Thursday 8th February – Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool
Stood elegantly sporting a simple linen dress and coral AirForce, Jorja Smith captured attention with a mere movement. Her small UK tour has completely sold out and it was clear the 20 year old West Midlander was basking in the wonder of fame and awe she received. From the first sultry note of ‘Something In The Way’ to the final beat of garage-esque Preditah collaboration, ‘On My Mind’, in her palm she held Liverpool in wonder as she effortlessly led the crowd through an array of soul and heartbreak.
A shoutout has to be given to the support act, fellow soul singer-rapper Mahalia, who passionately delivered a stunning rendition of SZA’s ‘The Weekend’. The acoustic version of the RnB track was matched sublimely with Mahalia’s unusual tones.
…and then there was Jorja. After opening tracks ‘Where Did I Go’ and ‘Beautiful Little Fools’ set the tone for the kind of intimate, personal gig this was going to be, an intriguing range of new tracks set to grace the long-awaited album (June – for those wondering) made up the body of the setlist. Standout tracks included ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘On Your Own’, soulful ballads which Jorja breezed through with a cool nonchalance.
‘Lifeboats’ offered a surprise as the singer experimented with the political grime genre, noting before the track its importance in the context of austerity and poverty in Britain. Her attempts paid off; it was a bold yet absolutely comfortable section unexpectedly oozing charisma.
The last few tracks took Jorja back to Project 11 and exceeded expectations in the performance of much loved tracks ‘Blue Lights’ and ‘Teenage Fantasy’, demonstrating again her multifaceted artist persona and her ability to transcend styles. A flawless cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Lost’ reinvented to fit her calm and collected charm was met with proud silence, as she paid homage to one of the heroes of the genre.
Two collaborations were left to conclude the night’s fluid performance; ‘Let Me Down’ and ‘On My Mind’ were commanded by Jorja with such effortless power, only enhancing her independence as a creative artist. She didn’t say much, but when she did it was humble and slightly overwhelmed, and the coherence of masterful track after masterful track only left us wanting more of her dulcet tones.