Her subject matter is diverse: UK police brutality in the prodigious hit “Blue Lights”; isolation in “So Lonely”; and bad relationships in “Something In The Way”. Each song glides through the factions of the political, the emotional and the personal, and it’s encouraging to see her inspiration as she scrolls through her recently played tracks on her phone. “Erykah Badu. Non stop Erykah Badu! She would be my dream collaboration,” she says. There’s also Childish Gambino, Diggs Duke, a lot of dancehall and a decade-long throwback to Rihanna’s first record Songs of the Sun.
However, the musician who resonated most with Jorja growing up was Amy Winehouse – another full-bodied, soulful voice to whom she is actually often compared. As one of her biggest fans, Jorja accepts the comparisons with a touch of reticence. “She is amazing, a goddess, and I do like being associated with her sound, but because I’m such a big fan, I don’t really like anybody being compared to her, even me!”
“My mum said I was always singing when I was younger, in the back of the car and stuff. I started writing when I was 11, they were just stories but nowadays they come out as songs, tunes, hums – anything!” In 2009, Jorja even started writing stories and songs inspired by the domestic abuse plot line in after-school TV drama Waterloo Road. Quizzed on her creative processes, she pauses for a moment. “My songwriting isn’t that formulaic. I think that’s where music loses its soul”. Her hands jump forward in an explosive gesture: “I just let it flow!”
Taken from Hunger issue 12, Stand For Something, available to buy here