As the evolution of R&B happens, we begin to look to the future of it and the singers that’ll be taking R&B to the next phase. Jorja Smith is one of those singers that’ll be pushing R&B past it’s boundaries.
Jorja, if you don’t already know, has a voice of an angel with soul and R&B roots. The 20-year-old singer hails from Walsall, England but the distance from the UK and the USA has not put on a damper on Jorja’s career. More than anything, her unique background and sound have drawn so many people her way. Including Drake. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Jorja’s career is in the early stages but that doesn’t mean you should count her out. Jorja grew up listening on Damien Marley, Curtis Mayfield and the music of her father’s neo-soul group, 2nd Naicha. The blend of Reggae, Soul, Jazz and R&B really paved the way for Jorja’s musical palette. She started singing at the age of eight and starting writing songs at the age of 11. As she told Fader, Jorja’s first song was titled, “High Street” and it was about her home, Walsall, during the late-’00s when an economic recession took place. Imagine being the tender age of 11 writing about an economic recession. Clearly this says a lot about Jorja and where her career was going next.
Fast forward to Jorja’s 15 year of age. Already deep in music and not only vocally but already playing the piano and oboe, Jorja was probably more embedded in music than your average teen. So when her cover of Alex Clare’s hit, “Too Close,” got to her current managers, it was only understandable that they fell in love with Jorja’s voice.
A few years passed by and Jorja’s manager stuck by her while she finished school. By the time she graduated, she was ready to move to London with more than 70 songs written. Once she made it to London, Jorja went into overdrive and focused on creating music in between working shifts at Starbucks. It wasn’t long before her self-released debut single, “Blue Lights,” was making it’s rounds and starting catching people’s attention. The appreciation for Jorja’s “Blue Lights” was only the beginning.
Once “Where Did I Go?” came out, other artists couldn’t deny her talent. And this is where Drake comes in. The Toronto rapper heard Jorja’s track and when asked by Entertainment Weekly what was his favorite track of the moment, “Where Did I Go?” was the song. And as most know, things sort of go up once Drake shows you love.
To say Jorja was having a good year was an understatement so of course, she closed it out with her first body of work, Project 11, 4-track EP. And boy did Project 11 really start a wildfire.
“Blue Lights” was nominated in the Best Song category at the 2016 MOBO Awards and Jorja found herself supporting Drake on his UK tour at shows in Birmingham and London. These things only confirmed what everyone was thinking: Jorja is up next.
Since debuting her single, “Blue Lights,” Jorja has been featured on two tracks on Drake’s More Life, been featured in countless lists of artists to look out for and let’s not forget her hit track, “On My Mind,” that listeners from the UK to the USA have fallen in love with.
With such an amazing background story, that is still growing, it would be pretty disappointing if you weren’t paying attention to what Jorja Smith will be doing next. If you don’t, you’ll easily mess out on the future of R&B.