R&B music is alive and well and nowhere was that more apparent than at Sol Blume, recently held in beautiful Discovery Park in Sacramento, CA. For Sol Blume 2022 – the music festival’s third edition after being previously held in 2018 and 2019 but canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic – concert-goers were not only blessed with perfect weather but a weekend filled with outstanding performances by many of contemporary R&B, hip-hop and soul music’s current and future stars.
On Day 1 of Sol Blume 2022, Bounce-Worthy singer-songwriter KIRBY did not come to play but to slay the day dressed like a soul superhero in a long, flowing copper cape and provocative outfit for her first-ever performance at a music festival. She had limited time but maximized it with an impactful, high-energy performance. The Mississippi native wowed the crowd with her strong voice and infectious personality. She highlighted her versatility when she got us funked up with “We Don’t Funk,” from her debut EP Sis. She then really showed her vocal talents with the acoustic ballad “Loved By You.,” one of the songs that launched her career.
D Smoke hit the stage accompanied by his DJ, dancers, a trumpet player and a violinist (who happens to be his wife). He proceeded to rock it right out the gate with his banger “No Commas” from his Black Habits LP. He kept the crowd engaged and moving during his full set and finished with the anthem “Last Supper” from the Rhythm + Flow Netflix soundtrack.
London-based singer-songwriter Sinead Harnett brought her smooth brand of R&B to the Sol Blume crowd, and they were here for it. She sang a few cuts from her latest album, Ready Is Always Too Late, including “Take Me Away” and the mesmerizing cut “Where You Been Hiding” from the deluxe edition, and the crowd was more than happy to sing along with her.
By the time SiR started performing, the crowd had grown rapidly and was ready to party. SiR obliged them by performing a few songs from his critically acclaimed 2019 album Chasing Summer, including the iconic “You Can’t Save Me.” He finished his set with an exclusive first listen of his new single “Satisfaction,” which was pretty well received considering it hadn’t even been released at the time.
One of the few delayed performances of the day was Lucky Daye. It was no fault of his own as it was attributed to some minor technical difficulties. All was forgiven as soon as he hit the stage as the ladies screamed as he began singing. He sang “Feels Like” from his new album Candydrip and even played guitar on the track. Lucky then performed a few songs from his smash 2019 album Painted, including “Late Night.”
Next up was co-headliner Jazmine Sullivan, who was booked as a late replacement when PARTYNEXTDOOR was scratched from the lineup. Jazmine was dressed in a dazzling red leather suit and surely brought the heat to the large crowd that assembled to witness the GRAMMY winner. Jazmine mixed in a little old with the new, performing a few of her classics like “Bust Your Windows” and “Lions, Tigers & Bears” as well as some fan favorites from her more recent smash album Heaux Tales. She dropped her anthem “Pick Up Your Feelings,” and all the ladies in the overflowing audience sang every word with her.
The last performer for Day 1 was UK singer-songwriter Jorja Smith. Jorja came to prominence worldwide with her hugely successful 2018 debut album Lost & Found, and she sang several cuts from that project, including “Blue Lights,” “Teenage Fantasy” and the dance classic “On My Mind.” She playfully danced and had fun with the crowd as she sang a little bit of the dancehall reggae song “Come Over.” Jorja also performed a few songs from her most recent EP, Be Right Back, including “Addicted.” Accompanied by her band and three background singers, Jorja and company closed out Day 1 of Sol Blume properly.
Day 2 of Sol Blume picked up where Day 1 left off and was equally as entertaining. Rising artist Maeta was the first to hit the stage and delivered an impressive set, topping it off with “B***h Don’t Be Mad,” her extremely popular song from her debut EP Habits.
LA-based singer-songwriter Joyce Wrice graced the stage and performed several songs from her first album Overgrown, which is chock full of hits. She opened with the smooth cut “Chandler” and turned up with her uptempo jam “On One” where she was joined by two dancers who helped to amp things up.
Victoria Monét made a triumphant return to her hometown of Sacramento during her main stage performance and put on for her city. She came out the box blazing with “A** Like That” from her JAGUAR album and her 2021 single “Coastin’.” She also performed her cleverly racy song “F.U.C.K.” and partied like it was her birthday, which it was!
Kiana Ledé came for all the smoke as she performed “Forfeit.,” one of the highlights from her album KIKI and a song where she draws the line on verbal abuse from an ex. She followed that up with a few other selections from that amazing album, including “Chocolate.” and “Crazy.,” before mixing in some fan favorites, like her first hit “EX” from the EP Selfless.
Next up was Tinashe who showed off her skills as an all-around performer by singing and dancing throughout her set. She was joined by her four dancers, all dressed in the same coordinated pink and black outfits as Tinashe, which made for a stunning visual as they performed. She performed the catchy “X” from her 2021 album 333 and also took us back with “Feelings” from her 2019 project Songs For You and allowed the band to let it breathe.
Multitalented bassist/producer/singer/producer Thundercat demonstrated his proficiency on his trusty bass early on in his performance, which turned into an instrumental jam session for the first few minutes of his set. He followed that up with two smooth mid-tempo cuts, “Overseas” and “Dragonball Durag,” both from the 2020 masterpiece It Is What It Is. His trademark falsetto was on full display as well. Cat took us back to his classic cut “Them Changes,” and the crowd was all in.
The Internet‘s Syd hit the stage just as the sun was going down. She was very relaxed and spoke to the crowd for a few minutes as she drank a beverage from a plastic cup and lamented about her eyes watering due to allergies (she was not alone in that regard). She teased us with a snippet from her Kaytranada collab “You’re The One” before she set the scene by asking the crowd to imagine themselves in a Ferrari with their significant other. She then proceeded to sing “Fast Car” and “Right Track” from her recently released album Broken Hearts Club.
Day 2’s co-headliner Summer Walker was up next, and everyone in Discovery Park was buzzing in anticipation and ready to explode at their first glimpse of her. Summer’s staging was elaborate, with plants distributed across the stage, creating a sense of calm for the songstress. Once Summer appeared at the top of the stage, the audience lost their collective minds. She started things off with “Constant Bulls**t” from her Still Over It LP and the crowd happily helped her sing it. She followed that up with “Throw It Away” and continued to groove with “Body” and “Say My Name” from her 2019 debut album Over It. The crowd vibed with her throughout her performance and undoubtedly left very satisfied.
Sol Blume 2022 was ending, but not before Jhené Aiko blessed us as the Day 2 headliner. A large bed emerged on the side of the stage, and as the raucous, overflow crowd cheered in anticipation, they took it to the next level when they detected movement from the bed. Jhené emerged, dressed in a white jacket (that blended in perfectly with the bed) and silver knee-high boots. she kicked off her set with one of her earlier hits, “Stay Ready (What A Life)” from her 2013 EP Sail Out. She followed that up with “Spotless Mind” from the Souled Out EP and “Summer 2020,” a smooth cut from her Chilombo album. The petite singer had a harp player performing with her, which fit right in with the mellow, tranquil vibe she emanated. Jhené took the crowd to the next level when she performed the iconic “Sativa” from the Trip album.
From beginning to end, Sol Blume 2022 was a wonderful experience for the many music lovers – all 40,000+ of them – who attended over the festival’s two days. Over 40 artists performed, and they enjoyed themselves as much as the attendees. Artists joined the crowd after their sets to see their peers perform, and they were accessible and willing to interact with fans that approached them. The R&B heavy lineup was an R&B fan’s dream, and we sincerely hope that Sol Blume keeps that same energy for future editions.