Jorja Smith: The Next Neo-Soul Queen

Mariama Samateh, Staff Writer

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Every generation brings along with it musical artists who define the period. This recent generation of talent has brought forth some eclectic artists: The Internet, an R&B neo-soul band nominated for a Grammy; Bruno Mars; Janelle Monae; others who’ve created their own, unique form of R&B and neo-soul.

The artists of this generation have brought back the “70s-90s” feel that listeners have been missing for quite a while. A closer look at these artists reveals one who stands out from the rest as a unique and (another adjective here) performer: Jorja Smith.

Smith, a 19-year-old Walsall, England native, has been performing since the age of 8. According to Aimee Cliff’s Fader magazine interview, Smith grew up in a household where all different types of music were played. Smith was born to a jewelry- making mother who spent her twenties in London, and a Jamaican-born father who was the lead singer of a neo-soul vocal group called 2nd Naicha. Smith also notes that this upbringing heavily influenced her modern soul style.

Smith revealed her talents to the Internet in 2011 when a friend of hers recorded her singing the song “Too Close” by Alex Clare and posted it on YouTube, the article also states. From that first step, she became known at school, and managers from London began contacting her. After finishing high school, she moved to London to further pursue her music career. She spent most of her time writing music until she released her first single “Blue Lights”, which was inspired by current events involving issues with the black community and police officers in London. She sampled the track “Sirens” by Dizzee Rascals which was also about the maltreatment of blacks with cops in the U.K.

Following the release of her single “Blue Lights”, Smith received strong reviews from critics such as Vice, who viewed her track as a “powerful social commentary and hugely impressive debut.” Shortly after her initial release, Smith released another single “Where Did I Go?” which received high acclaim including attention from Drake who classified the song as his summer “favorite of the moment.”

On November 17, 2016, Smith released her solo debut EP, Project 11, that consists of just 4 tracks and an interlude consisting of mainly soulful, sultry R&B, neo-soul tracks. She beautifully displays her vocal range, producing a delicate yet unforgettable work of art.

On March 8, Smith released her first Vevo-funded video called “Beautiful Little Fools” inspired by Daisy Buchanan from “The Great Gatsby”, who wished for her daughter to be a beautiful little fool. Smith soulfully sings of how women should not lower their standards in order to be adored by a man.

This is just the beginning of what should be a long, successful journey for the 19-year-old singer. There is no doubt that 2017 is guaranteed to be a big year for Smith as more listeners find their way to these beautifully made tracks by Jorja Smith.


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Jorja Smith: The Next Neo-Soul Queen