Rarely has a track created as widespread an industry frenzy than Jorja Smith’s debut single “Blue Lights”. The sublime ballad earned her a MOBO nomination, a top spot on The Guardian's Future 50, a slot on NAO’s tour, and accolades from every notable tastemaker. Yet with only "A Prince" and the aptly named "Where Did I Go?” to tide us over the ten months since, pressure has been mounting on the young singer’s next release.
But with “Something In The Way”, the first release from her debut EP Project 11, Smith proves that the hype surrounding her is justified, and then some.
It opens with a stunning unaccompanied choral episode that betrays her classical training, and forms a striking, eerie refrain throughout. Those parts aside, “Something In The Way” is remarkably understated; noodling guitars and lazy jazz riffs give Smith’s lower ranges a chance to shine, and her soulful tone calls to mind the early releases of Amy Winehouse - a long time hero of Smith’s.
With her grassroots fanbase and self-released hits, Smith is indicative of a new wave of talent proving they don’t need traditional industry-backed channels to break brilliant new music. Having now earned her pick of the labels, and with huge streaming and social media figures to boot, there’s no doubt that the young singer is destined for huge things next year. Even in the two days since its release “Something In The Way” is Annie Mac’s Hottest Record, and with a sold out London show on 7 December – Jorja Smith looks unstoppable. For once, believe the hype: this girl is about to blow up.