November 20th, 2018- You may know of Jorja Smith through the song she did with Drake’s “Get it Together”, her performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series or from “I am” off the Black Panther Soundtrack with Kendrick Lamar. She has also worked with fellow artists Kali Uchis, Khalid, and Stormzy to name a few, all while remaining independent.
Last Tuesday, the Walsall, England native enraptured the hearts and souls of the audience at the Orpheum. A historical landmark in Vancouver, the theatre is designed for acoustic music performances that envelope the audiences’ auditory senses. Jorja’s golden voice cascaded through the theatre and rippled off the golden walls, ornate art, murals and high ceilings. She complimented the theatre’s colour scheme with gold and lace, in just the right place, silk chemise with matching accessories. This is a young woman who has owned what she has been blessed with, and lets the world know how comfortable and confident she is in her own skin. She took a moment within her performance to acknowledge the beauty and intricacies of the theater. This brought a sense of awe, to not only the space but her ability to hold her own in such a venue.
The show started with the 1st song, album title, and the tour’s aptly named, “Lost & Found”. Jorja performed the album in order from start to finish. At moments, it felt like you were in a jazz club. The lingering smoke, soft dim lighting and her arching soothing voice, slipped you in and out of reality. As she sang, you were taken on the emotional journey of the difficulties of relationships, young love, social issues and loss. Seeing her perform live, brought her music to life, as she breathed almost carelessly and eased into the next registers range in “February 3rd”. You were caught up in the music as Jorja crooned to the audience, “Why don’t you lose yourself for me?” Don’t mind if we do, we’re lost in you.
The production of the performance was on point with the lighting designs, fades, and colour schemes changing to reflect the tone of each song. Sultry reds and roving spotlights shone down as she salsa danced across the stage to “The One” while flashing blues and reds captured the experience of cop cars on “Blue Lights”. The stage show was visually complementary and appealing without being over the top.
Once the set ended the crowd howled, cheered and cried out for more. Jorja accompanied only by her keyboard player, started her encore of “Don’t Watch Me Cry”, a song she wrote at age 18 about a guy that told her not to wait for him. Her mesmerizing voice was hypnotic, ensnaring the audience leaving them chilled by her raw and pure talent. Once again joined by her band, the show ended with the ballad “Let Me Down”. With beauty and prowess, she humbly thanked the audience with a soft smile and made her way off stage.
Words By: Chelsey Vriezen
Photos By: David Dalley