Singer Joji performs onstage during the 88 Rising Head in the Clouds Festival at Los Angeles State Historic Park on September 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
On Thursday night I had the pleasure of seeing Joji at his first ever headline show. The YouTuber turned Musician had sold out Heaven, a 1600 capacity venue in London, in minutes. The demand for tickets was so high that he quickly added a second date that sold out as quickly as the first.
The lo-fi singer announced a tour off the back of his latest project, Ballads1. The 19-show tour began in London, but he visits Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin before returning to the United States. I’ve been a big fan of Joji since his debut project and was a long-time subscriber to his channel, Filthy Frank, which he abandoned to pursue music. This was a brave decision considering all his online following had been accrued through his weird and provocative sense of humour; it was a risk to see if he could still appeal to the same audience with his music but it certainly paid off.
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg aka PewDiePie attends the book signing for 'This Book Loves You' held at Barnes & Noble at The Grove on October 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
I entered the crowd around ten minutes before Joji was due to perform. As I waded through the packed venue, I caught eyes with a very familiar face. Pewdiepie and his girlfriend, Marzia, stood on the edge of the crowd. For those of you who don’t know, Pewdiepie (real name Felix Kjellberg) is a YouTuber, who is most famous for his video game commentary videos. He currently has 75M subscribers, significantly more than any other channel, which made it a somewhat surreal experience bumping into him at a gig.
Joji opened with Will He, his first single, a slow and sombre piano-led track that tells a tale of heartbreak and how he felt when he first saw his ex with someone else. “I don’t need to know, I just want to make sure you’re ok” Joji crooned. For an artist who is embarking on his first solo tour, he was extremely confident and seemed a natural on stage.
He closed the set with Slow Dancing In The Dark. Another heartfelt ballad over a dark instrumental about a failed relationship. It focuses on his insecurities, “give me reasons we should be complete, you should be with him I can’t compete”. The night ended with the whole room, all of which were under thirty, singing along to a ballad – so it’s safe to say it was a pretty unique experience.
If you get the chance, try and see Joji when he’s on tour. Not only is he an excellent musician but he’s also incredible live. Be sure to keep an eye out for new music from Joji in 2019, his show was proof that he is without doubt one of the most talented new artists I’ve seen in a while.