SZA Shows London What She’s Made Of At BST Hyde Park 2024

Rockshot Magazine went along to BST Hyde Park 2024 for the SZA headlining day and were welcomed with impressive infrastructure, including numerous food court options and entertainment areas spread throughout the park. On one of London’s rare sunny days so far this summer, the crowd was slowly gathering, bringing a mix of young SZA fans wearing her baseball jerseys, to families and older attendees, reflecting the event’s wide appeal. The main attraction was SZA, supported by a brilliant lineup including Elmiene, Sekou, Fabiana Palladino, Hope Tala, Nia Smith, No Guidnce, Jessy Blakemore, Sampha, and Snoh Aalegra.

BST Hyde Park 2024

BST Hyde Park 2024 (Daniel Caceiro)
BST Hyde Park 2024 (Daniel Caceiro)

Elmiene opened the festival’s main Great Oak Stage with a perfect blend of emotional songs and light-hearted banter, welcoming the increasing number of festival-goers. His neo-soul sound, merging 1990s influences with raw, heartfelt lyrics, started catching the audience’s attention, creating a unique and memorable performance combined with the visuals of the stage that blended naturally with the huge tree on its left side.

Later came Sekou, a promising 19-year-old from Leicester, who played at The Rainbow Stage. Showing why he’s such an upcoming artist with his excitement and great voice (and dance moves), Sekou got some members of the crowd incredibly excited, highlighted by his hit single Better Man.

Fabiana Palladino performed at The Birdcage Stage bringing an emotional and soulful storytelling to the audience, adding a fresh and different set of emotions to the event, combined with the cozy and fresh stage under some trees in a calm area of the festival. Palladino was a standout artist, bringing a wide range of audience members to emotional reactions and her tunes are still in my head after that, deserving a much bigger stage.

London-hailing Sampha changed the vibe of the Great Oak Stage, bringing his unique sound and energy. His stage setup, featuring an all-white LED backdrop and matching outfit, created an incredibly compelling visual experience, making it pleasant to see and listen. He performed tracks from his acclaimed albums Process and Lahai and his mix of R&B, soul, and electronic music, combined with his distinctive voice was in perfect balance.

Snoh Aalegra added her signature R&B style to the festival. The Swedish/Iranian GRAMMY®-nominated singer played a wide range of songs exploring different stages of relationships. From early hits like Nothing Burns Like The Cold to the emotional Nothing To Me, Aalegra’s clear vocals and deep emotion made her performance one of the best in the evening, and a great preparation for SZA.

Snoha Aalegra

Snoha Aalegra (Sharon Lopez)
Snoha Aalegra (Sharon Lopez)

Solána Imani Rowe – AKA SZA – delivered an unforgettable show. She started her set with a dramatic entrance on a high platform. Her performance was a visual and auditory spectacle, featuring hits from Ctrl and SOS, and giving a glimpse of her upcoming nature-themed album. The stage design, complete with giant insects, trees, and a cave environment, perfectly complemented her choreography and vocals. A standout moment was her performance of Kill Bill, where she wielded katana swords. SZA’s setlist included fan favourites such as All The Stars, Kiss Me More and Good Days, seamlessly transitioning between emotional ballads and energetic tracks. The climax of her show had SZA singing atop a giant beetle and tree trunk, impressing everyone with her talent combined with the visuals. Despite a 15-minute delay, her stage presence and interaction with the crowd made it more than worth the waiting. SZA’s performance at BST Hyde Park not only solidified her status as a leading R&B artist but also hinted at her future projects.

Live review & photography of BST Hyde Park 2024 featuring SZA at Hyde Park, London on 29th June 2024 by Daniel Caceiro. Photography of SZA by Mr Not Blue & Cassidy Meyers. Photography of Snoha Aalegra by Sharon Lopez.

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