By Frank Shyong
Updated June 09, 2021 at 01:10 PM EDT
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Fefe-Dobson

Image Credit: Amy Graves/WireImage.comFefe Dobson draws a lot of comparisons. When she came onto the scene in 2003 with “Bye Bye Boyfriend,” people compared her to Joan Jett. She was asked to (and did) play rock & roll queen Tina Turner on American Dreams, and many fans have made connections between Dobson’s and Rihanna’s offbeat, punk-inspired images (the two artists share a label, and both recently had songs featured on an episode of the CW’s Hellcats).

When Dobson performed at the Entertainment Weekly Lounge in West Hollywood last night, it was clear that she’s as ecclectic as ever. When we talked to her backstage before her set, she said that when she’s making music now, “I’m just feeling it. It’s still rock & roll, but you have to add elements sometimes … to make it speak to what music is at this point.”

Dobson’s latest album, Joy, experiments with some different sounds. The title track has an unmistakeably country swing to it, and “Stuttering,” the current single, features some awfully familiar-sounding staccato hooks and club beats. It reminds me of Jason Derulo’s ‘Whatcha Say’ – which is unsurprising, as J. R. Rotem produced both tracks.

She’s not a fan of AutoTune though: “I really try to fight it as much as I can, and sometimes I’ll beg the producer, like, ‘Please don’t use it on me!’ I’ll just re-sing it over and over until I get it.”

Dobson clearly still celebrates her rock heritage – her rendition of Guns N Roses’s “Welcome to the Jungle” was the most energetic performance of the night, and featured more hip thrusts, hair tosses, and high kicks than most Olympic-level floor routines. Dobson says the physicality comes naturally. “It honestly just happens. I can’t control it. Something comes out of me.”

As for living up to Joan Jett’s legacy, Dobson says she is flattered by the comparison, but mostly, she’s glad to be making music again. “It just feels so good.”

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