Outside Lands 2022: SZA Takes Control & Makes Waves In Nostalgic, Dance-Filled Performance
SZA performs on Day 1 of Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival in San Francisco.

Photo: Steve Jennings/WireImage


Outside Lands 2022: SZA Takes Control & Makes Waves In Nostalgic, Dance-Filled Performance

SZA closed the first night of the three-day festival with songs from her discography, leaning into the beloved songs of her debut 'Ctrl.'

GRAMMYs/Aug 6, 2022 - 05:08 pm

As the fog rolled in, mist engulfed the seas of bundled festival goers pouring onto the western lawns of Golden Gate Park. A lighthouse structure beckoned at the Lands End stage and marine projections appeared on the stage's backdrop readying the crowd for Outside Lands 2022's Friday headliner, SZA

The GRAMMY-winning artist born Solána Rowe closed the first night of the three-day festival with songs from throughout her discography, redesigning the way acclaimed works like Ctrl are perceived with every performance. SZA opened her solo set with the Black Panther epic track "All The Stars," sharing verses from her Kendrick Lamar collab under cityscape constellations.  

Turning the clock back to 2017, SZA returned to her debut album Ctrl, which provided an escapist score for carefree summer days. Ctrl received five GRAMMY nominations and attendees were reliving the glory days of Ctrl all together in the frigid San Francisco air. SZA sang "Miles," "Love Galore (Alt Version),"  and her unreleased single "Shirt" as fans sang their choruses back in unison.  

A deluxe version of Ctrl was released on the five-year anniversary of the project this June, its nostalgic value contributing to why Ctrl has persisted as a beloved musical phenomenon since its debut.  

SZA also revealed more sides of her performer persona, showcasing her experience in dance with group dance sequences to "The Weekend" and "Go Gina." At 32 years old, the genre-defiant poet known for her lyrical proficiency is becoming more comfortable in her skin and has become more confident in her moves.  

With no guests appearing on stage, SZA’s attuned vocals and remarkable whistletones set the calming scene for the audience. With every verse, the crowd would recite words back, showcasing the weight of Ctrl

As SZA monologued about the state of the world after wrapping up a gushing pop rendition of "Prom," she began "Normal Girl" by expressing how abnormal times feel and reminding the audience to take a break to settle with the tide.  

The final moments of Outside Lands' first day concluded with SZA seated on a platform full of blooming sunflowers, swaying her legs back and forth as she sang "Good Days." She also nodded to Doja Cat, performing their 2021 track "Kiss Me More." Her starry-eyed fans banded together, swaying and reciting every optimistic lyric.  

SZA ended her set by thanking the audience for carrying the legacy of Ctrl to where it is today. With firework projections glowing behind her, she then climbed up the lighthouse and plunged into the turquoise waters, resulting in a luminescent slosh of seawater. While audiences wait for SZA’s next album, SZA's Outside Lands performance should be an indicator that whatever she does next will undoubtedly make a splash. 

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Outside Lands 2022: Mitski Brings A Theatrical Loneliness To Thousands

Photo: Lorne Thomson / Contributor


Outside Lands 2022: Mitski Brings A Theatrical Loneliness To Thousands

Mitski's Outside Lands audience was rapt and excitable, yet it was hard to tell whether the singer had a good time or what she thought of the Sunday night crowd.

GRAMMYs/Aug 8, 2022 - 11:07 pm

After touring heavily for five years, Mitski performed at SummerStage in New York City’s Central Park and crushed her fans by announcing that it would be her "last show indefinitely." Fast forward three years, and the 31-year-old singer-songwriter has been performing on major stages all summer, including England’s Glastonbury, Denmark’s Roskilde and San Francisco’s Outside Lands, where her Sunday night set ushered in the darkness and closed out the festival.

Lyric-knowing fans and curious onlookers taking Mitski in for the first time got an immediate glimpse of her conflicting feelings about herself with the opener, "Love Me More." From Outside Lands' Sutro stage she sang, "Every day I’m trying not to hate myself/But lately, it’s not hurting like it did before/Maybe I am learning how to love me more."

Mitski has spoken out against being unfairly pigeonholed as a fiercely private person and publicly struggled with anxiety and self-loathing as well as the pressures of fame, the music business and having an ardent fan following. Her work, filled with unrequited love, animates a lonely vibe that thrives in isolated listening situations, but it also clearly offers comfort to a festival crowd of thousands with minimal physical space between them, even as the pandemic is still taken seriously in San Francisco. 

Her Outside Lands audience was rapt, eagerly and frequently erupting at each dramatic hand movement and pose. If she found that unnerving at all, she didn’t break character while singing popular songs like "I Bet on Losing Dogs," "Washing Machine Heart" and "Your Best American Girl."

"If you would just make one mistake/What a relief that would be," she sang on "The Only Heartbreaker." "But I think for as long as we’re together/I’ll be the only heartbreaker."

Mitski doesn’t use backup singers, and her music isn’t conducive to having dancers, but she employs choreographed dance movements throughout the performance. Whether she’s daringly patting her crotch in a sardonic Michael Jackson way, striking a powerful pose taken from Japanese Butoh dance theater or throwing herself hatefully on the ground, her body is a conduit for what her words can’t say. And it’s also an impenetrable wall that keeps us from getting too close.

Her 20-song set was free of concert conventions. There was no banter in between songs or fan interactions on or offstage, though either would have been an uncomfortable departure from where this performer seemingly prefers to be situated during a concert. It's hard to tell whether Mitski had a good time or what she thought of the Outside Lands crowd, which most other performers were happy to acknowledge. She left the pyro and the fireworks to Post Malone on the neighboring stage, though a portion of the glittering explosives were visible through the trees as her performance neared its end, adding a little bit of sparkle to the somberness.

Mitski concluded with 2018’s "A Pearl, building her wall even taller with an isolating refrain: "Sorry, I don’t want your touch/It’s not that I don’t want you/Sorry, I can’t take your touch."

Outside Lands 2022: SZA Takes Control & Makes Waves In Nostalgic, Dance-Filled Performance

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2018 GRAMMYs: Who's Performing?

Cardi B

Photo: Thaddaeus McAdams/


2018 GRAMMYs: Who's Performing?

Find out which of your favorite artists are performing on the 60th GRAMMY Awards on Sunday, Jan. 28

GRAMMYs/Jan 26, 2018 - 06:30 pm

The 60th GRAMMY Awards celebration in New York is quickly approaching. From rolling out the red carpet to tuning the guitars and adjusting the lights at Madison Square Garden, the Recording Academy is getting ready for the big milestone installment of Music's Biggest Night. But how about the performers?

Spanning multiple genres, including pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B, country, and more, this year's lineup of GRAMMY performers — many of them current nominees or past winners — will make for three-and-a-half hours of must-see television.

Without further ado, here is the list of performers for the 60th GRAMMYs.

Hosted by James Corden, the 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28, airing live on CBS from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.

Who Wore It Best On The 2018 GRAMMYs Red Carpet?


Who Wore It Best On The 2018 GRAMMYs Red Carpet?

From Lady Gaga, SZA and Kesha to Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd, Imagine Dragons, Portugal. The Man, and more, vote on who you think took their fashion to the next level on the red carpet

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 09:08 am

Music's Biggest Night brought some of the most fashion-forward looks to the red carpet, especially for this special installment at the milestone 60th GRAMMY Awards in New York City.

From Lady Gaga, SZA and Kesha's hot looks, Portugal. The Man's trendy sneakers, Cardi B's amazing white gown, Pink's colorful feathers, Childish Gambino's all-white suit, Khalid in lilac, and Sam Smith in green, sound off on who you think work it best on the red carpet.

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BET Awards 2018: SZA, Migos, Jamie Foxx, Janelle Monáe, J. Cole & More


Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images


BET Awards 2018: SZA, Migos, Jamie Foxx, Janelle Monáe, J. Cole & More

Find out who turned up, who turned heads and who took home the prizes at this year's BET Awards

GRAMMYs/Jun 25, 2018 - 07:46 pm

Los Angeles' Microsoft Theatre played host to the 2018 BET Awards on June 24, and the action was non-stop. Over the course of the evening, some of the biggest names in pop, rap, R&B, soul, gospel, and more were honored in between a barrage of blockbuster performances.

GRAMMY winner Jamie Foxx served as host of the festivities and opened the show by joining Jay Rock for a revved-up performance of Rock's new single, "Win." Foxx then delivered his monologue and invited Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan to the stage to recite some of the most powerful lines from the film.

DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller took home the night's first award for Best Collaboration for "Wild Thoughts" from Khaled's 2017 album Grateful. Khaled brought his son Asahd to the stage to help him accept the award, and gave him a shoutout in his speech.

SZA received the Best New Artist award, further solidifying her arrival as one of her generation's sharpest talents. The singer expressed gratitude and encouragement in her acceptance speech, saying, "Believe in yourself, 'cause I didn't even believe in myself, and things like this happen to me, so it this can happen to anybody. God bless everyone."

The show's lineup of performances was full of surprises. Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, delivered an impromptu snippet of "This Is America." Meek Mill premiered a new song called "Stay Woke" featuring Miguel, and Migos recreated their "Soultrain"-inspired music video for "Walk It Talk It," with Foxx helping out in the roll of TV show host.

YG, 2 Chainz and Big Sean joined Nicki Minaj for a run of three songs, including "Chun-Li," "Rich Sex" and the crew's newly released single, "Big Bank." H.E.R., real name Gabi Wilson, made a splash with performances of "Focus" and, calling upon Daniel Caesar for help, the sweet and soulful love song, "Best Part." Janelle Monaé performed "Jango Jane" from her latest album, Dirty Computers, and turned heads on the red carpet with her vibrant rainbow pride dress.

Rapper J. Cole chose to perform the lead-off cut from his latest album, KOD. His rendition of "Friends" featured cameos from Wale and Caesar as well as a dynamic performance from Cole, dramatic lighting and even a memorable dance sequence from a group of children. Snoop Dogg closed the show with a set of his classics mixed in with tunes from his new gospel project.

Additional notable awards went to Beyoncé for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Kendrick Lamar for Best Male Hip Hop Artist, Cardi B for Best Female Hip Hop Artist, and Lecrae and Tori Kelly for the Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award for their duet "I'll Find You." BET also honored two legends in their own right as GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Anita Baker and the company's influential president Debra Lee each received a lifetime achievement award.

With a captivating mix of bold social statements, reverent award presentations, lively and heartfelt performances, up-and-coming stars, and musical icons, the 2018 BET Awards honored the best-of-the-best from both today and the past while also providing illuminating insight into the future of music.

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