British R&B/soul singer Jorja Smith was welcomed back with open arms in Montreal only a few months after a sold-out show at the Corona Theatre back in May. The 21-year-old artist once again performed in a packed venue, so packed that I could only stand all the way to the top of the balcony, while still having people standing in front of me… I was not expecting such affluence to her show but should have anticipated it after seeing her Spotify 2018 Wrapped statistics: 316M streams, 24M fans, and over 17M hours of her music streamed by her fans (located in 65 different countries!). Not only that, but her debut album Lost & Found was chosen as one of Variety’s mid-year Best Albums of 2018, and the young artist also appeared on two tracks on Drake’s More Life album… So much going on over the last year for the young artist, and it’s well deserved!
Back to the show now! Smith was back to Montreal for another date of her ‘Lost & Found’ Tour, with Ravyn Lenae as the opening act. The 19-year-old R&B Chicago-based artist was a perfect match to open for Smith and delighted us with a dazzling performance. After making us promise to move our bodies, and to promise to keep our promise, she for sure kept her end of the promise and danced with us during the whole set. She heavily promoted her third EP titled Crush, released earlier this year and produced by Steve Lacy (The Internet, but also produced for Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Mac Miller among other artists). During her 45-min set, she performed “Closer (Ode 2 U)”, “Computer Luv”, “The Night Song”, “4 Leaf Clover”, but also OutKast’s “Prototype”, as well as “Sticky”. Ravyn’s voice was not only stunning but soulful and angelic. Even though R&B and soul aren’t my favourite music genre, this opening act left me stunned and craving for more, and I know that Jorja Smith would be more than happy to deliver.
Smith grabbed the crowd’s attention from the first song performed, the title track of her debut album “Lost & Found”, and never lost it throughout her set. The glow she emitted, along with her gracious dance moves held everyone captive throughout the night. Goosebumps could be felt when “Teenage Fantasy” started, and the packed crowd could be heard screaming and singing along for their very own teenage fantasy. Not only that, but everyone standing around me started to move their hips and lose themselves to the song: crazy the impact a simple song can have! Whether it is for “Something in The Way”, “February 3rd”, “Tomorrow”, and “Where Did I Go?”, Smith managed to hit every note with the utmost precision. It’s hard to believe that such a young artist (21-year-old need I remind you!) has so much talent, skills, but also self-assurance and stage presence. Smith ended the main part of her set with the popular “Blue Lights”, before delighting us with a wonderful Encore, with “Don’t Watch Me Cry”, “Let Me Down”, and last but not least, “On My Mind”. The crowd remained pretty quiet during these three last songs as if everyone was hypnotized by her voice and her silhouette. After tonight’s performance, I can say without a doubt that it’s not the last time you’ll hear from her.
Jorja Smith is here to stay.
Review – Maxime Le Huidoux
Photos – Steve Gerrard