past two albums.  And you didn't get to tour for quite a while—you ended up doing a promotional tour first that Kelly has described as akin to "Hell on wheels", going to all those cities.  (Jeanette Laughs).  You ended up doing  a short spurt of a live band tour after I'll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me) hit the Top 10 and number 1 AC.   I was at one of those shows, and the audience had dwindled a bit.  That had to be a bit hard on you guys, right?

JJ:  It was a little difficult for us, especially for live performances.  But as far as the record is concerned, I love that record a lot, and I'm glad that Clive led us in that direction.  And I know that some of our audience didn't follow us, because we did not stay true to our dance roots, for instance, but I loved having the opportunity to change direction.

JRT:  I just wish they could have tried to bridge the gap—it seemed like, I know I've said this before.  It seemed the record label was trying to look for the next "Wilson Phillips", and I think they pushed so much of those ballads as singles they ignored some of the other things that could have been hits, like Angel—I know you all love that song.

JJ:  I agree!  I wish they would have released that song.   It's such a great song...

JRT:  I think with some of the up-tempo stuff they could have had extra remixes, etc.  I just feel bad for Ann.  She ended up waiting so long to get to sing lead singles, and those didn't do very well for her.

JJ:  Not only that—but I think behind the scenes that there was a lot of trouble between the record company and the production company.   I think Lewis might have been upset he didn't have as much control, for instance...

JRT:  There was a lot of chaos at that time.  I think at the time the album was released their studio [Pantera] was broke and they had gotten damaged from Hurricane Andrew.  The fan club was in disarray...

JJ:  They didn't really handle it correctly.  I know that's kind of harsh but I believe that's the truth.  And it was so out of our hands, we didn't even know what was going on.  And that I think also hurt the third record.  I just think there were too many cooks in the kitchen.  It was just very chaotic...there was a lot of pressure from various sources to do different things.  There's so much business involved in the music industry, and I happen to hate that side of things.  The reward for going through that stress is being able to hear the outcome of your creation in the final product and the tours.  Unfortunately, the good stuff, touring and recording, is a tiny part, with the biggest payoff—the business is a bigger part and it's kind of the part nobody likes.  But you have to love the artistic part a lot, since that's the reward for dealing with the business side.

JRT:  It's just too bad that a lot of people who are producers—especially in the dance genre—don't seem to respect the vocalists.  Because that is what you are, a vocal group, a group of singers.  That's the one thing people want.  There's a bad history in the industry of that.

JJ:  Well, I think there are some dance songs out there that are—and I have to say—are hits because of the song, and you don't have to sing because of it, and you don't have to perform.  And some acts don't really perform live because the vocal is on the track.  But we never really did that, we would always go out and sing live.  And I think that was part of the problem—we were always marketed as a dance group, and not as vocalists.  But we were vocalists, and we wanted to show that, and prove that to people.

JRT:  And then we all know what happened next—you released a greatest hits album.  During this time, I know the greatest hits was actually delayed, it was supposed to be out in 1994 and came out in 1995.  During that time the movie My Family came out.  Tell me how you got to do that role.

JJ:  They just kind of called out of the blue and got in touch with my manager at the time.  Production on the movie had just begun, and they wanted somebody Hispanic, preferably Mexican, to play the part of Rosie of Rosie and the Originals.  Rosie's song—that particular song, Angel Baby, is kind of a theme song for East LA.  I grew up on the radio listening to it, and to this day you can still hear it playing on some stations.  Play Angel Baby at a dance at East LA and everybody's dancing to it.  I think that's why they chose me, considering my background and where I grew up.  I was absolutely thrilled.  However, Believe it or not the production company didn't want me to do it!

JRT:  Really?!

JJ:  Yes, it turned into a huge fight again.  They thought I was seeking to stand out amongst the group, and trying to be a solo artist where I wasn't.  So they had tried to keep me out of it.  I remember some "deal with the Devil" I had to make to get to do it.  There was some deal made (laughter).

JRT:  That sounds pretty dumb to me.  They can't prevent you from doing stuff on your own, right?  It didn't seem like the soundtrack was plugging or identifying you as a member of Exposé on it!  It wasn't hyped.

JJ:  That was probably the deal I made—no mention of Exposé, but to be honest they could prevent me from doing that, or prevent me from singing anywhere.  Like I said, I don't remember the exact deal I had to make to do it, but I was happy to do it.

JRT:  When did you record that?

JJ:  I literally flew in from Los Angeles.  I knew the song by heart so I didn't need any time to practice it.  I flew in, I was literally in the recording studio one day to record the vocal and then on the film set the next day.  The entire thing was done in two days.

JRT:  Wow, now did you get a SAG card from that?

JJ:  (Laughter)—I don't even remember John!  What a question...

JRT:  Well, if you get a SAG card, then you're made because you can vote in the Oscars, and have your relatives and friends bug you on who to vote for best film.

JJ:  I was happy to be part of it, and to be part of the ensemble cast of great actors.  And it was exciting to go to the movie theater and see my big Ol' head on the screen.  And it was really big!  (Laughter).  I still get requests on MySpace—which I only log into about every three months or so, since I know you complain about that—and  I get requests for the track Are You Really Sincere, which wasn't on the soundtrack.  It wasn't a real song on the radio, and it wasn't done by any real group.  It was just written for the movie.

JRT:  That song's funny since you only get to sing half of it before you rush off to avoid a fight.

JJ:  Yeah, because, the fight goes down.  But so many people write to me and say "Can you Please Post the Song", "Can you please post the song", etc.  I used to have a version, but I can't find it—or at least one without movie dialog.

JRT:  Now at this point, you also kind of—what did you do next.  From what I heard you did club gigs or were part of bands in various locations on the West Coast?

JJ:  I sang in one band since Exposé  [Safe Sax].  And I was part of a Latin Trio called Lambada, the first time I really sang in Spanish.  And my friend Toto is an amazing flamenco guitarist.  And we would do Brazilian songs, we would do stuff in Spanish.  I learned how to play percussion, shakers, etc...

JRT:  Ah, the Shaker!  I see this a lot, on places like Internet Movie Database.  There is a Jeanette Jurado credited with being a "shaker" on the soundtrack and credits to the animated film Anastasia.  Was that you?

JJ:  That is me!  As I found out from my gigs it turned out I had amazing timing—with shakers and percussion.  And one time I was sitting in the studio with Guy, Guy Roche who produced our songs and others.  And I was working with him after Exposé, I was working with him on some demos I was creating.  And Guy was doing a track with Aaliyah, and he said "I really need to hire a percussionist to play a shaker", and I said I could do it.  He laughed and said "I really need somebody professional with timing", and I said "get me a shaker, and I'll do it".  So Guy laughed at me, threw me a shaker, and put me behind a mike.  And I ended up doing the track, and he was surprised I could do that.  Funny, huh?

JRT:  Yeah, I wanted to clear that up, since sometimes people write stuff on Wikipedia and IMDB and don't have all the facts, so I was wondering if that credit was actually you or a person with the same name.  For example, some people think that you're really part Fillipina when you really are 100% Mexican decent, as you've told me in the past.

You have also written songs, as I discovered that searching BMI and ASCAP.  Those songs, were they stuff you did or stuff you gave to others?

JJ:  I've given some stuff to other people.  Most of them, however, nobody's heard.  I'll occasionally throw them out there—I've had the Christmas song up on MySpace, for instance.  I've had that for so long and haven't let people hear it until now.  I wrote that with Shelly Peiken.

JRT:  Can you tell me a little bit about the work you did with Nils.  You had two songs on his Blue Planet CD.  It was probably the first post-Exposé work we fans knew about.  How did that come about?

JJ:  That came about from a mutual friend of ours, Nils and I know Gerald McCaully.  Nils is a great producer and performer.   It was a bunch of friends who decided to get together and do a project together with him.  And it was so much fun!  It was a lot of fun, Nils was so nice.  And we even got to all get together and perform these songs live a few times.  It was a blast!

JRT:  You did two songs on that album—you did a cover of Portuguese Love, and one called Still Searchin' (No Love in Sight).  It's a little hard though to hear your vocals on the first one. 

JJ:  That first one was more like a background part...

JRT:  It may be a background part, but there are no other singers on that song...

JJ:  There's lots of Jazz songs like that—with singers who don't really sing a lead but just sing a bit during the chorus.

JRT:  Do you like Jazz?  Were you trying to do jazz music at that time.

JJ:  I love Jazz music but I can't see myself as a jazz singer at that time.  I can't really qualify my voice in that category.  I do enjoy and are friends with a lot of jazz singers.  In fact, Gerald says that he really wanted me on the record because he said my voice "reminds him of Summer".   Isn't that funny?  I don't know why, but that's why he wanted me on the record.

JRT:  You also did a Vegas show called MadHattan.  How did that come about?

JJ:  Again, just came out of the blue!  One of the musicians on that show was a friend of a friend of mine, and was looking for a singer for the show because the lead for the show is not going to be able to perform in all the shows, and they needed somebody to fill in part time.  And it's funny because I had seen ads for it all around town.  So they needed somebody fast.  I listened to the song one night, went in the next day, up on a big stage in the little outfit I was wearing to another gig I was going to after that, and after my audition they said "can you start last week".  I didn't even learn all the songs yet, but I said yes, and they wanted me to open the show.

I stayed on with the show until it closed, about a year or a year and a half.  I performed the lead roles about half the time it was scheduled.

JRT:  But for the most part, even though you were doing all this stuff, you sort of kept a low profile.  I remember for years that all us fans were trying to figure out what you were up to and get information.  I think it was partly due to your need for privacy.  But you and Ann have kept a low profile between 1995 to around 2003 or so when you did that first reunion concert (with Kelly). 

JJ:  I think part of that is just our personalities, John, as you've come to realize getting to know me these last few years.  I'm a private person.  After Exposé, I wanted to "be normal" again, walk around and have friends.  And I think another part of it was all the legal issues.  I was still trying to be cautious legally right after Exposé disbanded.

JRT:  Not just legal stuff but family stuff.  I think you and Ann saw Gioia with Brianna on the road and the chaos and said  "let's wait until after our careers to have kids", right?

JJ:  Exactly!  I was still kind of blown away, when I became a mother, how difficult it was to leave that child.  Because as a mom you don't want to do anything else but sit there and take care of that child.  It's so funny now, because Kelly is going through that now and I call her and laugh about that now, and say "remember how I used to tell you this"?  And now I know what it was like for Gioia, who had to constantly be on the road with us.  Now it's Ann and my choice to perform some gigs and be away from our kids, but at that time Gioia had to be on the road contractually, for instance.  It was so hard, I think in part she welcomed not having to do that anymore—I know I would have.

JRT:  What do you think about music and the music business nowadays?  There have been a lot weird changes in the business now—different genres of music, trouble with file sharing and piracy, etc.  Strange changes...etc...

JJ:  I don't.  (Laughter).   I don't, I was even thinking today, working around the house—whenever anything comes up on TV, in the newspaper, the Internet, etc...I just don't want to read about it or know about it.

JRT:  Stupid question time.  When people write songs, they are credited to a song publishing company, and a lot of people use weird or off-beat names for these.  Yours is called "Punch the Cake"!   May I ask why?

JJ:  It's based on a Jurado family tradition.  When it's your birthday—we sing the song, and then after it's done, the entire family begins to chant "punch the cake, punch the cake".  And the birthday person will literally punch it for good luck!  It's very messy—but the kids love it and it's something the Jurados do!  People who come to our house think it's crazy but it's our tradition which I've carried on and I decided to name my songwriting company from that tradition.