Jorja Smith

The desert air can present challenges for those not accustomed to it and at Coachella, where more than 100,000 people can attend on any given day, dust is just the start.

At Weekend One, Jorja Smith, the 20-year-old British singer who makes retro-inspired soul music, discovered her own set of #CoachellaProbs. Smith woke up on April 13 with vocal chord inflammation — perhaps due to the dusty conditions — just one day before her Coachella debut.

Though she had to remain relatively silent until her performance, she chatted with WWD via e-mail ahead of taking the stage. Below, she shares her festival preparations, fashion approach and what it was like working with Kendrick Lamar on the “Black Panther” soundtrack.

WWD: How do you like being in the desert?
Jorja Smith: It’s very different to my usual surrounding of the London pavement and rain. But I didn’t like the dust.

WWD: How have you been preparing for your set? Is desert air something you had to account for?
I’ve done my usual festival rehearsals with the band. The dust messed me up a bit as I now have a cough, but hopefully, I can get rid of it with magic potions.

WWD: What’s your strategy for navigating the festival?
J.S. My tour manager Simon.

WWD: Do you remember the first festival you ever went to?
My first festival was Wild Life, which was in an airport in Brighton.

WWD: What’s an album that made you fall in love with music?
J.S.: Amy Winehouse “Frank.”

WWD: What was it like working with Kendrick Lamar on the “Black Panther” album?
So amazing. He is just so great and we got on really well and just connected. Writing with him was a lot of fun.

WWD: What’s your fashion philosophy?
Wear what you feel comfortable in and what suits your mood.

WWD: What are you most comfortable in?
Tracksuits or bodycon dresses.

WWD: What do you like to wear when recording?
J.S.: Tracksuits.

WWD: Summer plans?
Take a holiday.

Jorja Smith

Jorja Smith  Katie Jones / WWD

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