It was another sun-drenched day in Montreux on Monday, as festival goers prepared for another day of music at the Montreux Jazz Festival. As the sun slowly dipped behind the mountains on the Lake Geneva shoreline, the festival suddenly took on an air of anticipation ahead of the night’s big performance from UK rap legend Stormzy. Tonight, the “Heavy Is the Head” superstar headlined the festival’s Montreux Jazz Lab.
Stormzy’s performance marks the rapper's first time playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival. He joins a list of legendary artists to perform on the Montreux stage such as David Bowie, Prince, James Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang Clan, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin. Stormzy opened the show with the smash hit “Crown”, the second single from his 2019 album ‘Heavy Is the Head”.
Since his debut, the British rapper has become one of the most formidable figures in hip-hop and has continued to transcend musical boundaries. The seven time BRIT Award winner is currently on tour, bringing music from his debut album “Gangs Signs & Prayers” and the 2019 album “Heavy Is the Head”, to fans across the world.
Songs such as “Superheros”, “Cigarettes & Crush” & “Do Better” had the crowds going wild as the Croydon rapper continued his roof-raising set.
Continuing tonight’s performance, the British rapper surprised fans with songs he hasn’t performed in years including “Blinded By Your Grace Pt 1 & 2”, “21 Gun Salute”, “Don’t Cry For Me” and “Velvet”.
“I’ve done some festival runs but this is a very specific show that we have tailored this for you guys. We’ve been really excited for this show from the beginning of the year, every time I’ve been asked what show I’ve been excited for it’s been the Montreux Jazz Festival” Stormzy said as he took a moment between songs to talk to the crowd.
On stage the rapper described his fashion choices for the set stating, “Cause this is a jazz festival I’ve worn jeans; this is the first time I’ve worn jeans on stage before. I thought I’d dress up”.
As his debut at the world famous festival, Stormzy took a moment to reflect on the monumental occasion by saying, “I know everyone in this room is music lovers, this is what this festival is about. Everyone here appreciates art, appreciates music. We’ve tailor made this set and there are songs I’ve never had the pleasure of performing but I said this is the Montreux Jazz Festival”.
Performing in front of a live band and choir, Stormzy had the room in awe as he performed for the very first time a cover version of Ryan Ofei’s “Jehova”.
Stormzy follows in the footsteps of Bjork, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Paolo Nutini, Laylow, Diana Ross and John Legend, who have already graced the Montreux stage. With the festival officially in full swing, music fans have much more to look forward to with Maneskin, The Smile, Robert Plant, Van Morrison, Jeff Beck, Jamie Cullum and Phoebe Bridgers next up to play the world famous festival.