Critic’s Choice winner Jorja Smith on her Diamond Dining performance and breaking into the BRITs

From her debut album to performing with Stormzy, BRITs darling Jorja Smith talks to Tempus about her phenomenal year to come

* Critic’s Choice winner Jorja Smith shot by Olivia Rose

When we talk about the rising stars of the British music scene, there is one name about to take 2018 for her own. Jorja Smith bagan 2017 releasing independent singles, moved on to collaborate with the likes of Drake, before catching the attention of the BRITs, who named her 2018's Critic's Choice Award recipient. It puts her in good company. Previous winners include Human singer Rag'n'Bone Man, Sam Smith, Jessie J and Adele, and the award is seen by industry experts as a sign of chart domination to come.

Speaking exclusively to Tempus, the 20-year-old British R&B talent admitted how overwhelming it was to be awarded the gong. "It's such an honour to recognised amongst so much emerging UK talent. I couldn’t actually believe it," she said.

For Smith, reaching the BRITs as an artist has always been a crucial career goal. "When Dizzee Rascal and Florence + the Machine performed You’ve Got the Love [in 2010], my eyes and ears were stuck to the TV screen," she said. "I really hoped to be able to be there one day. The BRITs is a huge celebration of British talent and to be involved is amazing."

Her new single Let Me Down, featuring grime and hip hop artist Stormzy, went down a storm at January's nomination show, The BRITs Are Coming. Stormzy, real name Michael Owuo Jr was a surprise guest on the night in order to lend his support to Smith. >>

Related: Everything you need to know about 2018's BRIT Awards host Jack Whitehall

* Jorja Smith performs with grime sensation Stormzy at The Brits Are Coming

"We wrote the song in 2016. Stormzy hit me up not long after I'd released Blue Lights and wanted to work together," she recalled. "My Let Me Down co-writer Ed Thomas and I had already recorded a verse and chorus and then Stormzy kind of floated into the room and onto the mic. He's such a nice guy, full of good energy and positivity."

Smith's work with the BRITs is not yet done – she will next be found headlining the pre-BRITs VIP Diamond Dining experience at the InterContinental Hotel – London O2 on the 21 February. "I feel more excitement than nerves. Just think of how much fun I’ll have performing my songs."

If we're lucky, these might even include a few tracks from her upcoming debut album. Telling Tempus what we can expect, Smith said: "Just lots more good music. I think people will be able to get to know me a little better."

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* Critic’s Choice winner Jorja Smith shot by Olivia Rose
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