It was as rainy as you could possibly imagine, a typical Monday night in Kings Cross, London – rush hour, glum faced people everywhere – but it was most definitely not a dampener on the spirits of those queuing up outside Scala eagerly awaiting to watch the phenomenal Jessie J perform.
If you have not yet heard of Jessie yet the chances are you’ve been hiding under a rock. Already hugely successful as a songwriter, Jessie has written songs for Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys as well as writing Miley Cyrus’ huge No. 1 Billboard smash in the states “Party In The U.S.A.”
However, songwriting is just one of the many dimensions when it comes to Jessie J’s talent. At the tender age of just 22, the singer possesses one of the most powerfully unique and controlled voices to come out of the UK in a long time.
Taking to the stage at Scala on Monday night, Jessie belted out a number of songs including “Mama Knows Best”, “Nobody’s Perfect”, a song penned for the ‘haters’ appropriately titled “Who’s Laughing Now” and her next single “Price Tag,” which saw UK Grime rapper Devlin join Jessie onstage to rock the crowd.
With the crowd crammed in together like sardines, they roared the words to nearly every one of Jessie’s YouTube hits, cheering and laughing at the numerous jokes she couldn’t resist making… left one thinking though, thank goodness she didn’t venture in to comedy!
There were such emotional elements to last nights performance, as it seemed all Jessie wanted to emphasise was that she is as normal as everyone else – just human, just real, just chasing a dream. It seemed there was also a lot of focus on what the press would pick up on of what she said; although making it clear that she wouldn’t mince her words, she was careful in what ‘facts’ she put out there for the ‘sharks’ to snap up.
One of the night’s highlights was the live recording of the first song Jessie had ever written. She explained that each time she went to record it for her album, it never felt right, like there was always something missing; presumably the backing vocals, praise and overwhelming support from her die-hard fans. The recording of “Big White Room” will feature on her debut album as it was recorded.
Then sounding effortlessly powerful, backed again by just an acoustic guitar, played by the wonderfully timid Ben we were in for another huge moment. After explaining that, two years back, when using a bathroom in LA she looked in the mirror when washing her hands and contemplated throwing in the towel on her whole music career due to the pressures and portrayed distortions of her as a person, Jessie sang the heartfelt “Who You Are” to goose-pimply perfection.
If anyone had said to me that the next concert I was to attend would have me tearful I would have ‘Lol’d’ however, with Jessie’s spine-tingling emotion striking chords around the room, I was reduced to silent tears at the thought jerking, personal reflecting, nerve striking ballad.
For just under four minutes, my heart melted and I was serenaded to put into perspective which direction life is going and who/what is important in such sensitive times. Any song that has that effect is definitely full of real passion, something that is lacking in a lot of the music made nowadays – and the mood was definitely reciprocated throughout the venue.
Jessie climaxed the show after a comical, failed attempt at a wardrobe change with her smash hit “Do It Like A Dude” – and as expected this performance was well received. Overall an excellent show – my only disappointment being that it seemed to end too soon!