Jorja Smith @ MTelus

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If I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t very familiar with Jorja Smith’s music, but thankfully I am always ready to learn something new.

When I arrived Mtelus at 6:30, I overheard the ticket agent tell a very disappointed patron that the show was sold out. The venue was already packed and the show was only supposed to start at eight.

The floor was packed tightly in the overheated and overflowing club as DJ Donovan’s Sound Club spun steamy dancehall tracks. It was the first time that I had ever witnessed security guards handing out bottles of water to the young and overexcited fans that had been standing for hours to get a good spot. I’m not sure if there was a problem with the A/C, but I lost count of how many girls fainted and had to be carried outside.

Luckily, the air felt a little cooler as the lights dimmed, and Baby Rose began her set with the sweet and sultry “In Your Arms.” Her emotionally charged vocals had that unique quality that could simultaneously convey power and vulnerability. She was delightful and the entire audience felt her love and gave it right back.

Rose paused a few times between songs to address the crowd, overcome with emotion.
“This is my first time in Montreal, and you’re all so amazing, so it definitely won’t be my last.” Which caused everyone to cheer even more. Then confessed that; “One of the greatest feelings in the world is showing someone what they’re missing out on.” And then did a sassy performance of “Show You,” which got everyone riled up.

She left us with a sweet little taste of things to come, singing a new track that will be released in October (Fight Club). If you came to the show and had never heard of Baby Rose before… You definitely will not forget her.

In your Arms
All To Myself
Show You
Fight Club

Speaking of unforgettable, the way that Jorja Smith smoothly graced the stage was like a supernatural phenomenon. Exuding glamour, poise and sensuality in a white laced dress which accentuated her voluptuous curves (the custom dress was made out of 600 embroidered flying doves by Montreal designer 3.PARADIS) and long glossy braids hanging down her back was quite a vision. Then she flashed a captivating smile, opening with “Teenage Fantasy,” and turned the already sweltering Mtelus into an inferno.


As crazed fans kept calling out her name, Jorja basked in the adoration, responding with; “You guys have the best energy!”

At only 25, Jorja performed with the star quality of a veteran. Her vocals were impeccable, her band was tight and she really connected with the audience. Remaining humble and pure, she sang with her heart, which we all felt deeply.

In “The One,” her voice was raw and emotionally full of longing, reminding me of Rihanna. My favourite moment was when “Something in the Way” led into Amy Winehouse’s “Stronger Than Me.” It takes big balls to cover a song so distinct and Jorja delivered. (The funky bass line arrangement was exquisite)

Channelling all the best elements of some of my favourite artists, vocally and stylistically (Sade, Lauren Hill, Amy Winehouse) Jorja set fire to the Mtelus stage.

She ended her set with “On My Mind,” which the entire audience sang along to. There was no encore. There was no need. Jorja gave us everything she had. And we were thankful.

1. Teenage Fantasy
2. Be Honest
3. Addicted
4. Gone
5. Where Did I Go
6. Wandering Romance
7. The One
8. On Your Own
9. Something In The Way
10. Stronger Than Me
11. Goodbyes
12. February 3rd
13. Burn
14. Bussdown
15. Digging
16. Blue Lights
17. Come Over
18. On My Mind

Review and photos – Annette Aghazarian

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