Thursday 4th October saw Norwich welcome Jorja Smith for the first time at an almost completely sold out show at The LCR. Bringing with her, long-term friend, Mina Rose from East London who fired up the crowd with her debut EP, London Burning. Jorja’s performance in Norwich kickstarted her 10-date UK tour after dropping her debut album in June 2018. The English singer-songwriter has soared over the past 2 years with beign awarded the Critics’ Choice Award at the BRITs in 2018, making her one of the biggest names in British contemporary R&B to date.
The evening kicked off with a stellar performance from Mina Rose who brought electricity to a very warm, and crowded LCR. Debuting her singles, ‘Paradise’ and ‘Blind Man’s Dream’ which bought Soul City into everyone’s hearts. Mina’s energy escalated against her electronic-trap 808s which certainly got peoples feet moving and shuffling. It honestly makes all the difference to see an artist’s support act create the perfect atmosphere for what was yet to come.
Jorja took to the stage as the interlude to ‘Lost & Found’ played out across the room. She then enforced her presence with her impressive vocal runs that opened the track. The bands prowess was also stated from the off. With a brilliant display of pure musical talent across all of the players, the entire performance was made from the very start. Jorja went on to perform singles such as ‘Teenage Fantasy’ and ‘Blue Lights’ which gave the crowd exactly what they wanted and saw the chorus of ‘Teenage Fantasy’ sung straight back to Jorja. Splitting up the singer’s hits, she treated the audience to a performance of her Radio 1 Live Lounge cover of Rihanna’s ‘Man Down’. With over 2 million hits on YouTube for the Walsall-born singer, the dropping of this brought smiles and booty shakes to the entire audience. As Jorja left the stage pre-encore an eclectic little riff off between the bands two guitarists took hold. Collating together soul and jazz, pure vibes bounced off of what seemed like a 3-minute guitar masterclass before the crowd welcomed Jorja back to the stage.
To finish off her exceptional performance, Jorja stunned the crowd with heartfelt ballad ‘Don’t Watch Me Cry’ to start off the encore. After hearing Jorja perform this track for the first time on Jools Holland a year ago after her Critics Choice nomination, for me personally was extremely humbled to hear this performance in the flesh. The track exposes Jorja’s raw talent and her own emotion that is behind the lyrics and toyed together has created a single track that can be relatable to many. It is incredible to see an artist at such as young age convey the power of hidden emotions through one simple melody. After the tears were wiped from the eyes of many, Jorja sealed off the night with a performance of her track ‘Let Me Down’ replacing Stormzy’s verse with her own tale of events. Followed closely by a semi-acoustic version of fan-favourite, ‘On My Mind’ with a breakdown that escalated into the singer’s dance classic with Preditah. Being one of the singers first hits, it was safe to say she certainly kept the best til last. Every single pair of feet were in the air with every shape cut and sent into the atmosphere.
It’s safe to say that there’s a reason why Jorja’s album is one of the best-selling of the year so far. With collaborations with Preditah, Stormzy, Maverick Sabre already in the bag who knows what else is looming on the horizon. It’s been an incredible two years of hard work for Jorja, and this is just the beginning. If you haven’t managed to catch Jorja at any of her shows so far, make sure you get yourself a ticket to see her soon.