Jorja Smith is an English performer known mainly for her vocals and song writing abilities. Born and raised in Walsall, West Midlands, she was first writing songs when she was young. “Daddy Don’t Live In New York”, a track from her self-titled album, was the first song that she accepted a demo, with the company reps mistakenly believing it was aimed at teenage girls. In the same vein, her friend uploaded a cover to YouTube, leading to her sudden fame to such a degree that she was invited to perform at the Brits’ nationwide Big Child concert in London, a tribute to the late Princess Diana.
After performing at the Brits, Jorja Smith returned to her native Walsall to continue on with her musical career. She made a name for herself playing in a number of smaller English pubs before making her mark with London’s famous DIY barista cafe. This led her to a recording contract with legendary DJ Paul Young, with whom she performed “Higgs Boswell II” (which featured Smith’s then-debuting bandcamp song “Higgs Boswell Loves You”), and “Bodily Strings”, as well as collaborating with artistically inclined artist Peter Price and his band, The Futureheads. Jorja Smith then moved back to Walsall to continue working with Young, who would often send her to the loft studio to record her vocals and guitar work.
Jorja Smith broke into the music industry through the backing of British singer-songwriter Kasabian. He saw the potential of Jorja Smith as an artist and gave her the chance to pursue her musical interests. Kasabian then signed Jorja Smith to his popular Independent Ambassadors label, and the two began a successful career that would see Jorja Smith sign to Island and K Records, as well as being featured on Kasabian’s hit “Your Pretty Face”. While this was going well, however, it was not long before the independent artist was sidelined by the major label she had once supported. Things did not get better as she was diagnosed with cancer, forcing her to give up her music career, and her personal life, to focus on her recovery.
A year later, Jorja Smith was back on the indie scene, this time with the release of her song “Your Pretty Face” with her former band-mate Kasabian. After the band parted ways, Jorja went on to score a number of chart-topping hits, including the chart-topping single “Wasted” with Kasabian, and “Love is in the air” withmate-singer-singer-actor Goldie Hawn. The next several years would feature Jorja Smith performing with several popular artists, including Kasabian, Tyga, Sky and Disclosure. It was also during this time that she began working with West Midlands native Walsall.
In 2021, Walsall released his debut album entitled “Neo-Soul” under the name Jorja Smith. This album was produced by British DJ crew The Specials along with Walsall himself. As West Midlands native Walsall has previously stated, Jorja Smith was the main inspiration for him to create such a unique sound, due to her funky, hip-hop/hip-hop vocals. Walsall has mentioned that Jorja Smith “reinvented the whole game”, which was something he was already doing prior to collaborating with Jorja Smith.
“Neo-Soul” was a massive hit for West Midlands based band The Specials, who went on to sell-out arenas around the UK and Europe. With the success of “Neo-Soul” and their subsequent albums “Echoes” and “A Little Bit of Everything” the band went from strength to strength, eventually going straight into the peak chart positions in the UK and Europe. “A Little Bit of Everything” peaked at number two in the UK and “Echoes” debuted at number three. Not bad for a relatively unknown band who only had one album to their name prior to this phenomenon. Since then The Specials have had an immense amount of success, including going from strength to strength, including a lengthy spell in the majors, before going back to the studio with “Reinventing Yourself” and “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”.