There are many ways in which someone can find themselves lost in the world; misplaced within their surroundings, searching for a purpose, or even losing themselves completely within somebody else. Jorja Smith’s accomplished debut weaves tales of love, loss, self-doubt and discovery across an album of polished pop music, deeply rooted in Smith’s love of R&B, soul and hip hop.
After the slow-burning success of “Blue Lights” and a string of powerful follow-up singles, Smith’s popularity and artistry has gradually been gathering momentum over the past few years. After lending her talents to hip hop giants Drake and Kendrick Lamar, the doors to a whole new audience have been kicked down, shining the limelight directly into the eyes of the modest young woman from Walsall. Rather than this knocking her off-balance, Smith takes it all in her stride, using Lost & Found as her talisman. She 's leaving the features behind to focus on what is most important to her: showing the world what she is capable of.
Smith’s voice is a rare gift; powerful, seductive and enthralling. It’s not her voice alone that makes her exceptional though, it is Smith’s versatility that truly sets her apart. Lost & Found winds between styles and tempos, never stopping for breath. One moment you may be immersed in the loose trip-hop sound of “Teenage Fantasy”, the anthemic swirl of “The One” - then the lights slowly dim as Smith aims straight for your heart on “Goodbyes”.
Amy Winehouse has been a huge inspiration throughout Smith’s career - a fact that Smith herself would proudly admit – and it is almost impossible not to draw comparisons between the two as Lost & Found soaks its way into your psyche. If given the task to reproduce the confidence, style and originality of Smith’s debut, Winehouse is the only artist in recent years who would be able to even come close.
Her debut is skilfully arranged so that most music fans will be able to unearth some element that they can relate to. Smith’s debut may cast the net wide, but she is an artist with ambition, who doesn’t want to be limited to one specific market. A multifaceted performer, her music reflects her personality.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that Lost & Found is Smith’s first LP. The sureness and creativity that exudes from each and every song disguises what some would call a lack of experience. But isn’t this when artists are at their most exciting? Stepping out into the unknown, crafting a sound and energy that is sincerely theirs. As Smith says herself as the final notes of “February 3rd” dissipate, “I’ve been lost, I’ve been lost again, and I’ve been found / Then I found myself… but I’m constantly finding myself”