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‘I don’t even know how to be me quite yet’: Jorja Smith on self-doubt, body positivity and her stunning second album

Living in her childhood town, the two-time Brit award winner is finally content. But, she says, insecurity still creeps in – especially after ferocious scrutiny of her appearance

Jorja Smith was done with London. It was early 2021, about five years since the singer had left her home in Walsall at 18 to try to make it big in music. She hadn’t done badly: two Brit awards and Mercury prize and Grammy nominations followed her atmospheric 2018 debut album Lost & Found. But she was not all that happy. “I got really overwhelmed in London,” she says. “I realised it was the smallest thing: not being able to see the sky. Back home, bro, there’s trees everywhere, whereas here I felt trapped.”

She moved back to Walsall, where she is renting a cottage while waiting for builders to finish doing up a 400-year-old farmhouse she bought in 2019. With all due respect to the West Midlands market town, it is not where you tend to find young pop-R&B stars, let alone one with 3.7 million Instagram followers who has worked with Drake, Stormzy, FKA twigs, Burna Boy and Kendrick Lamar and walked in more than one fashion show. She now tends to split herself in two: there is Jorja, the performer (she uses air quotes the first time she speaks about herself like this, pastel talons swooping), and Jorja, the girl born down a quiet road of red-brick terraced houses.

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