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Enigmatic Walsall diva finds something she never lost

The debut album by Walsall r 'n 'b sensation Jorja Smith, 'Lost and Found', is out now on Famm Limited records. Photo supplied by Pomona UK.
The debut album by Walsall r 'n 'b sensation Jorja Smith, 'Lost and Found', is out now on Famm Limited records. Photo supplied by Pomona UK.

Nearly 110 miles away from Spalding, new British rhythm 'n' blues ( R 'n' B) sensation Jorja Smith may well be concocting an album at her parent's home that is even more groundbreaking than "Lost and Found".

Unapologetically independent, Walsall-born Jorga has already won a legion of admirers from the world of grime, garage, jungle and hip hop, including Dizzee Rascal (Bonkers), Stormzy (Blinded By Your Grace) and Drake (What's My Name?).

Jorga's eye-opening debut album is the reason, starting with what appear to be strong, but safe, R 'n' B songs "Lost and Found, Teenage Fantasy, Where Did I Go? and February 3rd".

But then the sound ascends to a whole new maturity with "On Your Own" and, in particular, the anthemic "The One" which catapults Jorga into epic Adele, Amy Winehouse and Rihanna status.

The socially-conscious "Blue Lights", detailing tensions between the police and young black men, first brought Jorga to the attention of the music world in 2016.

Two years later, the BRITS' Critics' Choice award followed, giving Jorga the freedom to finish off her debut album with the musical rap, or "freestyle" song, Lifeboats, and the ballads "Goodbyes, Tomorrow and Don't Watch Me Cry".

Put Rihanna, Beyonce, Lauryn Hill (The Fugees), Adele and even a dose of Lily Allen into a singer's cocktail, out comes Jorja Smith.

Before now, the Walsall music scene belonged to two people, Slade's Noddy Holder and rapper turned actor turned composer Goldie.

But Jorja Smith has overthrown them both with a combination of, according to BBC music journalist Ian Youngs, "Corinne Bailey Rae's wounded soul, Amy Winehouse's quivering, conversational jazz and Rihanna's sultry siren".

Except that there is an even better way of summing up "Lost and Found", provided by Jorja herself.

At the end of February 3rd, Jorja sighs: "Sometimes you can be lost and you can be found.

"I've been lost, I've been lost again and I've been found.

"Then I find myself, but I'm constantly finding myself."

Jorja Smith is a music "diva" with a social conscience.

Review by Winston Brown


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