Jorja Smith’s ‘Lost & Found’: A breath of fresh air

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Photo: Montreux Jazz

Being compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill – Jorja Smith is bringing her own vulnerabilities and honesty to hip-hop and RnB whilst breathing some fresh air and clarity into the insincerities of the world.  

She’s only 20 years-old but Jorja Alice Smith has a musical and lyrical talent that is well beyond her years, but all the same her music is packed to the brim with complete honesty and self-assurance that stay’s true to herself.

Smith is not completely new to the music business, having already released a slew of independent singles, working with Drake, Preditah, Stormzy and Kali Uchis, and releasing one extended play album, ‘Project 11’ in 2016.

‘Lost and Found’ is Smith’s latest album compiled of 12 tracks, each possessing its own integrity, vulnerability, truth and life lesson.

‘Teenage Fantasy’ was written when Smith was just 16 and portrays an ‘all-for-nothing’ type of love. Accompanied by a beautiful rolling piano melody and hip-hop style beat makes this song irresistible. Despite its melancholy nature, Smith emphasises to her listeners how this ‘fake love’ made her stronger, reassuring today’s youth that we shouldn’t rush into relationships to just ‘fit in’ or to feel included, rather we should just “sit back and enjoy the ride” of life.

‘February 3rd also opens to this almost childish yet angelic lullaby sound matured by a resonant electric guitar and steady, contagious percussion. The track expresses Smith’s potential frustration for her ‘lovers’ inability to open up and lose themselves to her. The song concludes with Smith singing, “lose yourself from playing games” in an almost dizzying repetitive spiral, as if she is trying to break down her ‘lover’s’ walls one wall at a time.

‘On Your Own’ has this summer vibe with the resonating piano alongside the soothing percussive beat. Smith’s vocals really shine bright in this track, particularly emphasised through the echo-effect richly layering her angelic vocals, giving this lasting impact which allows Smith to completely fill the musical space.

‘Blue Lights’ also written when she was 16 and released in January 2016 to the response of much success. Smith memorably sings “I wanna turn those blue lights into strobe lights,” over the dreamy lullaby and kicking drum beat. The track offers a new yet rather heartbreaking perspective on the unjust nature of police brutality and racial profiling. As she sings, “If you’ve done nothing wrong, blue lights should just pass you by,” gives a sense of assurance, despite the shaky confidence of her voice. The accompanying video is just as powerful as the song itself.

The first time I heard ‘Lifeboats (Freestyle)’ the catchy percussive beat at the start strangely reminded me of the start of John Mayer’s ‘Waiting on the World to Change’. Alongside the beat is the subtle sound of rain pouring down as Smith begins to appropriately sing, “And it all falls down”. This track really showcases Smith’s lyrical talent and natural intuition. Smith’s simply talks out her lyrics which allows them to be interpreted more seriously by the listener, as she sings about the selfishness of the world, asking us all to be more compassionate to those less fortunate than ourselves. Definitely something we don’t hear about too often in the often ego-fuelled entertainment and music business, Smith is keeping it real.

‘Don’t Watch Me Cry’ concludes the album on a much slower tone. But the track is perfectly fitting, as Smith’s lyrics tell the reality of the extreme emotions that are felt when in a relationship and the guessing games we often play which can be at times potentially destructive. This track is probably one of the tracks in which Smith is at her most vulnerable, expressing her true feelings towards a person she desires and loves, but is simultaneously wondering if they even feel the same feelings at all.

Purchase the ‘Lost & Found’ album here.

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