It’s all about the London R&B scene right now with Jorja Smith’s ‘Project 11’ & Ella Mai’s ‘Change’
In January 2016, Jorja Smith, a singer little known before, released her debut single, Blue Lights, to a storm of lauding reception. With over 100k plays within a week of Blue Lights’ release on Soundcloud and endorsements from the likes of Stormzy and Skrillex, Smith was immediately set apart as one of 2016’s standout newcomers. She’s been marked as one to watch by NME, Complex, The Fader and more.
So what’s all the uproar about? Blue Lights and subsequent singles from Jorja Smith have revealed a wonderfully reflective story-telling crooner. Smith is able to convey wisdom and introspections on life in a words and with a voice far beyond her years. The 19 year old sings with a gentle huskiness and soulful croon tinged with the disillusion of painful experiences that immediately speaks to listeners, in a way not dissimilar to one of her idols, Amy Winehouse. She channels her observations growing up in the somewhat desolate industrial town of Walsall into music that is part social commentary, part ‘Soul pop’. Basically, the kid is awesome.
On quite a different vibe of the R&B / Soul music train is Ella Mai, a London-bred singer-songwriter, now signed to DJ Mustard’s 10 Summers label imprint. Ella makes deliciously forthright songs about love, relationships and break-ups, fuelled by the production powerhouse that is DJ Mustard. Her music has that breezy, bouncing contemporary, distinctly Cali sound Mustard is known for. Ella mixes it up with interludes featuring her South London accent, representing for where she’s from. Check her latest EP, Change below, including her buzzing single, 10,000 hours (on the effort it takes to make love work).
Get to know Ella Mai with this interview via The Fader.