Justin Bieber, who? Pop singer Jasmine Villegas is readying her debut album and doesn’t have time to think about the rumors. Yes, she was the girl in The Bieb’s video “Baby,” and yes, she was the opening act on his tour last year, and maybe they dated or not. But that’s last year’s news, and the Filipino-Mexican beauty is focused on her music in 2011. She’s working with names like Ryan Leslie, Tricky and Bryan-Michael Cox, and even co-wrote a song with Nick Jonas. We caught up with the 17-year-old California native between studio sessions in New York. Here’s what she had to say:
How did you get started in the music biz?
When I was younger, my grandma put me in a beauty pageant in the mall. From there I started doing talent shows and began acting. I eventually went to L.A., and one day I was walking down the street singing with my little brother and some guy heard me and introduced me to a lot of people. Eventually I got signed when I was 12 years old.
You just did the video for your hit song “All These Boys,” how was that?
The message behind the song is that if you go through a breakup, there are more boys to choose from. The music video is a lot of fun. It’s like a music video in a music video, with boys auditioning to be in it.
When is the album out?
It should be out in a few months.
What’s the theme of the record?
I’ll have about 10 or 11 songs. My fans will get the whole perspective on who I am. I want them to know that I go through heartbreak, crushes, falling in love. I’m a normal girl. It’ll surprise them to hear a lot of slow songs, in which they can hear me sing.
You’re also working on new music with Nick Jonas?
A couple of weeks ago I was in the studio with him. We’re writing a song together. He was by his piano and we started brainstorming. The song is basically about going through a relationship and knowing that it takes a man to love me, as I’m growing into a young lady.
Who are your influences?
Alicia Keys and Beyoncé. I used to always listen to them.
You recently opened up for Justin Bieber, how was that?
I had a lot of fun. We did a good 40 days. We went to Atlantic City, Miami, Hawaii and Canada.
You’ve been involved in a lot of rumors regarding Bieber, how do you deal with that?
I don’t really pay attention. I leave it alone.
Are you and Justin friends now?
We’re really good friends.
You’re single right now; do you have any celebrity crushes?
I’m just having fun. Of course, there are people that I like, but I’m focused on my music. As far as celebrities, I think Trey Songz is beautiful and Taylor Lautner is amazing.
You’re half Filipino and half Mexican, what side do you identify with the most?
Both sides are crazy. I do go with my dad’s side, which is Mexican. I don’t speak Spanish and it really frustrates me, but I want to.
You’re really into tweeting, blogging and creating YouTube videos for your fans—the Jasminators, as you call them?
I’ve built a big fan base online. A lot of my fans grew up with me. I keep in contact with them like that.