Michael Omari, better known as Stormzy, a 26-year-old grime artist from south London, has been announced as another act to perform at this year’s Pohoda Festival.
Stormzy, who rose to fame in 2015 when he came third on the BBC Sound list, began his career on YouTube with his charismatic freestyle videos. Within a span of five years, he has become one of the UK’s most successful music exports in recent history.
At the start of summer 2019, he was the first black artist from the UK to headline the Glastonbury Festival. His performance was widely praised by fellow artists as well as politicians.
The US TIME magazine put him on its cover back in October 2019, listing him as one of the next generation leaders alongside climate activist Greta Thunberg and Spanish music sensation Rosalía.
“Child of grime” with two successful albums
Stormzy’s artistry was first acclaimed in summer 2014 when he released the EP Dreamers Disease, for which he won the Best Grime Act at the MOBO Awards. He put out Shut Up as his next single a year later, opening doors to the UK charts.
His debut album Gang Signs & Prayer topped the UK’s albums chart for one week in March 2017. Thanks to the album, which contains hits such as Blinded by Your Grace, Pt. 2 and Big For Your Boots, Stormzy won two Brit awards in 2018.
In 2019, Stormzy released the track Vossi Bop, which was the first song of his sophomore album Heavy Is the Head, released in mid-December of last year. Vossi Bop topped the UK’s singles chart for two weeks and the next single Take Me Back to London, on which Ed Sheeran features, spent five weeks as number one last summer.
Fighter against racism
When the Financial Times criticised the Cambridge University for having very few black students at some faculties, Stormzy offered a scholarship for a few Cambridge students coming from an ethnic minority background.
The UK grime artist also cancelled his slot at the last minute at a festival in Austria over the alleged racial profiling of his manager by the festival staff last April.
“If these are the drastic steps that I need to take to make a point against racism and racial profiling then trust me I’m taking it,” he posted on Instagram.
Despite this, it will not be the first time Stormzy will perform in central Europe. Last year, he performed his set at the summer festival in the north of Poland.
Stormzy will perform at the Pohoda Festival on Thursday, on the night of July 9, at the Trenčín airport.
2. Jan 2020 at 13:49 | Compiled by Spectator staff