Some people are fortunate to have been born with a gift, a natural talent, not simply taught or produced, just an ability to excel at something they possess within from childhood. Blackpool songstress Jess Allan is one such person, blessed with a flawlessly wonderful voice and suited to a varied range of styles and genres. Be it jazz, blues, R&B or soul, Jess can turn her hand to most of those categories of music and her distinctive vocal tones set her apart from many other female singers in the area. Described in many circles as ‘world class’, it may be a huge label to pin on a young singer, who at just 17 years of age has undoubtedly got a big future ahead of her. But you can’t underestimate or fail to admire the sheer quality every time you hear her perform.
Hidden amongst her soulful tones, is a jaw-dropping opera voice. Jess has the ability to reduce folk to tears and she receives standing ovations wherever she performs, which is a testament to how lucky the area is to have such young inspirational talent in its midst. This without any training whatsoever, which makes Jess Allan even more remarkable.
Jess won’t deny it, it’s been a tough road and it continues to set challenges, but her determination and mental toughness overrides anything that may cross her path. Through some bullying issues at high school, illness and other such problems that can quite easily dent the confidence of any teenager, Jess consistently pulls through and moves forward. The shining light which drives her on is her voice as well as the constant and unwavering feedback, support and plaudits she receives.
Throughout her school years, the quirky and likeable Jess won competition after competition and she was finally rewarded with the honour of performing alongside one of her heroes, Russell Watson, on the Opera House stage, singing the beautiful Panis Angelicus.
Jess told me, “Performing Nessun Dorma at the Empress Ballroom is high up on the list as one of my highlights.”
Many establishments and venues around the Fylde coast have been privileged to witness Jess sing several great opera classics and in saving Nessun Dorma for her closing salvo, she never fails to bring an emotional and rousing reception.
“Last summer, the Old Town Hall in Poulton kindly staged a musical afternoon called Jess Allan & Friends and I couldn’t believe the reaction to my performance! The whole place just stood up and cheered me, it was so inspiring and really appreciated,” said Jess “I even took a photo of the crowd with my phone, it was amazing and probably one of the best gigs I’ve ever done. The people in there were really lovely that day.”
But as I touched on earlier, Jess isn’t a one trick pony. Her amazingly versatile voice allows her to switch genres easily and effortlessly. Performing at the Blackpool Sixth Form College, where she now studies music, at concert in the autumn, Jess stormed her way through a set of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll numbers, such as Summertime and Reet Petit, with an ensemble of young musicians, including backing singers and a full horn section behind her. It was sensational and you would have paid good money to see such quality anywhere else.
I asked about her influences and inspiration: “I am inspired by Katherine Jenkins, but I also love the likes of Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. But I love chilled acoustic music too and London Grammar are amazing,” said Jess “One day I would love to sing with Alfie Boe at the Albert Hall in London! Dream big, I say,” she quipped. And so she should.
With several live radio shows behind her and with some exciting things lined up this year, things are definitely looking rosy for Jess.
Jess told me, “Unfortunately, I have had a lot of problems with my tonsils, which can occasionally hinder my progress, so I’m due to have them removed very soon so I can move forward. But I do have a huge performance at Preston Guildhall lined up for the end of March, which I’m very excited about. It’s going to be a full house and I get my own dressing room! How good is that?
“I’m also going on a tour to Germany in the summer with college, which will be brilliant.” she added.
It’s the very tip of the iceberg for Jess and no doubt with the support and feedback she continually receives, it won’t be long before we see her on far bigger stages around the country, or dare I say the world?
Check out more information and news about Jess on her Facebook music page: Jess-Allan-Music
Images by The Extra Third Photography unless otherwise stated.
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