JESSIE – live at Madame Jojo's, Soho
Monday November 3rd
Every now and then a talent comes along that makes even the most hardened music hack sit up and take notice. We recently stumbled upon JESSIE and even before we heard a note it seemed everything was in place – her look, the fact one of her songs is the soundtrack to a Nivea TV ad(!), and the knowledge that having already supported the likes of Macy Gray, Girls Aloud and Taio Cruz, she is soon off on tour with Cyndi Lauper and Jools Holland. Clearly a few people in the know have cottoned on to her…
It only takes a few listens on her link page to understand why, for she has a voice that may well make her a superstar. Soul meets funk yet she's only a few degrees away from the urban and R&B markets. Her vocal range and dynamics are obviously one of her key assets, but equally so is her infectious personality, which shines through both on record and live.
So forward on a few weeks and Glasswerk is excited to have secured a headline set with JESSIE at Madame Jojos on Monday November 3rd. We've just seen her wow a packed out Pigalle Club and we've managed to catch her for a few questions.
Glasswerk suggests that it must have given her great confidence for the rest of her set to get such a good reception after the very first song (the acoustic Big White Room). “That song is my comfort blanket. It's the first song I ever wrote and it's very personal. It creates an equalness – a mutual respect between me and the audience”.
That is indeed fortunate, asit transpires that the musicians behind her are not her regular band and in fact they had never played two of the songs together before! She tells us she has no real preference whether she is doing full band gigs or PA sets – “every gig is different and a new challenge, I roll with whatever I've got”.
So where does that incredible voice come from? What are the influences? “I'm a big eighties funk fan. I listened to a lot of B-Train, Heatwave and of course Lauryn Hill which a lot of people see in me. I listen to the radio a lot and if something bites me I will listen further, but if you try and copy someone else it just sounds forced”.
We ask her what she thinks sets her apart from the many other artists out there, such as Adele, Duffy etc. “I guess I'm just very honest. What you see is what you get whether I'm talking to you like this, out with friends or performing on stage. I don't put on any fronts, if anything I exaggerate my thoughts.I think people respect that rawness and honesty. I want people to get to know the real me so I offer them the non-edited real-life version”.
JESSIE goes on to tell us how she once modelled in Japan and the music was “ace” as she reached the end of the catwalk. Rather than poses and sombre stares she wanted to start dancing! This was the experience behind upbeat number Catwalk, a song in which she sings the lyric, “I can't help that I'm feeling bored”. It transpires that she had very short hair at the time and initially wrote “I can't help that I'm feeling bald” but changed it because “people might think I'm a bit weird!”
This sums this talented young lady up very tidily. We've had more laughs in five minutes than in two hours of making small-talk with lawyers, a&r scouts and label moguls. Any doubts about her claims of openness and honesty are thrown out the window. This girl's the real deal.