By ANGELIN YEOH and DANIEL SUBRAMANIAM
WITH their stripped down acoustic sound, pitch-perfect harmonies and inimitable on-screen banter, it’s hardly a surprise that Australian twins Janice and Sonia Lee have taken YouTube by storm.
The 26-year-old twins, who go by the moniker Jayesslee, uploaded their first YouTube video back in 2008, just to share it with their friends and family. However, it was their cover of Tamia’s Officially Missing You in 2009 that launched the girls to YouTube stardom.
Over 70 million views on YouTube later, the duo have gone from performing and recording songs in their bedrooms to headlining shows in US, Canada, Thailand and Singapore.
They proved that they are just as good offline as they are online when they performed to over a thousand people at Menara PGRM in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur last Saturday.
Before Jayesslee took the stage, the crowd were treated to not one but three opening acts. First up was a performance by Astro Talent Quest winners Alexis Chean and Anthony Chang, followed by Malaysia’s very own YouTube singing duo, Ming Han Ho and Charis Ow.
They performed an acoustic mash-up of Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe and Maroon 5’s Payphone and a cover of One Republic’s Secrets. The final opening act was Australian YouTuber Leon Marcus Zachary who performed his original song Superhero.
Jayesslee finally came on stage and performed Simple Plan’s Jet Lag, before doing their own rock version of Secrets. Unlike their stripped down acoustic covers on YouTube, the duo were accompanied by a three-piece band for their opening and closing numbers. The girls were loud, confident and rocked the stage all night long.
Perhaps this louder sound is what fans can expect from their yet-to-be-named upcoming album, which they worked on with Australian producer Andy Mak.
“We have to combine our ideas about a song and he’s able to put a different instrument or aspect to the sound, stuff that we wouldn’t have thought about ourselves. We really appreciate his contribution because otherwise, the song wouldn’t sound the way it does right now,” said Janice, during an interview after the concert.“We try to keep it very Jayesslee. What you see on YouTube is what you’re going to get but with a bit more percussion, a bit more shake to it. We’ll have songs with a very fresh feel to it.”
The concert had a very intimate feel to it as the twins kept the mood really light and fun. It was just like watching one of their YouTube videos, except it was live on stage. They brought their usual on-screen banter as well.
Between songs, the twins were sharing jokes and chatting with the audience as well as each other. They even talked about The Hunger Games, and Janice said that they like Taylor Swift’s Safe and Sound off the movie’s soundtrack the best.
The girls described the song as “hauntingly beautiful”, which pretty much summed up their version of it as well. Their cover of the song, which really highlighted their trademark harmonies, was a treat for the audience as it is not available on their YouTube page.
Jayesslee also performed Failure In Disguise, an original song which was inspired by their late mother’s battle with cancer.
The duo then went back to their South Korean roots with their rendition of K-Pop group Miss A’s Goodbye Baby. The twins also performed some of their more popular YouTube covers including I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz, Payphone and of course the cover that started it all, Officially Missing You.
They ended the show with a cover of Amazing Grace and Switchfoot’s Dare You To Move, before returning to the stage for an encore. After many pleas and chants from the audience, the duo returned to perform Price Tag by Jessie J.