When I first pulled into Terminal West parking lot in downtown Atlanta, I was immediately distracted from my rapid heartbeat for three reasons. Reason Number One: There was a parked truck with two massive satellite dishes sticking out of it. Reason Number Two: The line to get into the Jess Glynne concert was relatively small, implying a very small concert crowd, meaning a more intimate experience with Jess herself, which I was completely fine with. Reason Number Three: A few seconds after I noticed these first two things, a car accident happened right in the entryway of the venue’s parking lot. The ambulance was called and one of the women went to the hospital. After that, my heart was back to beating at its fast pace, drowning out the sounds of rehearsal inside the venue. I knew this was going to be an interesting night.
Upon entering the venue and speed-walking to the front of the stage, surprisingly, there were no remnants of Jess performing there — no banner, no setlist, no kick drum with her name on it, nothing. This was a clear sign that it would be a long time before she graced the stage, but regardless, I was no less excited.
Jess Glynne is a 26-year-old artist from Hampstead, U.K. She is most famous for her vocals on “My Love” by Route 94 and “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. She represents the new trend in today’s music industry — people singing DJ’s songs to gain a fanbase with the goal of recording and publishing their own music, all while utilizing social media platforms for promotion. Jess is at this final and hardest stage — performing her own music and hoping her following will still be fans. In 2015, she released her first album “I Cry When I Laugh” and this is her first U.S. tour. Everyone is here to hear an authentic Jess Glynne.
After three hours, the anticipation for Jess had hit its peak. The crowd had grown ten times its original size, fitting the sold-out description on the tickets. Two black microphones were brought out on either side of the stage, then one silver microphone in the middle of the stage right in front of me. “Jess is coming!” the crowd murmured excitedly. Soon, the lights began to dim as the music playing through the speakers is turned off.
One by one Jess’s bad members walked on stage dressed in all black stylish clothes, the pianist began to play “Ain’t Got Far To Go,” one of Jess’s songs that encourages people to celebrate their progress, and to understand that every step is a step closer to where they want to be. The other members, Senab and Holly joined in as the backup singers and danced to their microphones. They started clapping to the beat as Jess Glynne emerged from stage right, in a black tank top, bell bottoms, high heeled shoes, and white and black pleats, clapping and dancing to the center of the stage. She began to belt out the first verse, and the crowd sang along (maybe it a little too much). Jess tried to change the arrangement so her voice could be heard. Song after song the intensity on stage never faded. In a video interview Jess once said that she wants her album to make people feel uplifted and positive, and it is clear that she achieved that goal.
Halfway through the concert Jess sang my favorite song, “Home.” The song focuses on the inner struggles that can weigh someone down and how you have to work hard to take back control of your mind. Eventually, the person realizes they are now free. “Home” was released before she became famous in America, so the audience did not know the song well enough to sing over her. This was the first time I could hear her beautiful soulful voice in its entirety. After the concert, I felt like I had had a spiritual awakening.
This concert taught me numerous lessons:
- Concerts should not be about getting the validation of the performer, but rather it should be about living in the moment, and internalizing the positivity the artist brings to the stage.
- Mingle with the people around you, you never know who you will meet.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Never trust venue employees, they will tell you the artist left just so they can go home.
- If you want something, persevere and be patient.
- Make more space on your phone for pictures and videos.
On a scale of one to ten hearts, Jess Glynne’s first concert in Atlanta, Georgia rates nine out of ten hearts.