Jorja Smith is about to take over the airwaves. Luckily, she’s great
We make a lot of predictions at ShortList. Some we get right - like when we tipped Tiger Roll to win the National, purely on the strength of its name.
Others, like suggesting that Zinedine Zidane would probably not amount to much as a manager - we get wrong.
But rarely have we occupied the role of soothsayer so gloriously as we when we first featured a then up-and-coming singer called Jorja Smith in February 2016, when she released the track ‘Blue Lights’ to her Soundcloud.
When we heard it, we wrote:
“We’re just into February and the first big music industry scrum of the year is under way, in the form of unsigned 18-year-old Walsall singer Jorja Smith. However, in contrast to most explosions of hype, this one is completely justified.
“Blue Lights ticks every single box of what you’d want from a potential new global superstar, featuring (no pressure) distinct echoes of Amy Winehouse, the sass of Rihanna, the purity of voice of Adele, the easy switch between singing and rapping shown before by Lauryn Hill - and she even chucks in a cool Dizzee Rascal sample for good measure. Lyrically, strangely, it reminds us of early Arctic Monkeys - wryly observing a situation around her - and thinking over the consequences of what she’s seeing… As ever, one song alone won’t be enough, but this is a startlingly good debut.
“In three words: Future global star”
Yeah, that was a good one.
Since then, of course, she’s won plaudits across the board, picked up the Brits Critics’ Choice Award, released the unbelievably brilliant ‘On My Mind’ with Preditah (officially the sixth best song of 2017), collaborated with Drake and Stormzy and wowed crowds at various festivals including Coachella.
And now, with her debut album Lost & Found due for release on 8 June, she’s finally come back round to where it all started with the impending re-release/re-push/whatever you call it these days of ‘Blue Lights’.
And there’s a great video for it now too:
If this isn’t an utterly enormous smash that stays on the radio all summer then you can call me Zinedine Zidane.