Jayesslee Live In Manila: Feel Good Music At Its’ Finest
Written by Jamie Ortega
Photos by Kevin Pableo
Numbers don’t lie and with 58,675,118 Youtube views to their name; the dynamic duo of Jayeslee has definitely made their mark in the music industry. Those impressive credentials further piqued my curiosity as I made my way to the 3rd floor of Robinsons Forum (Pioneer) last June 21, 2012 for the Philippine leg of their concert entitled Jayeslee Live In Manila. I saw a couple of their Youtube covers prior to their concert and was impressed by their musicality but as any concertgoer will tell you live performances are a whole new ballgame.
Before I go on here is a little Jayeslee catch-up session for those unfamiliar with the Yotube singing sensations: “Jayeslee,” is a combination of the names of twin sisters Janice and Sonia Lee who were born and raised in Sydney Australia to Korean parents. They rose to fame in 2008 by singing song covers like Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars, Break Even by The Script, and Nobody Nobody by the Wondergirls.
As I heard the girls sing their hearts out I finally understood how they’ve managed to amass such a huge following. There was something so inspiring, so feel good, so refreshing about the quality of Janice and Sonia’s voices as they performed a total of 11 songs that night. One can really see how much passion the twins have with their craft as Sonia strummed away on her acoustic guitar and Janice worked magic on her piano. I’m sure most of you guys are familiar with this scenario: as you stroll around a public place you suddenly hear a horrible acoustic version of a popular upbeat song that really makes you shudder. It’s happened to me so many times I’ve become wary of acoustic versions of songs just because I feel like some songs are meant to be enjoyed ONLY in their original form.
Well, I am happy to tell you that wasn’t the case at the Jayeslee concert. Sonia and Janice cleverly arranged their numbers, making them sound pleasurable and soothing to the ears. I loved how they kicked off the concert with their own version of Jetlag by Maroon 5, followed by a slew of highly popular tunes including I Wont Give Up by Jason Mraz, Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars, Breakeven by The Script, Payphone by Maroon 5, Switchfoot’s Dare You To Move, as well as their encore piece Price Tag by Jessie J. Jayeslee also have the audience a taste of their original music, they performed one of their original songs Failure In Disguise.
Kudos to Becca Music for choosing an intimate venue, as it fit well with Jayeslee’s brand of music. Unlike other concerts wherein the performers confine themselves to the run of the mill “Mabuhay Manila” “thank you Manila” greetings I loved how Janice and Sonia kept the audience in stitches before and after each number as they shared funny anecdotes about different things- touring in various countries, movies they liked (they said they’re not that big of a fan of the movie Hunger Games because they found it too gory).
They also indulged in a little sisterly teasing, Sonia joked with the audience that she took pity on Janice, who was playing the tambourine at the start of the show, by buying her the tambourine that Janice is currently using because her sister couldn’t play any instrument.
Towards the middle of the concert two young girls, who were the winners of the Sing Like Jayeslee contest, were called up on stage to meet their idols. Janice and Sonia eagerly hugged and kissed the winners. That simple moment showed just how much Janice and Sonia love and appreciate their fans.
What touched as well me was when Janice and Sonia, who are proud Christians, shared their story with the audience. I thought it took a lot of courage for them to open their hearts to the concertgoers that night as they talked about their mother’s struggle with Cancer and how it has inspired the twins to share their music with the world. That simple story left me with an important message- to praise God in every moment. If their mother found it in her heart to worship and praise God while battling Cancer what excuse do we have? Those thoughts ran through my mind as the concert came to an end and the house lights flickered on. Jayeslee Live In Manila left me with a high I couldn’t easily shake off. A high brought upon by God and two twins named Janice and Sonia Lee.