Jorja Smith 20 London
Categories: Music, Musician, Performer

Posted: 25th June 2017

If ever there were an anti- X-Factor story- here it is. Hailing from Walsall, in the Midwest of England, 20-year-old Jorja Smith has grown up surrounded by music. Born to a jeweller mother, and a musician father, Jorja’s very raw talents were encouraged and nurtured in her creative household. Her father, who’d been part of a Neo-soul band, encouraged his prodigiously talented daughter to learn the piano from a young age. At eight years old she was already performing and by 11 she had penned her first song.

In year 7 she got into secondary school on a music scholarship and trained as a classical singer, singing in French German and Italian (despite her untameable, wandering vocals, you can hear that refined control in her voice). Then, like all good, modern Cinderella stories, the internet stepped in and changed the teenager’s life forever. Like most breaks Jorja’s so happened to take place on YouTube when a pal of hers uploaded a video of the then 15-year-old Jorja singing Alex Clare’s “Too Close”.

Her now current management got hold of the clip, but encouraged her to finish school before doing anything about it. That’s not to say she wasn’t busy honing her skills when not in the classroom though, in fact, she’d commute to London during her school holidays to write and record. The hard work paid off. Come 2016, and the singer had released her first single “Blue Lights”. The track is a perfect example of how Jorja’s classical training and contemporary tastes- notably grime- collide with magical impact. The track, a soulful, earnest look at police brutality is exemplary of Jorja’s preferred positioning- as concerned onlooker. The track’s bruised sympathy, which samples Dizzee Rascal’s “Sirens”, rang true, hit a nerve and started to circulate. 'Blue Lights' was nominated in the Best Song category at the MOBO Awards that same year and come 2016, she was shortlisted for BBC’s Sound of 2017. Stormzy and Skrillex are out and proud fans. No biggie. Jorja's first EP, Project 11 meant any doubters were silenced.

It’s quite hard to squish into a sentence just how much Jorja has achieved in those eighteen months but the most notable cherry on top off the cake has to be her inimitable vocals- that so closely resemble her idol, Amy Winehouse- appearing on Drake’s album More Life, no less than twice. There’s even a track called “Jorja’s Interlude”. In fact, Drizzy invited Jorja to perform ‘Blue Lights” on the Birmingham leg of his album tour (where Walsall got a cheeky shout out) and later again at his London show.

You might think, what with the headline shows and the A-list endorsements already under her belt, that Jorja might take a moment to sit back and enjoy the view, but she’s working harder than ever. When we ask about dream collaborators she’s quick off the mark: "Damien Marley, Sade, Yasiin Bey." If Jorja’s current CV is anything to go by we can’t imagine any of those names are too big an ask for the UK’s most exciting voice in decades. Despite the accolades, awards and fan-boys, Jorja manages to be a rare thing- hugely successful and wondrously humble.

Tell us about yourself and what you do:I am a singer/song writerWhat's your first musical memory?Performing Silent Night at Church for The Nativity play I wrote when I was 8.Who would be your dream collaborator?I have a few, would love to work with Damien Marley, Sade, Yasiin Bey.What kind of an example do you hope to set for young women?To be themselves and be real with themselves.What's been your career highlight to date?So much has gone on, was really special for Drake to bring me out to perform 'Blue Lights' on his Boy Meets World Tour at the O2 in London.What's the first thing you do when you get up?Check my phone, how sad.When are you happiest?On stage or with all my friends and seeing them all laugh and smile.Who do you admire?Currently admire all that Adwoa Aboah is doing for all the young girls and women out here.What's your current obsession?Hand cream every time after washing my hands.Song to be playing as you enter the club?'Did You See' but J Hus.Time you laughed the hardest?There never went a day at school without almost bursting into tears with laughter.What's your signature dish?Chicken noodle soup because that's the only thing I have currently perfected to cook without looking at a recipe. One item of clothing that best sums you up?Nike air max 95sWhat three things would be on your rider?2 x White Zinfandel Rose, honey/lemon/ginger and kettle chips.What's your pet hate?Slow WalkersWhat's next?More Shows, More Music. AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Jamilah Barry and Charlotte Dos Santos.
Why: They're both so soulful.
Contact Jorja Smith