The first time I met Jorja Smith, she was visibly agitated.

Shortly after being introduced to the UK singer at the Made In America Festival in Philly last September, I was offered the opportunity to shoot her in the artist area and I eagerly accepted.

My first impression upon meeting the then-20-year-old, was that she was cool and friendly but visibly peeved, revealing that she was frustrated with her set earlier that day. As we strolled across what was left of the mutilated muddy lawn—a victim to foot traffic and the rain that seems to haunt every music festival—the perfectionist opened up about the moments from her performance that she found unsatisfactory, visibly cringing at the mere mention of each uncomfortable memory.

I reassured her that her set sounded good from the photo pit where I was perched and that the crowd was into it. Unconvinced, she sucked her teeth before thanking me and prepared herself to pose for the photos.

As my shutter snapped, she asked me questions about myself, my cameras, and the festival. But during the discussion, she seemed to be lost in thought, privately recounting the details of the performance in her head. This snapshot of vulnerability meets accessibility, paired with her genuine curiosity about others, is exactly what makes Smith one of the most intriguing artists out right now. But in that moment, she was just like any young woman—trying to figure out how to move past the things she can’t control and tweak the things she can.

Also Watch