Jorja Smith’s highly-anticipated headline UK tour began last night. Her Bristol date has completely sold out, everyone keen to see this Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill musical lovechild.
In 2016, her first release Blue Lights was posted on Soundcloud and the newcomer began to generate a serious buzz. Haunting opening chords set the tone for the rest of the track, which is a poignant reflection on the natural distrust and dislike black men and other people of colour show towards police.
Jorja has been making waves in the industry since her early EP Project 11. But when the Preditah produced track On My Mind hit the airwaves, she gained a solid following. She has collaborated with celebrated artists like Drake, Kali Uchis and Stormzy, to name a few. Smith even won the prestigious Brit award for Critic’s Choice in January 2018, all before she dropped her debut album in June of this year.
On Lost & Found, Jorja has stayed true to her soulful sound: a mix of R&B and jazz, including clear influences from trip-hop like Portishead. A debut that was worth the wait, Lost & Found indisputably reinforces her lauded status as a powerful singer songwriter. It’s packed with gorgeous melodies, on tracks from The One to Wandering Romance. Smith showcases an unbelievable vocal range on the more stripped-back Goodbyes. Then, in Lifeboats, Jorja takes a break from singing to launch into a freestyle that examines the selfishness of society. It will be interesting to see how Jorja tackles the live versions of these new songs. Undoubtedly, early singles, like Teenage Fantasy, Blue Lights and Where Did I Go?, will also electrify the O2 tonight.
This debut displays the extent of Jorja’s promising talent. And her effortless control is even more stunning live, as I witnessed at Primavera Sound festival this past summer. Looking around at the enraptured crowd, it was evidently an impossibility to witness Jorja’s voice and stand still.
Take it from me, this gig is definitely not one to miss. That is, if you manage to find a ticket.