At just 21, Jorja Smiths list of achievements thus far is already extensive; a Brits Choice Award, a hugely popular debut album, collaborations with Drake and Stormzy and most recently a sold out tour with two nights at the Manchester Albert Hall. To the backing track of the bands talented instrumental, Smith nonchalantly sauntered on stage on her second night at the iconic venue wearing a Flapper style embellished dress and beginning the evening with her records title track Lost and Found. A sultry start took us through 90 minutes of genre spanning flair, culminating in the upbeat dance track On My Mind and a mass crowd party.
Already possessing an impressive number of hits despite a short career so far, Smith with un-floundering confidence competes with the crowd for loudness during Teenage Fantasy and On Your Own which revealed the audience to be awed fans of Smith and knowing all the lyrics. Much of Jorja Smiths success can be attributed to the ease in which she blends together her influences of blues, soul, r&b and jazz. Her smokey jazz vocals carried the softer sounds of the band through slower, soul tracks Something In the Way, Febuary 3rdand Wandering Romance before seamlessly transcending into the more urban Blue Lights and Lifeboats. The latter two more politically charged tracks address issues close to Jorja of social inequity, wealth, privilege and the oppression of the under privileged.
Despite rarely moving from the mic stand, Smith occupied a mesmerising stage presence which harked back to the effortlessness of Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone, both cited by Smith as heavy influences. Sensual swaying and the empowering nature of her songs, concerning independence and a depth of thought and worldliness seldom seen in musicians so young clearly resonate with the sold out and increasingly passionate crowd. Returning to stage for her encore, Smith gave an affecting performance of Don’t Watch me Cry, accompanied with just a piano before bringing singer and rapper Maverick Saber on stage to perform their collaboration Carry Me Home which proved to be a highlight of the night. The show ended with On My Mind, Smith’s rowdy garage club track with producer Preditah.
The night confirmed Jorja Smith to be one of the most innovative, comfortable and transcending artists currently around and her rapid ascending to musical mastery shows no signs of slowing down.