Gig Review by Zak Edwards with Photography by Bianca Barrett

Team Gig Junkies have been lucky enough to find themselves in delectable company of a certain Miss Jorja Smith twice this year. In the summer, on the day that a cartoon blimp depicting the American President was floating around London being roundly booed and jeered by 1000s of revellers like a modern day Court Jester, she was putting on a more classy showpiece at the wonderful surrounds of Somerset House. It was the perfect anecdote to all the political craziness.

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Saturday night at the Academy in Birmingham – whilst less regal in its surround, was no less atmospheric. A homecoming party if you will from the girl who hails from just down the road in Walsall.

Greeted to a high pitched chants of “Jorja Jorja” from the largely female crowd and a multitude of smart phones poised in the air, the cooler than cool songstress casually sauntered onto the stage and greeted the crowd with ‘Lost and Found’. The perfect opener.

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Effortlessly bounding into fans favourite – and seemingly a song lots of the audience can relate to – ‘Teenage Fantasy’ signalled the first of many singalongs of the evening, to the singer’s obvious delight.

Vocally talented – dancing from Amy Winehouse like soul, to Neneh Cherry type rap whilst demonstrating the vocal range of an opera singer; for one so young her talent his boundless. Testament to this is the collaborations she’s done with a number of high profile artists including Drake and Stormzy.

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“Hello Birmingham how you doing tonight? I’m really glad to be home” greeted the singer before launching into the next tune.

I, along with the everyone on attendance found it amazing how, at 21, someone so young has so much self belief, owning the stage with such a laissez faire attitude. It’s as if she is just bopping around the bedroom singing into a hairbrush – much to the delight of her passionate fanbase.

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Displaying tenderness on many levels she described how she “wrote this one for my friend” when performing ‘Goodbyes’ stopping half way through to organise a drink of water for a member of the crowd who was suffering with the heat, before going on to finish off the hauntingly beautiful stripped back tune. Lovely!

This was followed by the atmospheric ‘Let Me Down’ another beautiful song and had more than shades of Adele’s ‘Home Town Glory’. Decadent.

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Many artists, especially those who are still finding their way in this racket, play a handful of songs and then say their ‘Ta-Ras’. Not Miss Smith. She delivered a glorious 18 tunes including much of the playlist from her debut album ‘Lost & Found’.

The encore was a Brummie engulfed trilogy. Joined on stage by another up and coming local – Jaykae – he himself a favourite with the partizan crowd. Decked in his obligatory Stone Island cammo Jacket he joined Jorja for a rendition of ‘Blue Lights’ and then was afforded centre stage to treat the rapturous audience to his signature tune ‘Moscow’.

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Then that was that. With heart felt goodbyes from the songstress, the merry revellers went on their way with smiles aplenty. What a night – proof once more that Birmingham is very much playing top billing when it comes to the R&B scene.

Set List: Lost and Found / Teenage Fantasy / Something in the Way / Feb 3rd / The One / Goodbyes / Tomorrow / Wandering Romance / On Your Own / Lifeboats / Man Down / Where Did I Go? / I Am / Let Me Down / Don’t Watch Me Cry Encore: Blue Lights (+ Jaykae) / Moscow (Jaykae) / On My Mind

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