She’s the recipient of the BRITs Choice Award 2018, a serious star on the ascendant, while he’s the crossover grime artist who’s made massive mainstream waves, elevating him to household name status. As Avril Lavigne once said – can I make it any more obvious? Jorja Smith and Stormzy are currently Britain’s hottest exports, each primed and ready for international success having earned huge critical acclaim at home.
Collaborating for the first time, Smith and Stormzy have pooled their talents for ‘Let Me Down’, a modern piano ballad that sees the two stars seamlessly blend their styles into a slow R&B style jam.
From the opening bars, you’d be forgiven for mistaking ‘Let Me Down’ for an Adele song, the piano chords reminiscent of her hit ‘Set Fire To The Rain’. But when Smith begins to sing, her voice is distinct, carrying all the confidence of the great ballad singers who have come before, but with a rich, dewy quality that is very much her own. Her vocals are arresting and emotive, towering over the rather pedestrian arrangement with gusto, imbuing the plodding rhythm with tangible feeling.
For his part, Stormzy gels effortlessly into the track, his downbeat verse complementing Smith’s soaring vocals, the tension between the two giving way to a perfect equilibrium. Refreshingly, ‘Let Me Down’ is one of increasingly few duets that sustains a real chemistry between both artists, Stormzy and Smith making for a convincing and well-matched duo.
Though Smith is by no means new to high-profile duets, having previously collaborated with Drake (who sees her as something of a protégé), a radio hit with the UK’s favourite grime star could be what finally launches her into the public consciousness. Smith has been the source of serious underground excitement for some time, but ‘Let Me Down’ could be the ticket that helps her cash in the hype for the tangible, real world success she deserves.