Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
Jorja Smith began 2016 as an unknown artist, but only five weeks into the year she’s shown how one song can change everything. The 18-year-old R&B singer is now one of the most sought-after unsigned artists in the UK, and we can assume she won’t be without a deal for long. Jorja posted a track called Blue Lights online in January… three days later it was no.1 on Hype Machine, and two weeks later it had 250k plays on Soundcloud. This happened thanks to rave reviews from an impressive array of tastemakers, including NME, i-D, Complex and the Sunday Times, and shout-outs from Stormzy (with whom she shares a PR agency and producer) and Skrillex. Blue Lights is described by Jorja as “social commentary,” and samples Sirens by Dizzee Rascal. Musically and vocally, Jorja has been compared to Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill and Rihanna. While she may sound like a London girl at first, she’s actually from Walsall, and the producer Joice is from Milton Keynes. I wonder if it’s their distance from the centre of the British music scene that enabled them to make something that sounds so current yet fresh. The challenge for Jorja and her team now will be to live up to expectations, and earn back the large amount of money that somebody is about to spend on her.