On the 7th of February, my friend and I took the train to see Jorja Smith perform live for the very first time at The Leadmill in Sheffield. Earphones plugged in, volume on the highest it could be; I sat on the train and listened to her discography next to my friend who did the same, trying to prepare ourselves for the experience.
We arrived just in time for the opening act, Mahalia, as she started her set with No Pressure, one of her most popular songs. She then performed pieces from her older projects and took the crowd on her creative journey as she gave us a little insight into what inspires her songwriting before she performed each of her pieces.
Mahalia also performed her hit single Sober and she wowed us with an acoustic mash-up of Solange’s Cranes in the Sky and SZA’s The Weekend. Her act was the perfect opening for Jorja, as her soulful and engaging sound set an intimate vibe in the venue for the rest of the show.
After a short transitional pause, Jorja Smith graced the stage wearing a white tank
top with grey wide leg pants and white trainers. Despite her simple attire, it felt as if all the colour and brightness in the room had drastically dimmed because of her presence. When I broke my gaze for a second to look around me, I found comfort in seeing that everyone looked just as stunned as I was.
She opened her set with the hauntingly beautiful Something In The Way from her EP, Project 11. She then performed a number of new pieces in which her sound ranged from aching ballads that left the crowd near tears, to more upbeat but still soulful tunes that had us dancing along with her; confirming that we have all the more reason to look forward to her upcoming album that will be released later on in the year. Jorja performed her other well-known songs including Blue Lights, On My Mind, Teenage Fantasy and the recently released Let me Down, singing an extra verse where Stormzy’s would have been. She also blessed us with her heartfelt cover of Frank Ocean’s Lost and the crowd sang along in approval.
Seeing Jorja Smith perform was a life-changing experience. Her ability to comfortably belt out runs, her confidence on stage presented with utmost humility, her chill aesthetic all work to give her show an impressionable but timeless feel. Not to mention the members of her amazing band that all looked like they were having just as much fun as she was.
I’m now convinced that a Jorja Smith concert is an experience all music lovers needs
in their life, so please do yourself a favour and go see her live!