From Starbuck’s barista to new-age Amy Winehouse

Anna Goetz -Staff Writer

Meet Jorja Smith, a 19-year-old musician from the U.K. with a unique voice that’s sweet as honey, but as captivating as a Jimi Hendrix guitar trill. Performing since the age of 8 and writing since the age of 11, part of her musical influence is derived from her parents. With her mother being from London and her father Jamaican, she was raised on a fusion of reggae, rock and roll and soul. Blending it with her now love for dubstep and funk house, Smith has a unique sound, organically derived from her surroundings and an even more unique voice to pair it. After hearing her sing “Silent Night” in church, her father pushed her to learn the piano, and Smith won a musical scholarship for a prestigious local school. Picking up more voice lessons and learning to master the oboe, it was not long after that she received her big break. After her friend filmed her singing one of U.K.’s pop hits in 2011 and uploading it to the internet, Smith was contacted by her current managers. After she graduated, she immediately moved to London, picking up shifts as a Starbuck’s barista, and writing her songs at night. Debuting her single release in January of 2016, she did not have to keep up this routine for long. The single, “Blue Lights” was inspired by Form 696, a mandatory licensing document that required event promoters to notify police of their expected ethnic makeup of crowds, which often led to police shutting down events solely because of a largely black crowd.

Releasing more singles after “Blue Lights” it is apparent what Smith’s focus has become. Her latest single “Beautiful Little Souls,” released on March 8, 2017, highlights aspects of feminism in today’s society. “Beautiful little fools, that’s what us girls are destined for.” Interviewing with the “Fader” magazine, Smith said, “I don’t like to write about myself. I like listening to people.” Smith takes her perception of the world around her, other’s stories, fantasies and problems, and creates them into art. Much more is expected from Smith, and a possible debut album in the works. She can be found on Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud and iHeartRadio.

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