Inspiring Conversations

Be who you are, Jessie J

  • SumoMe

By Penny K

Jessie J on "RollaCoaster (UK)"

Two months ago, out of nowhere, there was a lot of talk about a certain “Jessie J”. I didn’t know who she was then. I figured if she were another manufactured piece of pop her tunes would be infiltrating radio waves faster than I can say “free will” and so, left it at that.

But curiosity got to this cat.

One day, I typed “Jessie J” in YouTube’s search field and YouTube suggested I take a listen to Price Tag featuring rapper B.o.B (of Nothin’ On You and Airplanes fame). Ok, I thought, sounds like a safe, mainstream choice.

As the story goes, curiosity killed this cat – I was blown away by Price Tag.

Jessie J’s music is every bit manufactured pop. But that’s nothing new or surprising considering she has written songs for artistes including Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, and Miley Cyrus. By the way, it was Jessie J who penned Party In The USA – you would expect mainstream stuff from her.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – there’s nothing wrong with pop music, as long as it’s good and Jessie J’s debut album “Who You Are” is really quite a knockout.

Tracks such as Nobody’s Perfect and Do It Like A Dude sound straight out a Rihanna album, sans Barbadian accent, with stronger vocals. Big White Room and title track Who You Are (Jessie J’s favourite song) show off her softer side. Abracadabra features rhythms like something you would find on a 90s R&B track, which is great. And Price Tag, my favourite, is an upbeat, reggae-influenced one about not being driven by the ‘cha-ching’ and ‘ba-bling’.

Jessie J has the gift of the gob; an undeniably good, distinct voice. Even fellow Briton, Adele, has dubbed Jessie J’s singing chops “illegal”. But what’s illegal too is Jessie J’s obvious knack of coming up with radio-friendly tunes. You will experience a varied (arguably unfocused) sampling of what she has got under her sleeves. I don’t hold it against her, it’s her first album, girl wants to impress.

“Stomp stomp I’ve arrived… I’m an alien tonight”, Jessie J sings on Do It Like A Dude. It is clear this young lady (only 23) is a multi-talented chameleon who can transform seamlessly from singer-songwriter to breakout R&B star, woman, dude, human, alien… Look forward to what Jessie J puts out next!

For more Jessie J, check out BBC Live Lounge.

“Who You Are” courtesy of Universal Music Singapore

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