The engrossing power of the phenomenal artist, Hamzaa, was undoubtedly evident as her gorgeous and effortlessly versatile vocals provided an evening that fans felt privileged to have been serenaded through.
In what seems like a blink of an eye, contemporary R&B singer and songwriter, Hamzaa is establishing a reputation for herself, with sophisticated recordings that combine vulnerability and toughness with such finesse that you can see a future icon in the making. Wednesday night’s sold-out show at Omeara, was a testament to that, as the 20-year-old songstress delivered an outstanding performance which was reciprocated by the audience in adulation and devotion.
Tantalisingly, a day prior to the event Hamzaa gifted fans with ‘Breathing Pt. 2’ which featured Wretch 32 and Ghetts and amidst the build-up, there was clear buzz gradually filling the room. Although this was her second headliner, it felt like a special beginning. On a stage evocative of classical theatre, it made sense why the audience were left awestruck as her soul-rooted ballads and slow jams. Filled with yearning riffs and runs, her vocals made sure no one was adding videos to their story but immersing themselves in this singular spectacle.
From the onset, this mature artist’s pensive material was on showcase as all night she belted anthems of pride and self-empowerment with ‘Stranded Love’ being the song that was sang round the room creating an electric atmosphere. There was an intimate ambience that was concurrent during the night with ‘Nothing Can Be Done’ having spectators swaying side to side in a manner that was infectious but filled the room with glee.
Being able to have an audience in the palm of your hand is not something that can be taught, you either have it or you don’t. So when ‘Saving Grace’ was performed the captivation I witnessed is something you see from a distinguished vocalist. Due to Hamzaa’s immense talent when singing modern ballads or sweet and delicate melodies, her versatility is overlooked as the upbeat electronica-centred ‘Chance’ saw a guest appearance from Shakka and added a fun facet to the night.
Hamzaa says that she is “a Londoner who is no longer afraid to turn her truths into songs”. The fact that she is painfully honest and comfortable to share that with us, is how legendary artists begin to carve out a musical legacy for generations after to indulge in their catalogues. ‘Red’, the opening song of the ‘First Signs Of Me’ EP initially struck out to me for its deeply sensitive lyrics but seeing this live, personally, it showed the strength and character of Hamzaa as those past difficulties have gone on to shape her.
I guess an early comparison that has been made is to the personable Adele, not just for Hamzaa’s indisputable talent but for a confident and humorous demeanour which adds to her allurement. “I’m going to play the next one and I’m going to need you to sing along, can you do that?” Whilst also laughing the crowd shouted back “yes” not once, but twice as the strums of an acoustic guitar meant the warm soul-rooted ‘You’ was about to be performed.
A definitive artist’s status tends to be built upon an authenticity that sets you apart from you peers, and the wise storytelling ability of someone who has barely entered their twenties certainly seems like Hamzaa eventually will be propelled into that echelon. The gospel-like ‘Breathing’ that also saw Wretch grace the stage, touched every soul, as hands were held up in the air trying to embrace her angelic presence. From that performance you get the impression that this ascension hasn’t even really taken off yet, as what was an emotional but memorable night highlighted the startling potential she possess.