Who You Are (Jessie J song)

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"Who You Are"
Single by Jessie J
from the album Who You Are
Released 13 November 2011[1]
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:50
Label Lava, Island
Writer(s) Jessica Cornish, Toby Gad, Shelly Peiken
Producer(s) Toby Gad
Jessie J singles chronology
"Domino"
(2011)
"Who You Are"
(2011)
"Up"
(2011)
Music video
"Who You Are" on YouTube

"Who You Are" is a song by British singer-songwriter Jessie J, released as the sixth overall single from her debut studio album of the same name. The song was written by Cornish, Toby Gad and Shelly Peiken, while the production was handled by Gad. The single was released via digital download on 13 November 2011. Musically, "Who You Are" is a mid-tempo pop rock ballad with R&B influences. The song's lyrics address the importance of staying true to one's identity. According to Cornish, she wrote the song after a three-month lonely trip. The song received very positive reviews from music critics, who complimented her strong vocals in the song and considered a highlight on the album.[2]

Background[edit]

"The other day I had a girl message me saying 'I was ready to take my life and then I heard "Who You Are"'. That pressure is beautiful but scary at the same time. I want to be a positive role model for young people. I always say that I'm half-artist, half-therapist. I'm very much someone that lives to be happy. It's not just about the parties and I know so-and-so – I'm not that girl. So I looked in the mirror and started to cry and said 'who am I?' Music is my therapy."[3]

"Who You Are'" was written by Cornish, Toby Gad and Shelly Peiken, while the production was handled by Gad.[4] Cornish was inspired to name her first album, Who You Are after the song by the same name. She also revealed that she is proudest of the song.[3] Cornish wrote the song at the end of a lonely three-month trip to Los Angeles when she was 20, having been shunted from studio to studio with various producers.[3] Cornish explained the song's meaning during an intimate show at The Sofitel's Stone Rose on 2 November 2010: She revealed, "I kind of lost myself. It's very personal. It's about being true to yourself. Don't lose yourself in any situation you're put in, and do the dew."[5] She explained to The Sun why she chose this as her title track: "This song saved my life musically. The day before I wrote this song I was ready to give up music. It's amazing how three-and-a-half minutes of melody and lyrics can change your life and I'm so happy that not only has it saved my life but it's saving other people's. That's why my debut album is called Who You Are."[5] According to The Independent, "Who You Are" is the song that draws the most messages from fans, on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.[3] The song was released first as a promotional single.[6]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The song received positive reviews from music critics. Mike Diver from BBC Music wrote that the song returns Jessie J "to an acoustic accompaniment, and makes for a fine closer – it's her Hometown Glory, without the raw emotion but touching nonetheless."[7] Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian wrote that the song is a "self-empowerment dirge" and compared its theme with Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" (2011).[8]

Chart performance[edit]

"Who You Are" was released first as a promotional single and peaked at number 86 on the Australian Singles Chart,[9] number 40 on UK Singles Chart[10] and number 85 on the Canadian Hot 100.[11] In November, "Who You Are" was released as the fifth single from her debut album in the UK. It peaked at number 8 on the UK Singles Chart[12] making it Jessie J's fourth top-ten single in the United Kingdom. Due to digital downloads, the song reached number 112 in the US even though it wasn't released as a single in the country.[13]

Music video[edit]

Jessie J in the music video for "Who You Are"

The official music video was released on Jessie J's official YouTube and Vevo channels on 29 September 2011.[14] The clip was inspired by the one for Sinéad O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U."[5] The video was directed by Emil Nava.

The video features Jessie J in front of the camera as if it was her mirror in a bedroom. She is wearing a grey top with a black sports bra underneath. An en suite is visible in the background. Various angles of her singing are used throughout, e.g. on the bath in the en suite, on the floor, on the bed, etc. A mirror can be seen above left of the bed. Jewellery at the end of the bed, and on a bed-side locker, amongst other places are shown.[14] As Jessie J begins to sing the final bridge, water begins to drip in front of her face. As the water falls, she wipes a drop from under her eye, as if she was crying. The entire room begins to be rained on, and wind begins to blow. Jessie J is completely soaking wet. Lights on the wall, and the lamp on her locker begin to spark, and turn off. The wind moves the jewellery off the bed and locker, taking the lamp with it. The mirror on the wall shakes. The video ends as the rain dies down, while Jessie J remains looking in her mirror.[14]

Covers[edit]

American contestant Angie Miller covered "Who You Are" for Hollywood Round in American Idol, on 17 January 2013, and later reprised the song during the top 4 on 24 April 2013.

Formats and track listings[edit]

  • Digital download[6]
  1. "Who You Are" – 3:50
  • Digital EP[1]
  1. "Who You Are" – 3:50
  2. "Who You Are" (Exemen Remix) - 5:07
  3. "Who You Are" (Seamus Haji Remix Radio Edit) - 3:46
  4. "Who You Are" (Live Acoustic Version) - 5:19

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits for "Who You Are" are taken from Allmusic,[15] and album's liner notes.[4]

  • Jessica Cornish – writing, vocals
  • Toby Gad – writing, producing
  • Shelly Peiken – writing

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom 13 November 2011[21] Digital download Lava Records, Island Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Who You Are (Remixes) - EP by Jessie J". 11 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Jessie J to release 'Who You Are' as fifth single Digital Spy
  3. ^ a b c d "Jessie J - The girl from Essex who plans to take the pop world by storm". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Who You Are (liner notes). Jessie J. Lava, Island. 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Who You Are by Jessie J - Songfacts". Songfacts. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Who You Are - Single". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Diver, Mike (24 February 2011). "Jessie J Who You Are Review". Virgin Media. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (24 February 2011). "Jessie J: Who You Are – review". Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "ARIA Charts > ARIA Report > 9 May 2011" (pdf) (Press release) (1106). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "UK Charts > Jessie J". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Canadian Hot 100 > Week of April 30, 2011 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  12. ^ "Chart Stats - Jessie J - Who You Are". UK Singles Chart Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  13. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/304565/Jessie+J/chart?f=344
  14. ^ a b c "Jessie J — Who You Are". YouTube. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  15. ^ "Who You Are". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart.
  17. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Jessie J – Who You Are". Singles Top 60.
  18. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart.
  19. ^ "Jessie J Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Jessie J.
  20. ^ http://www.bpi.co.uk/certifiedawards/Search.aspx
  21. ^ "Who You Are - by Jessie J". iTunes Store. Retrieved 17 November 2011.