Singer Jessie J: Writing 'Party In The USA' Paid My Rent For 3 Years

Singer Jessie J may have radio hits like “Domino” and “Bang Bang” on her resumé, but the 26-year-old didn’t start out in the spotlight.

Instead, the London-born Jessie J began her career writing songs for stars such as Chris Brown, “American Idol” winner Lisa Lowes, and Miley Cyrus.

In 2009, she was responsible for writing Cyrus’  No. 1 hit “Party in the U.S.A.

“You’ve got to write songs, that’s where the money is, being an artist. ‘Party In the U.S.A’ paid my rent for, like, three years,” she recently told Glamour UK. “Actually, it was longer than that. That’s where I get most of my money. I write songs. I’m a singer. I love doing endorsements and stuff, but that’s all added on.”

The singer explained further in a 2011 interview with RWD magazine: “You know what’s more weird though, is that you’re not actually there when they record it,” she explained of the process. “I recorded ‘Party In The U.S.A.,’ played it for the label but they didn’t think it was right for me. So they pitched it and two weeks later it was number one in six countries.”

“Party in the U.S.A.” became the sixth-best-selling digital single of 2009 and is one of the best-selling singles in history. As of 2012, it was Hollywood Records’ fastest and best-selling single to date, selling 6 million copies worldwide.

Although “Party in the U.S.A.” wasn’t exactly the sound Miley Cyrus was going for at the time post-“Hannah Montana,” the singer previously told V Magazine that she never regretted recording it.

“I can never say that I don’t love ‘Party in the U.S.A.’ and that I’m not appreciative of it,” Cyrus said. “It would like my dad saying that he hated ‘Achy Breaky.’ It’s what gives you everything that you have. I would never take it back.”

While it’s impossible to know exactly what Jessie J earned for writing the song —  between sales, downloads, streams, radio spins, and licenses to TV, films, and advertisements —  Quora user Mike Podwall, who used to work for a Music Publishing company and negotiated deals on behalf of writers, explains:

In simple terms, songwriters make money in three ways: Mechanical Royalties (album sales and digital downloads), Performance Royalties (radio play) and Synchronisation Royalties (licensing to TV, Films, Ads).  There are other revenue streams–especially with the advent of Internet streaming services–but these three represent the lion’s share.

Read his full response on Quora here.

Watch “Party in the U.S.A.” below:

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