'It went against the grain': Maverick Sabre on Jorja Smith's BRITs-nominated debut

'It went against the grain': Maverick Sabre on Jorja Smith's BRITs-nominated debut

Maverick Sabre has told Music Week that he knew Jorja Smith “was going to the stars” from the moment they met.

Sabre, real name Michael Stafford, is one of Smith’s closest collaborators. They were introduced by a mutual friend before Smith’s debut, Blue Lights, was first released, and have been writing songs together ever since.

Sabre co-wrote four tracks on Smith’s BRIT-nominated debut album, Lost & Found, and was speaking to Music Week about its creation for our BRITs special issue, out now.

Smith will perform at the show and is also shortlisted for Best British Breakthrough. She won the Critics’ Choice Award last year.

“We met when Jorja was 16,” Sabre said. “I believed in her and I still do, with the exact same passion in the exact same way. Sometimes, it’s easy to say you knew from the minute you heard the music what an artist will grow into, but it’s true, I’m not lying.

“I’m excited when she gets nominated for awards, when Snoop Dogg posts her songs or whatever it may be, but it doesn’t surprise me. Nothing surprises me, I could always see her going to the stars.”

Sabre said he has “always commended Jorja’s drive,” adding, “She was really on the ball, she just wanted to make great music. She had that graft and vision.”

Jorja didn't feel the pressure of a debut album

Maverick Sabre

Lost & Found was released via FAMM, it peaked at No.3 and has sold 69,681 copies to date, according to the Official Charts Company.

“The album shows a hell of a lot of maturity,” said Sabre. “A debut album is very important, your whole life builds up to that first statement, a big stamp of who an artist is at the time. Jorja really got that across, at a time where soul and R&B maybe wasn’t being done, sometimes overshadowed by heavier music or because things have to sound a certain way for radio.”

Sabre said that Lost & Found proves that Smith “went against the grain”.

“Doing that was the stamp of her vision. She didn’t feel the pressure,” he said. “Jorja is pretty straightforward, she knew what she wanted and her head was screwed on, we were just there to support her.”

Subscribers can read the full interview online here, or in the new edition of Music Week.

Read our interview with Smith here.

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Stay tuned to musicweek.com for all the latest from the BRIT Awards 2019.

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