Live Review: Jessica Mauboy: Exclusive Nescafe Acoustic Session - The Vanguard (15.11.13)

This year marks Jessica Mauboy’s first headline solo tour, and she is already one of the biggest names in Australian pop music; at only 24 the singer has accomplished an impressive amount, with instantly recognisable singles, a massive and adoring fanbase, and one very critically acclaimed film (The Sapphires).

With six top-ten singles to her name, it seems fitting that renowned coffee brand Nescafe reach out to Jess for help in celebrating 75 years of the brand. As sponsors for Mauboy’s current ‘To the End of the Earth’ tour, Nescafe put on special intimate showcases for fans to get up close to the pop singer, allowing the rare opportunity to hear her share inspirations and stories behind each of her songs.

Sydney’s showcase took place in the quiet, elegant space of The Vanguard in Newtown. With the morning still looming, guests politely filed into the venue and took their place on multi-coloured seats, arranged carefully to resemble the rainbow-esque graphic shown on stage. Free coffee and kit-kats were handed out while we waited for the prompt Mauboy to strut onto the stage with four of her close friends-slash-musicians.

Obviously in a bright and chirpy mood, the singer started with a stripped-down ‘Burn,’ with the hit song taking on a whole new life and allowing her to show off those fantastic high-notes. ‘Gotcha’ was up second and saw more playfulness coming from the stage. After the song, Mauboy opened up about her love for The Sapphires and how very proud she is of the movie. “It’s like I found a whole ‘nother voice that I didn’t know was there,” she explained, detailing how the director encouraged Jess to find her inner sass, diving in deep to truly refine her vocals.

“A lot of people think my main inspiration is Beyonce, but it has always been Mariah,” the singer revealed she grew up with country singers like Slim Dusty, which her mother would always listen to, and then singers like Mariah Carey, which her older sister loved.

Onto a sweet cover of ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ by The Four Tops; a lively rendition of Wilson Pickett’s ‘Land of 1000 Dancers’; and a very soulful version of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time.’ All three were excellent displays of Mauboy’s penchant for soul music, endearing her more as a stunning vocalist and shunning any misconceptions of her as just another over-produced pop star.

Delving back into her first album was single ‘Been Waiting’ and closer ‘Pop a Bottle.’ It was interesting to hear the latter without the excessive pop production; a welcome acoustic version that was still fun enough to get the crowd grooving in their seats.

For fans of Jessica Mauboy, this showcase was a special treat; a love letter from the singer and from Nescafe to allow us to peer behind the scenes and get a bit personal with one of Aussie pop’s brightest. A brief Q&A session closed the session, with Mauboy graciously thanking us for coming.

Tickets are still available for Jessica Mauboy's current tour and can be purchased here