The name Justin Jesso may sound unfamiliar for you but soon you’ll see and hear his name more often. Justin Stein (29), his real name, is a singer and songwriter from Chicago. He studied songwriting at New York University and wrote songs for famous artists like Ricky Martin (Vente Pa’ Ca), Backstreet Boys (The Way It Was), and also for young rising stars like HRVY, AJ Mitchell and more. Me personally, I became a fan with his single My Body, which was released in summer 2018. I remember showing the music video to my sister and saying: “There is something special about this artist”. I must admit that I didn’t really listen to his international breakthrough single Stargazing with Kygo, shame on me. But I’m more into his solo stuff. I fell in love with his debut EP Let it Be Me released this year in March. When I started to follow him on Instagram and watched some videos on YouTube, I loved the fact of how much down-to-earth and adorable he is as a person. Therefore, to see him live on stage one day was a big wish. Thanks to abc Production I didn’t have to wait too long. I had the chance to see him live on his headlining European tour on the 22nd of September in Exil, Zurich.
Storytime: (I met Justin Jesso before the concert)
I went to the concert with my twin sister since she also loves his music. The door opening was at 7 p.m. My sister and I were at 7.15 p.m. in front of the building. Surprisingly there wasn’t a queue. When we were inside, I suggested to my sister going to the bathrooms before we would take our places. The men’s room was empty. While I was at the urinal, I imagined how awkward and crazy it would be if Justin Jesso walked in. However, this didn’t happen of course. I left the bathroom and waited outside for my sister. I was sitting on a bench and staring at my phone. Suddenly a group of young men walked into the waiting hall. I was thinking that they are probably some other fans. A very familiar voice spoke to me and said: “thank you for coming to my show”. Then I looked up and saw Justin’s merch jacket and the guy, who wore it was Justin Jesso. I was shocked, I couldn’t say anything. Since they were just walking by to disappear to the backstage area through a black door, I had to say something. This was my moment. I stretched my right arm and literally introduced myself “Hi, I’m Eren”, I don’t know why but at least I remembered my name. He shook my right hand and went backstage. Meanwhile a girl, who followed them downstairs, walked in screaming and asked him for a picture. Justin turned around and told her he would take pictures after the show. Afterward, I was still shocked and couldn’t believe what has just happened. Just imagine Shawn Mendes would walk by, that’s exactly how it felt for me. Justin actually could have ignored me since I was staring at my phone and didn’t even notice him in the first place. But he spoke to me before we even had eye contact. This is proof that he cares about his fans. Right place right time, right? Then, we went upstairs to find good standing places. Luckily, we got some right in front of the stage. The small crowd mostly consisted of teenie girls. Just like Justin, his fans were also very open and social, so we could chat with each other while we were waiting for the support act.
At 8.00 p.m. the support act Awesome Arnold, a Swiss indie-pop band filled the stage. They mostly played songs from their debut album Modern Lows and performed their newest single Siberian, which is a powerful rock-ballad. It was the first time I heard of this band and I really enjoyed their sound. Their track Serenade is my favorite but also the love-anthem A Tidal Wave. And I have to mention the lead singer’s heavenly high vocals during As A Stone. One thing I want to criticize about them is that the lead singer mostly sung with closed eyes and otherwise he looked at the ground. The connection with the crowd would have been better if he looked straight ahead. After performing for half an hour they left the stage probably gaining a lot of new fans.
Justin Jesso’s Performance
At 9 p.m. it was time for the man of the night. I looked around and only counted around 150 people. He definitely deserves more Swiss fans. I was also a bit skeptical and wasn’t sure how long his set is going to last since he has only seven released songs on Spotify. However, the curtains opened it was still dark and Justin walked in and sat at the piano. I was so lucky that the piano was placed right in front of me. He opened the show with his most sexual track My Body and he managed to raise everyone’s body temperature from the start. He continued with One Good Reason, a heart-melting piano ballad, and everyone was singing along. Then it was time for the first speech. He introduced himself and told us how excited he is to be back in Switzerland. It was also the last date of his European tour but his energy was high like it was the first show. Next, he turned EXIL into a wild party and made us all jump during Stitch Em Up. Justin really knows how to interact with the crowd and used the stage very well. He is also great with cameras; without hesitation, he can sing right into your smartphone.
Justin then announced an unreleased song called Leaving As Friend. It’s a beautiful emotional piano ballad and I really want this song to come out this December. During the juicy track I Will it got hot again in the crowd. All the girls were singing along and Justin was dancing from left to right while melting everyone’s heart. For the next slow song, Justin grabbed the electric guitar and performed his unreleased Don’t Cry Cause It’s Over. You will love the lyrics when it comes out, they are so uplifting and motivating. Afterward, Justin did something special with us. He played a medley of three unreleased songs and asked us which one he should put out first. But the conclusion was that all of them are going to be on his next EP. Up next he covered Adele’s beautiful song Make You Feel My Love and yes, he took us to heaven with his angel-like vocals during the second half of the song. He also mentioned that this one is his mother’s favorite and that she wants him to sing this song on every family occasion. Unlike during unreleased songs, everyone could sing along while he performed his newest single Let It Be Me. This one is definitely one of my favorites. I was so lucky that he has released a remix with Nina Nesbitt as a single since I’m also a fan of her.
During the party track Bigger Than, another unreleased song, Justin Jesso literally tested EXIL’s architectural stability. He started performing on the stage as usual but then moved on to the bar counter and kept performing from up there. I’m sure he would have swung from a chandelier if there was one. Then he came down and found his way back to the stage, while he danced with a girl even there was no music on. It was one of the highlights of the night for everyone in the crowd. To close the set he saved up Getting Closer the lead single of his EP and also a fan favorite. He performed this piano ballad and then left the stage introducing himself again and saying thanks to the crowd for coming. One minute later he was already back for the encore. He was sitting at his keyboard again and performed the unreleased ballad Come Back To Me. The great finale was of course with Stargazing his collaboration with Kygo, which went double-platinum in Switzerland.
I didn’t have to worry about the length of the concert at all since Justin performed a lot of unreleased songs and a one-hour show in total. He promised that the 2nd EP is on its way and coming very soon. Let’s wait and see which songs will be released on it. I have nothing to criticize about his performance, he just forgot the lyrics during the second verse of One Good Reason but who cares he’s only human. After the concert, he came to the merch-stand to take pictures with the fans. And yes, I met him again and gave him two of my bracelets as a gift. Since he gave us so much, I wanted to give him something little back. You can watch my Meet & Greet video on my Instagram. But now you know why he called me his bathroom-friend in the video. I’d love to be his Swiss friend and meet him again one day to grab coffee and talk about the meaning of life. The tour is over but he will definitely come back again when his new music has come out. Therefore, follow him and me to stay updated. And to all the Swiss fans we have to make the next show sold out! Thank you for reading this blog post. Check out my Instagram for concert videos.