Jessie J: I was bullied as a teenager after medication turned me green

20/01/15

Jessie J: Heart drugs made me green

Jessie J says she was bullied when she was a teenager because the medication she took turned her skin green.

The singer was diagnosed with a heart defect as a child and suffered a minor stroke when she was 18.

She has told BBC Radio 1 that the strong drugs she needed to take to normalise her heartbeat "didn't work" and gave her an "alien tint".

Jessie spent much of her childhood in hospital, which she says inspired her first song.

Jessie J

"I was in hospital when I was 11 and I was opposite a boy who was very ill," she explains.

"I woke up in the middle of night after my operation to hear him praying for about five hours.

"He was sitting on the floor and he was saying, 'Please God, don't let me die. Please keep me alive, I will do anything, I will be a good boy.'

"The next day he died and I remember sitting with my mum and saying, 'Why didn't God save his life?'"

Jessie J and Ariana Grande

Jessie says she was haunted by the boy's death for six years and "cried herself to sleep every night".

"He never left my mind and for those six years that I didn't write a song about it, I just couldn't let it go," she says.

"Then I said to my mum, 'I need to write a song about it'."

Jessie's painful experience in hospital inspired her first song, Big White Room.

However, while that "personal" track is based on her pain, some of her other songs are more about feeling empowered.

Jessie J

The 26-year-old says Who's Laughing Now is about overcoming the bullies who targeted her when she was a teenager because of her medication and how she looked.

"I had really big teeth, a big fringe. I was just uncomfortable in my skin. I wasn't the pretty kid, I was the awkward one that didn't know who I fitted in with.

"The only place where I could escape was my dreams. I would enjoy going to sleep because I could dream about something that I wasn't living.

"I remember when I first became established and I received Facebook messages from girls who used to throw stones at my head as I walked home from school. It just made me go, 'Who's laughing now?'

"It sparked a real emotion that I know hundreds of thousands of millions of children around the world are going through."

Jessie J

Jessie says it is important to her that her songs send an inspirational message to others have experienced hard times.

"I could sing the standard stuff which will be played on the radio and everyone will love," she explains.

"Or I can tap into something that people need, rather than want, and that's what my first album was about.

"I almost feel like I want to be a big sister to my fans that need one. I can put out music that I think will help them through some stuff."

Jessie J Lyrics of My Life is on BBC Radio 1 at 21:00 GMT on Tuesday.

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