She’s Always on My Mind: Previewing Jorja Smith at Neumos

Author: Madeline Thomas

Cover Photo by Emma Pierce

It seems like everyone has a crush on Jorja Smith. Of course, the internet’s infatuation with the British singer is in good-taste. She shares skincare tips on Twitter and casts her friends in music videos. Most 20-year-olds are studying at university, saving up for their first car or independent apartment, maybe just learning how to do their taxes, or, like me, writing about other 20-year-olds, like Smith, who are living their best life and making millions doing it. A rising star under the FAMM label, Smith is releasing contemporary R&B hits with staggering listen counts. Her single “On My Mind” boasts over 26 million listens on Spotify, and the music video has almost 18 million views and counting.

I first encountered her smooth, sweet voice thanks to the YouTube logarithm, which recommended the “Where Did I Go?” video as an addition to my mid-adolescence crisis playlist. I was stunned. How could someone be so talented and also shockingly beautiful? 19 at the time, she filmed herself casually posing and singing like we’ve all probably done in front of the mirror or on PhotoBooth when our roommates aren’t home. Recorded out of boredom, Smith’s low-key production has 6.4 million views. In every aspect of her career, she has proved herself capable and independent- two traits essential to success in the music industry, as well as worthy of role-model appreciation.

Photo by Emma Pierce

If you’re not convinced, you haven’t listened to “Carry Me Home” off Project 11, an independently released EP. The vocals are warm, and full, yet somehow light as air; each note carries a twinge of hopeful sadness. A closer look at the young singer’s lyrics hint that she may be just like other teenage girls, just chasing her teenage fantasy. You’ve probably heard her feature, “I Am”, on the Black Panther soundtrack, singing alongside Sampha and Giggs on Drake ’s “More Life”, or her collaboration with grime artist Stormzy on “Let Me Down.” Fair warning – “Let Me Down” is the kind of track capable of turning a good mood into a melancholy period of reflection. The song is powerful to the point of evoking intense emotions out of listeners, myself included.

When she comes to Neumos on the 27th, I’m hoping to hear the aforementioned tracks in their purest form. I’m also crossing my fingers that the lighting crew brings out the spotlight for some of her softer, ballad style songs. Her heavy, soulful voice—a la Amy Winehouse—will be highlighted in the small venue, so it’s the perfect opportunity to bask in the warmth of all that is Jorja Smith, arguably an angel in human form. I am equally excited to see the set list as I am the outfit she’ll be wearing.

Tickets to the show are sold out, but you can try your luck on Facebook, or try to tag along with a friend. You won’t regret the effort.

MADELINE THOMAS| Leak the serotonin routine | KXSU Music Reporter

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