Written by Sophie Wyatt
2022 has seen the return of many music festivals and events, including Somerset House’s Summer Series. After two years away, Somerset House brought music fans 11 incredible nights of music. Bringing a vibrant festival atmosphere to it’s historic walls, the iconic courtyard brought fans a range of diverse music from around the world. From Nigerian singer-songwriter and producer Tems to South-East London’s own Yussef Dayes.
Somerset House is London’s working arts centre and home to the UK’s largest creative community. Built on historic foundations, we are situated in the very heart of the capital. Dedicated to backing progress, championing openness, nurturing creativity and empowering ideas, our cultural programme is ambitious in scope. We insist on relevance, but aren’t afraid of irreverence, and are as keen on entertainment as enrichment. We embrace the biggest issues of our times and are committed to oxygenating new work by emerging artists.
For over 20 years, Somerset House has championed the most exciting musical talent across their cultural programme. From groundbreaking musicians such as Amy Winehouse, The Roots, Jorja Smith, Erykah Badu and Rosalía headlining the courtyard stage as part of Summer Series, to collaborating on exhibitions, installations and innovative events with artists including Björk, PJ Harvey, Neneh Cherry, Gaika, Beatrice Dillon and Anna Meredith, Somerset House is an unrivalled destination for fans to enjoy live music experiences throughout the year.
Haste were lucky enough to attend the penultimate show – critically acclaimed, multi-platinum US singer-songwriter John Legend. As the sun started to set and the turrets of the building started to gain a warm glow from both the sky and the subtle lighting, the scene was set. Before John’s set began, he invited flourishing British artist Debbie to take to the stage. Her soothing, powerful voice entranced the crowd. Running through several of her much-loved tracks, as well as a cover of the classic track ‘Young Hearts Run Free’, Debbie certainly got the vibe rising.
As the lights came on and the snazzily dressed band and backing singers entered the stage the crowd were on the edge of the seats. The music rose and noise of the packed courtyard erupted as John Legend strutted onto the stage in a bright pink suit, a smile beaming across his face. Opening with some of his newer songs, John soon started speaking to the crowd about his journey through the music industry. Explaining his encounters with Ms Lauryn Hill, Kanye West and Will.I.Am to name a few, we were invited on a trip into John Legend’s entrance into his life’s work. We were then pleased to hear two of his brand new tracks played; ‘She’s So Dope’ and ‘All She Wants To Do’.
John then quickly flicked back to some tracks from his iconic albums ‘Get Lifted’ and ‘Once Again’ – including ‘P.D.A’, ‘So High’, ‘Save Room’. Fans who have known and loved John Legends earlier albums for a long time were filled with many different emotions as the singer serenading them with these classic tracks. Before leaving stage to change from his first brightly coloured suit into a black and white patterned one. Taking to the piano he played his much loved song ‘Ordinary People’. Closing with his song ‘Wild’ and ‘Green Light’, John thanked the still buzzing crowd and made his exit. While you always hear people who have attended a concert say that the artist was better than they sound on CD, it is entirely true in this case. John’s stage presence and sheer comfort at performing to such a large crowd was mesmerising and made for a perfect summer evening.