Neon-green lights dotted the homey Los Angeles venue and spacey synths greeted fans before an audio montage of broadcasters repeatedly cheered Jessie J‘s name and the birthday girl appeared live in front of 14,000 fans.
The U.K.-based pop star donned a sleeveless cobalt-blue lace jumper with matching gloves before digging into “Masterpiece,” the first song of Jessie J’s phenomenal one-woman production entirely hosted from the comfort of her home and broadcast via Instagram Live on Friday (March 27). But as the chorus suggests — “I’m perfectly incomplete/ I’m still working on my masterpiece” — the at-home concert didn’t quite go off without a hitch. Too many phones using the WiFi and one blown-out speaker in the room caused the singer-songwriter to stop the IG Live session to work out the technical difficulties.
Ten minutes later, Jessie J returned onscreen posed as her own manager to reassure fans, “Please enjoy the show!” before resuming the impressive feat. Although the star admitted her assistant directed the lights, staging and sound for the show, she filled in for her invisible band, backup vocalists and even Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj on their verses for “Bang Bang.” But that wouldn’t have been the point anyways. Jessie J put on a one-woman show for her 32nd birthday because “it’s the best gift I could receive on my birthday. To give back and others helping others,” she wrote in an Instagram post Thursday to announce her #letsgetlivestayinginside event.
“This may be the funnest and weirdest thing I’ve ever done,” Jessie J told her fans while adjusting the camera in between songs. “Wherever you are in the world, I just want you guys to know that I’m thinking of you and in this weird time, we have to do whatever we can to lift each other up. … Just take a second to be free and let go and let out all of your emotions and dance and have fun with me.”
And as much as those 14,000 virtual audience members sang along to her famous “Price Tag” line “It’s not about the money, money, money,” Jessie J emphasized how it really was all about the money, money, money with her Instagram bio links. The charitable gig raised funds for both UNICEF and the World Health Organization to support vulnerable people around the world, especially children and their families, and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, respectively.
“I know we’re going to be OK, but we have to stay home to save people’s lives,” she urged her viewers. But her virtual spectacle made it easier for fans to stay put when she made them part of the show. Fans continued commenting on her gigantic cobalt-blue microphone that matched her onstage look, as she kept pointing it toward the screen so it felt like everyone tuning into the concert could grab ahold of the mic and belt out her lyrics right there with her.
Jessie J’s live stream acted not just as her birthday celebration and a benefit event, but also an augmented-reality experience unlike any other artist’s live streams, where her fans felt like they were standing on the stage and singing in the mic. She feigned intimacy through a different kind of face-to-face interaction, as she sat right in front of the camera during intermissions to drink water, shout-out her birthday twins and answer fan questions from the comments. It might not have been “the smoothest gig you’ve ever been to,” she teased while fixing another tech-related issue mid-set, but it was the most one-of-a-kind.
Head over to Jessie J’s Instagram to watch her entire “one-woman” show.