The mesmerising set at The Leadmill washed anyway any doubts that Jorja Smith is currently Britain’s brightest star.
In 2017, Smith made waves in the British music industry. She was longlisted at the BBC’s sound of 2017, nominated for best female at the MOBO and not only collaborated with Drake but had an interlude named after her. Now, in 2018 these waves have turned seismic, the Gloucester-born soul star released her first track of the year with none other than Stormzy and has just won the Brit’s Critics Choice Award.
The set was minimal with a few traditional looking lampshades hung from the sealing at varying levels – shining all the light and focus on Smith. Unfazed she effortlessly opened with the melancholy ‘Something in the Way’ from her debut EP, ‘Project 11’ and hypnotised the cheering crowd into an awestruck silence. This was followed by the equally compelling ‘Where Did I go?’ before she introduced her band who were – as she pointed out – a little hidden from the light.
A various collection of unreleased songs followed with a few firm favourites thrown in including the Gatsby-inspired ‘Beautiful Little Fools’ delivered with heavenly falsettos. The politically charged track ‘Lifeboats’ was the only side-step from her soulful sound as she dipped into an impassioned rap verse with succinct confidence. Her cover of ‘Lost’ picked up the so-far soothing tempo and got the crowd swaying and singing along. This atmosphere was held for the remainder of the set as she jumped into fan-favourites, ‘Blue Lights’ and ‘Teenage Fantasy’.
The tempo soon calmed as ‘Let Me Down’ was performed and Smith’s biggest single ‘On My Mind’ ensued timidly as an acoustic rendition. Then came the hook of the Preditah remix which got the dance vibes cascading through the crowd, concluding the set in style.
Jorja Smith made some sizeable waves in 2017 but after that Leadmill performance it is clear she will be making a tsunami of 2018.
Image credit: Pomona