Clinching the Critics’ Choice BRIT Award isn’t ever a guarantee of sustained success or even a well-received debut, as a quick perusal of the list of previous winners will attest. Jorja Smith, you suspect, needed neither the affirmation of her ability or any more of a pedestal than she already had, given that she’s already got high-profile collaborations with Drake and Kendrick Lamar under her belt.
‘Lost & Found’ would surely have emerged sounding this assured and fully-formed regardless of the Midlander’s extracurricular successes since she began working on it two years ago; there’s a diversity of stylistic approach and yet a singularity of vision that few artists are able to combine so early on. The crackle of a vinyl record can be heard at points throughout the album, as if to signpost the fact that Jorja’s deepest influences are of a different era - think Lauryn Hill on ‘Teenage Fantasy’, or D’Angelo on the minimalist title track.
Elsewhere, Amy Winehouse’s earlier work is recalled on the acoustically-driven ‘Goodbyes’, but it’s the likes of ‘Blue Lights’ - already a hit single - or ‘February 3rd’ that offer the strongest indications of her appeal to the present titans of hip hop; they’re downtempo, late-night affairs that owe more to Massive Attack or Portishead than past R&B superstars. There’s the occasional misfire - she doesn’t pull off the falsetto that she aims for on ‘Tomorrow’, for instance - but for the most part, Jorja Smith’s only real concern once ‘Lost & Found’ is out is how she’s going to top it.
Get your copy of the latest issue
More like this
It follows the release of her ‘Be Right Back’ EP.
The single features on her recent EP ‘Be Right Back’.
Even a chaotic technical fuck up can’t dim its light.
It’s in the first half, shorn of any jazzy accompaniment, that ‘Be Right Back’ is truly interesting.