Considering Jorja Smith is fresh off stage, the 21-year-old is remarkably calm. For those that have fastidiously observed her stratospheric ascent in the last 12 months this will be of no surprise. Even through the manic tour schedules, the countless costume changes and airplanes she’s had to catch, a calmness has stuck with her.
Meeting backstage in London after a performance to celebrate her recent collaboration with Nike under their female-led campaign, #theforceisfemale, Miss Vogue popped backstage amongst the friends, management, family and PRS to sit down with the musician. Yet another moment of success in Jorja’s career reaffirming that, along with her unquestionable talent and buttery smooth vocals, she is a young woman with a clear set of goals.
Keen to hear the latest on her collaboration and her experiences from her recent solo tour, we dive straight into all-important questions on life lessons, mentors and more:
How important is it that you work with brands like Nike that make it their mission to empower women?
Very. I’ve worn Nike since I was little. It’s very important being able to work with people like me, who want to help people like me. I used to talk to my manager and say “I want to work with Nike. Hopefully it will happen.” It’s a crazy dream. I didn’t think it would happen, but it has!
How does sport impact your life?
It gives me some kind of routine. Now that I’m touring so much and I’m really busy, I don’t have a routine as some of my call times are 7, 10, 12 – and then I’m doing five things in the day. With sport, especially on tour, it means I can wake up, make sure I work out, then I’ll do my sound check, perform, and do it the next day. It helps me have a routine, but it also helps me to just feel good. It keeps me fit, strong and healthy and just makes me focus on something. If I’m punching during boxing, I don’t have to think about problems and stress about stuff. It’s good for everything and just to feel balanced and grounded.
How important are the women around you, especially when you’re on tour like you have been the past few months?
It’s good having my makeup artist and stylist with me on tour. I always talk with them about anything that’s wrong. It’s nice having older women just to chat to and to give me a bit of advice sometimes. It’s just nice having women around – I like guys – I get on with everybody, but it is different.
Who are the women that inspire you?
My mum. She inspires me. She makes jewellery and always has done since I was little. She has always done whatever she wants basically! And hasn’t stopped. My friends inspire me creatively. I have a lot of friends who have a “do it” energy.
You’ve had the most amazing 2018 so far – can you pick a highlight?
Everything. Whenever anyone asks that I say the whole year. I can’t really pinpoint anything, and I forget what’s happened this year and confuse it with last year. The biggest lesson I’ve learned though is: don’t rush, slow down.
What do you hope for the next generation?
That there’s more of us doing what we want, and not being told no, and just running shit.
What does the force is female mean to you?
The Force is Female to me is just using your power – not just as a woman but as a human being to help others, elevate yourself, work harder – just doing as much as you can as a person to achieve what you want. It doesn’t have to be female, but I think we can see things differently. But the Force is Female, I believe, is coming together as one, going forward, and doing what we want.
Do you have a mentor or someone you go to for advice the most?
Probably Carol my makeup artist. She’s like my big sister because I can always talk to her. She’s not even biased either, even though she loves me she’s just real.