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Jorja Smith, press 2017

What’s the deal with Jorja Smith?

Introducing the socially conscious neo-soul singer from the Midlands

By Rhian Daly

Who’s that?
Jorja is a 20-year-old R&B/neo-soul singer from Walsall. She’s been compared to Amy Winehouse and FKA Twigs and the Bajan queen of pop herself, Rihanna. She only put out her debut song, the Dizzee Rascal-sampling ‘Blue Lights’, last January, but she’s already earned a place on the BBC’s Sound of 2017 list and collaborated with a certain Canadian rapper.

That can only be Drake?
Correct. Little old Champagne Papi has been a fan since the start. She joined him at his Birmingham gigs earlier this year and also features on his ‘More Life’ release, alongside far more established names such as Giggs, 2 Chainz and some guy called Kanye West.

So far, so impressive. But what about her?
Don’t worry, she’s got the goods. Recent single ‘Beautiful Little Fools’ showed she’s not just talented, she’s also someone to believe in. The empowering track is about accepting who you are because, as she says, everyone sees beauty differently. She’s also tackled racial profiling and distrust of police, as well as more personal issues.

Sounds like she’s got it all…
You’d better believe it. There’s a reason she’s one of the UK’s brightest young newcomers and it’s not just because she’s as comfortable channelling grime as she is sampling seventeenth-century composers (‘A Prince’ features some of Henry Purcell’s Baroque melodies).

So her music’s pretty eclectic then?
You could say that. Last year’s ‘Project 11’ EP is the definition of that approach, placing jazzy pop next to piano ballads, Destiny’s Child references and serene spoken word. Let’s just say you probably shouldn’t try and second guess her – ever.

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