For the first time in 17 years, the Spring Fling headliner is a female artist: Jessie J.
The Yale College Council formally announced this year’s lineup at half past midnight on Thursday, via a three-minute video screened at Toad’s Place before a crowd of roughly 300 people. The opening performance will be by St. Lucia, followed by the headliner Jessie J. Klingande will be the closing act. Taking into account feedback from two YCC surveys containing a choice of roughly 30 artists, YCC Spring Fling Committee Chair Thomas Marano ’16 said Jessie J was chosen as one of the most popular options among students. YCC Events Director Jaime Halberstam ’16 said students in the past had also indicated their desire for a pop music headliner like Jessie J.
“What we’re most proud of is that these are all artists who you can’t help but dance to,” Halberstam said. “Jessie J is from England and Klingande is from France, so we’re bringing the European vibes to New Haven.”
Students interviewed at Toad’s immediately after the YCC’s announcement expressed their satisfaction with the committee’s decision, despite the lack of a hip-hop act in the lineup as has been case in previous years.
YCC President Michael Herbert ’16, who did not know about the lineup before it was announced, said the Spring Fling Committee completed a successful search in the face of high anticipation across the University. Rachel Miller ’15 also commended the group for making the most of limited resources, noting that she was excited to see a pop performer take the stage in April.
“It was more exciting [for me] not knowing who the lineup was,” Herbert said. “Our Spring Fling team was up the creek without a paddle and they made it happen.”
Born and raised in London, Jessie J — born Jessica Cornish — gained international fame after the release of her debut single “Do It Like a Dude,” which rose to number two on the U.K. singles charts. With over a billion total views on YouTube, Jessie J has performed at the Olympics and worked with other prominent artists including Chris Brown, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj.
As in past years, the YCC Spring Fling Committee was able to secure the headliner at a significantly lower price relative to the artist’s bookings later in the year, Marano said. He attributed the relatively low cost to the fact that the committee had booked Jessie J the week before her third album “Sweet Talker” was released on Oct. 13. The album features the single “Bang Bang,” which peaked at number six on Billboard’s Hot 100.
“When it comes time to determine our following artists we think about how they form a cohesive and diverse lineup,” Halberstam said. “We watch a lot of music videos of the artists’ live performances and we also consider not just quality but how the student body would react.”
Klingande first gained international success with their single “Jubel.” The single reached the number five spot on the French singles chart. Halberstam noted the committee chose Klingande as the closing act due to the duo’s prominent use of piano and saxophone, which she said is well suited for the laser lighting during the night.
Spring Fling Committee member Tobias Holden ’17 said he thinks Kingande’s more mellow tunes will be ideal to listen to after the headliner’s performance.
Brooklyn-based band St. Lucia released their first full length album in October 2013. Lead singer Jean-Philip Grobler has remixed songs for musicians such as Passion Pit and Foster the People.
“I’m most excited for St. Lucia,” David Lilienfeld ’15 said. “I like their fresh sound that treads the line between hipster rock and dance music.”
Spring Fling Committee member Jamie Hobson ’17 said that every year the committee tries to introduce students to underground artists with well-known music.
Former Spring Fling Committee chair Erica Leh ’15 said most students do not know the opening and closing acts, adding that as the budget goes down, so do the reputations of the artists.
Ella Anderson ’17 said while she has seen Jessie J in concert, she only knew one song by each of the other artists.
“We always try and choose a diverse lineup to make it as accessible to everyone as possible,” Marano said. “What we’re most happy about is that all of the artists are people who none of the students take issues with.”
The last female headliner to perform at Yale’s Spring Fling concert was the Indigo Girls in 1998.