Blending classical vocal artistry with beats inspired by modern R&B, reggae, and hip-hop, Jorja Smith has risen to become one of Britain’s most exciting soul singers since her debut single, “Blue Lights,” came out in 2016.
Produced by duo Dame Dame, comes Smith’s intrepid and bold new single, “Try Me,” Marking the singer-songwriter’s long-awaited return is a catchy, drum-heavy sound, the inspiration of which stemming from “putting yourself out there, in front of a world that has many opinions,” explains Jorja.
It’s as urgent as it is compelling, complete with a stunning video directed by Amber Grace Johnson, which is, in turn, both majestic and captivating, with a chopped-up, collaged structure, perfectly mirroring the landscape it maps; a place of beauty and danger, of frustration and dogged resistance.
Shot around the suburbs of Marseille, France – the visual opens with Jorja lying and crawling softly in the moonlight preparing for battle. With the lyrics as our guide, this video is a metaphor through interpretative dance – a ritualistic game between Jorja and the world, and a precursor for what’s to come in this new era. “The dancer, Andrea Bou Othmane, embodies a bull which represents the world and its opinions out of my control,” explains Jorja. Soon after, set in the Amphitheatre in Arles, a theatrical La Horde-inspired routine embarks; a scene which oscillates between power and vulnerability, showcasing a symbolic portrayal of the song.
To conclude, the viewer is transported to a shift in tone. A new scene arrives, something tender and unexpected. Inspired by musician Charlotte Moorman’s 1965 human cello; the come down after the fight, disarmed and gentle – showcasing a victorious defeat.
Entering a chapter of her return to music that’s certain to draw in and intoxicate Jorja’s fans and new listeners alike, the question arises: What has changed for her, in the five years since Lost & Found dominated the charts and the soundscape? “I like this world that I’ve just come into. And I’m still figuring things out. Always figuring things out.” Jorja says.“This is the first time I’m putting stuff out there that I can connect with right now.” Over the last few years, it’s been a reflective and transformative step into her mid-twenties; she’s been able to step into herself and evolve as a songwriter and a woman despite an ever-changing musical landscape.
While she recognizes that the global pandemic has been completely devastating, she acknowledges that it allowed her to stay still, to come more into herself, and to be more in control of the person she is, and of her musical output. Like some of the legendary musicians that came before her, Jorja is looking at the chaos and disorder in the world right now with resourceful, refined eyes, and she sees the glorious opportunity and enormous responsibility that affords. Listen on to “Try Me” in wonder.
Connect with Jorja: