In this wild west of a record industry, it makes perfect sense to be a hybrid. For an artist to have the ability to jump on a riddim and add their own flavour to the mix. No matter what genre the song falls under. One artist who is able to do just that is Nadia Rose.
You’ve most probably already heard an example of this during a Rimmel advert where Cara Delevingne is seen shaking her mascara to the sounds of the award winning ‘Sqwod’. A song where Nadia uses her unique style to promote female unity. Is it Grime? Maybe. Is it rap? Could be. But in reality, it doesn’t matter and that’s the point. Her music crosses genres and captures the support all of types of fans of music.
As I stood in the middle of a sold out Village Underground, I could see all types of people. From excited teenagers to adults that looked like their parents. The diversity of this crowd was surprisingly varied. As I made my way to the photo pit, I decided to stand in the crowd. I couldn’t be bothered to battle with 6 photographers & videographers. After finding my position in the middle of the crowd, I was surrounded by good energy. As DJ Semtex provided the sounds to warm up the crowd, everyone around me was in good spirits and dancing with friends.
After the supporting acts performed and I found myself standing around for what felt like forever, the lights dimmed as the band setup as a voicemail soundtrack playing through the speakers. The drums played and Nadia Rose walked out to a deafening applause, apologised for being late and then jumped straight into the Intro. This sounded great with a live band and suited the mood of the song. Her lyrics described dealing with a family loss whilst chasing her dreams. She had every ear in the house.
Everything is fine, i’m well and i’m breathing / I’ve just been busy and this is the reason / Grafting hard, I ain’t gettin’ no sleep in / My hair ain’t even done, shit I look like the Weeknd” – Intro
The crowd was lit by the large screen that provided a colourful background which was the cover of ‘Highly Flammable’. The EP was the first offering from the Croydon artist and resulted in her being awarded Best Video at the MOBO Awards for ‘Skwod’. All the people that bought the album made themselves known as they loudly chanted the choruses to ‘U Know Wha’t and ‘Tight Up’. What made the performance more engaging were the dancers filling the stage with kinetic energy and assisting Nadia to bring more life to the songs. This was also the case for ‘2H2H’, which was the tune I was drawn to the most off the EP. The choreography brought another level and it was great to see Nadia getting involved.
“They tried to put me down but Nadia Rose, yeah Nadia Rose” – Puddycat
Between songs, Nadia spoke to the crowd and often directly to some of her fans. This level of engagement worked in her favour when there were some technical difficulties. When she couldn’t fit the mic onto the mic stand, her comedic personality shined through as she played it off. She also had the crowd on her side even when songs played by accident. These mistakes didn’t have an effect on the show and that was down to Nadia’s honesty and ability to spin scenarios into something to laugh at.
During the show, there were a few surprise performances. Producer and artist Prynce Mini brought an island vibe, Young T & Bugsey performed their online hit and Izzie Gibbs sprayed a barrage of bars that happened to be one of Nadia’s favourite songs. “I was playing this song on my snapchat the other day. Now Izzie is here performing it live. That’s cute”. She was very clear with her appreciation, especially when Grime legends JME and Lethal Bizzle performed their smash hits. These additions kept the energy levels high and the crowd dancing. Nadia even went into a mini Grime set and dropped about 92 bars of rapid fire lyrics almost out of nowhere.
After performing her verse for Coco’s ‘Big & Serious’ and her latest single ‘Breathe Slow’ which features Jungle Pussy, the audience was treated to an announcement as Nadia explained that she has worked with South London’s 67 for a new track. A few seconds later, the rappers joined her on stage to perform the exclusive new upcoming single. Looking at Nadia, you can see her excitement. It was clearly evident that she was having the time of her life on stage. Considering this is her first headline show, which was sold out and also shared the stage with some of the best artists in the scene right now, one could only imagine how she was feeling. But, her bright smile gave us all an insight.
Bringing the vibe down to a calmer level with songs like ‘Poltergeist’ and ending the show with ‘Murder’, she showed the variety of music that exists on ‘Highly Flammable’. As the lights dimmed and the crowd continued to call out for an encore, Nadia jumped back with Sweetie Irie on stage to perform the festival favourite ‘Crank It’. This was just the song to continue the vibe well into the early hours of the morning.
Nadia Rose has being working her way through the music business with purpose. With hit singles alongside nationwide advertisements, big festival performances and winning a MOBO, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of her heat dying down. With a sold out headline show to add to her accomplishments, it’ll be interesting what spark she will bring to the music game this year.