Intimate pow-wow with Jessie J

Despite being jet-lagged, singer Jessie J still delivered her songs such as Flashlight with panache.
Despite being jet-lagged, singer Jessie J still delivered her songs such as Flashlight with panache. PHOTO: SINGTEL & SAMSUNG



Singapore Indoor Stadium/Thursday

British singer Jessie J brought a level of intimacy to her almost-90-minute set in the cavernous Indoor Stadium, with plenty of personality and a massive voice thrown in. But what was billed as an intimate acoustic experience with the London-born singer - primarily for customers of Singtel and Samsung - turned out at times to be more like a Tony Robbins- style motivational seminar.

In front of a crowd of about 6,000, the chatty singer said she was overwhelmed as she did not think there would be that many people, but did not act like it.

She had a story or an impassioned speech to accompany almost every song.

Before belting out an impressive cover of Whitney Houston power ballad I Have Nothing, she told concertgoers how she had sung this song for a girl band audition at age 16 and how her life changed.

"Anyone here who has a dream, never give up," she said.

At one point, she stared into the lens of a camera and urged the enraptured crowd to believe in themselves. Her banter made the concert feel like an intimate pow-wow with friends.

For someone whose voice had not quite woken up - she said she was jet-lagged and had not had any sleep since landing at 2am that same day from Los Angeles - she delivered the high, low and inbetween notes with panache, whether it was in Domino, Nobody's Perfect or Flashlight.

The ready crowd lapped it up, even setting the stadium alight with their smartphones when she started singing Flashlight from the 2015 Pitch Perfect 2 movie soundtrack.

During an informal question- and-answer session with the crowd, she picked out a 23-year-old student, who was handed a microphone, and the two traded runs and lyrics made up on the spot in an exchange that wowed the audience. It was almost too good to be impromptu.

The set-up was minimal with a three-panelled screen showing close-ups of the 28-year-old singer's face and her band comprising a keyboardist, bassist, acoustic guitarist and drummer.

Without an elaborate set and back-up dancers and singers, Jessie proved she did not need any of the bells and whistles to put on a good show.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2016, with the headline 'Intimate pow-wow with Jessie J'. Print Edition | Subscribe