Live: Jessie J

Coalition, Brighton

Saturday 15 January 2011

9/10

“Who needs sleep when you’re trying to conquer the world?”

The superlatives haven’t stopped flowing since Jessie J won the BBC’s Sound of 2011 award, and with Justin Timberlake declaring the 22-year-old as “the best singer in the world”, it’d be easy to dismiss the hype – that is, until you hear her sing.

When Jessie (real name Jessica Cornish) hit the stage in a tight leather jacket and tiny hot pants (a style she describes as ‘ghetto-chic’), the reaction was akin to a hero’s welcome. Jessie and her guitarist Ben Martinez opened the set with acoustic track ‘Stand Up’, a glorious anthem that showcased Cornish’s astounding vocals.

Hit track ‘Do It Like A Dude’ got a massive reaction, while Jessie delighted one screaming fan by singing her a soulful happy birthday message. What was perhaps most impressive about the precocious singer was her cast-iron confidence and laid-back humour; Cornish carried out a dare to wear audience clothing for one song, yet was disappointed by the lack of “bras or panties” that landed onstage. She also threw a solitary shoe back, declaring: “I’m a size seven babe!”, showing off an impressive ability to connect with the crowd. Cornish then launched in to ‘Price Tag’, a song that’s sure to be a festival crowd-pleaser.

Cornish suffered a minor stroke as a teenager, which she says gave her the drive to succeed as quickly as she can. Jessie told the adoring Coalition crowd she hadn’t been getting much rest recently, but then quipped:  “Who needs sleep when you’re trying to conquer the world?” On the basis of Saturday night, Jessie’s on the way up – and not even sleep can stop her.

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