Pictured: Jessie J with a giant butterfly at The Eden Project You know her for Price Tag and as a coach on The Voice but when Jessie J performed two back to back shows at the Eden Project in Cornwall this weekend it was clear there is so much more to the singer than her superstar persona.
She arrived in a van, Rolling Stones style, to a reception line of screaming girl fans, her face hidden by a huge hood. Yet within literally minutes of arriving she was crouching down to talk to a little girl in a wheelchair called Jessica, who is receiving palliative care for cancer. Later on stage it is clear how affected Jessie J is by her 10 minute meeting with Jessica. She is in tears as she tells the crowd: "I met a very special girl called Jessica tonight. My thoughts and prayers are with you, my darling, and this part of the show is dedicated to you." And, this, more than anything, is what strikes you about the star - she is emotional, big-hearted and humble too. She credits Cornwall with shaping her, explaining how her family holidayed in caravan parks in Looe Bay and Penzance year after year and she would enter singing competitions to try and win next year's holiday. So it was in Cornwall that it all began and when she says: "And now I'm here on stage singing to all of you and you're singing back to me and it feels so good," you get the sense that she is still shell-shocked by her meteoric rise to stardom. Backstage she says: :"On The Voice I was a brand new artist sitting next to Tom Jones who has been doing this for 50 years and I was thinking 'should I really be here?'" Her parents, who come to both shows, are clearly hugely important to her and have helped her forge her position as a teen role model. She says: 'I was lucky. I had amazing parents who taught me everything and I'm trying to pass that on to people who may not have had that person to look up to." And so alongside the high-octane performance, the frenetic dancing and that almost operatic voice, her show is peppered with motivational chat to her fans. The first song she wrote "Who's Laughing Now?" is dedicated to anyone who has worked at something - 'if you feel you have ever achieved something this song is for you." 'I tell people to go for their dreams,' she says backstage, ' don't get dragged down by the darkness, focus on the light." It's fascinating seeing the way she connects with her audience, the whole show like a conversation between her and her fans. She's funny, ad-libbing easily when random items are thrown onto the stage and rousing the crowd again and again with her rebel cry of 'Cornish pasties". She incites the audience to dance and sing and jump around right through the show; 6000 fans with their hands in the air - you can tell they are getting their money's worth. She's clever too, thanking all the parents who have kids on their shoulders (and buy her records). "I see you standing there in agony while your kids are having the time of their lives. You are awesome," she says. The beautiful backdrop of the Eden Project - "one of the most picturesque places I have ever performed in" - is the perfect setting for this energetic, effervescent pop idol, who in her tiny pink dress and her huge shiny platform trainers, is giving this Cornish crowd everything she's got. Those iconic space-age biomes are back-lit in neon pink and green, this gig feels like nowhere else on earth. After the last song, Jessie J says: "Thank you Cornwall for giving me such an incredible memory". And then moments later, she's gone, as her van rushes her off site back to her A-list hotel. A modern day icon who, from where we were standing, totally deserves her superstar status. Below: Jessie J at Eden Project's Humid Tropics Biome