Jorja Smith stopped by BBC Radio 1’s special edition of the BRITs Live Lounge on Feb. 15 and performed a sultry, soulful cover of “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake. Smith’s visit came just days ahead of the 2019 BRIT Awards with Mastercard live ceremony which is being held at The O2 arena in London, United Kingdom on Feb. 20.
“Cry Me a River” is one of Timberlake’s most-revered songs, as it hailed from his debut solo album Justified in 2002. Touted as an R & B single and a Timbaland collab, “Cry Me a River” features plenty of dance beats and Timberlake is seen showing off several of those moves in the music video, which is widely-believed to showcase a Britney Spears look-a-like, as the former *NSYNC member sings about a relationship gone bad.
In comparison, Jorja Smith version boasts a slower, sultry tempo. She sings a stripped-back version in the Live Lounge, with only an acoustic guitar player to accompany her. While Timberlake also has strong R & B leanings, the song sounds and feels different coming from a female singer. Smith adds vocal colors and layers to the classic track, that gives it added emotional depth.
Watch Jorja Smith’s “Cry Me a River” cover performance above.
Jorja Smith also performed her own song, “Don’t Watch Me Cry,” which is featured as track No. 12 on her 2018 debut studio album Lost & Found. The album peaked at No. 3 on the UK Albums chart and topped both the UK Independent Albums and UK R & B Albums charts.
Watch her “Don’t Watch Me Cry” BBC BRITs Live Lounge performance below.
Smith notably won the Critics Choice BRIT Award in 2018 and she’s up for two more BRIT Awards this year, earning British Breakthrough Act and British Female Solo Artist nominations. Smith is also slated to perform on the 2019 BRIT Awards stage, in a star-studded roster of performers which also includes Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, George Ezra, Sam Smith, Little Mix and more.
British comedian Jack Whitehall is returning to host the 2019 BRIT Awards ceremony and tickets to see the show live and in person at The O2 in London are available now at AXS.