Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the Wiltern hosted the first of two sold-out evenings with the 21-year-old rising R&B talent, Jorja Smith. The beautiful songwriter has earned loads of brilliant acclaim since her debut album Lost & Found released back in June. With a packed theatre, Smith completely spellbound the audience for a little over an hour. The singer’s talented band first took the stage and began playing the opening track off the record, appropriately titled “Lost & Found”. Once the introduction was set, fans held their recording-ready phones up high as Smith took the stage. In her classy heals, complete in sequins-covered dress, Smith couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she got a roaring applause. Truly starting the song off with the opening lyrics she took hold of her voice and addressed the audience.
“Why do we all fall down with innocence, still on the ground? Why do we all fall down with it, on the lost and found?”
To listeners new or established, it went without question that Jorja Smith holds one of the most unique vocal stylings in music today. Despite the obvious musical comparisons to Lauryn Hill or the late Amy Winehouse, Smith remarkably holds her own. With vocal spots along the current circuit with names like Kendrick Lamar and Drake, Jorja’s name became attached to her smoky vocals.
The stage was set with elegantly draped curtains in the back and single bulb lights scattered along the scene. With the tight-sounding band backing her up, Smith stood in charge and demanded attention with her lyrics reflecting on the broad themes of human experience. Her music has the timeless feel to it. The anticipation to each song felt stronger than the last too.
Fans stood in awe when Smith performed the delicately haunting song, “Goodbyes” and danced along when she performed the upbeat track “Blue Lights”. Her powerful vocal tone sounded exquisite filling the walls of the Wiltern.
It was a night filled with heavy emotions and an overall pure joy to have the pleasure of witnessing the rising British star. It’s exciting to think of all she has in store for her career when she’s only just getting started with such force. Oh- and apparently she was suffering from tonsillitis during the performance! I’m pretty sure she had the crowd more than impressed with her voice not seeming affected.
Words & Photography: Danielle Gornbein