The inaugural Honeyland Festival in Sugar Land, Texas was the place to be if you wanted to see major players in hip-hop and R&B. Among the huge names present was Chloe Bailey, our southern sister and one-half of dynamic duo Chloe x Halle. A singer-songwriter, producer, and actress, Chloe found time in her packed schedule to take the stage for night one of Honeyland. Even better, we had the great fortune of getting a taste of the live performance.
Since embarking on her solo debut in 2021 with “Have Mercy,” Chloe has had a whirlwind two years. After teasing and releasing tracks from her album, In Pieces, the project officially dropped in March 2023 ahead of Chloe’s first tour. Months later, her appearance at Honeyland serves as proof that people can’t get enough of this talented songstress. Taking a break from festival food and spirits, thousands of fans braved the cold and wind to be front and center for when Chloe hit the stage. And best believe, she made it more than worth it.
The minutes leading up to Chloe’s set buzzed with excitement from festival goers. So much so that by the time her dancers strutted out to their positions, the crowd had worked up a full chant. Moments later, those chants faded into screams as Chloe emerged from backstage to take her place in the center. Striking a fierce pose, she let us know immediately that she was taking no prisoners.
When the sound kicked in, Chloe emerged from the smoke like an ethereal dark siren in all black. Stacked harmonies sang her name while the festival screen showed her glowing in red latex with a scale in each hand. Then, “Chloe” appeared in gleaming gold letters. As you can imagine, the drama was high leading into the first song.
Fans were already cheering for Chloe when the intro to “Have Mercy” began. The crew at Honeyland had to overcome some early microphone issues, but once Chloe’s voice was audible, the energy kicked up even higher.
Chloe’s set was a short tour through her album, In Pieces, as she and her dancers filled the whole stage with movement. She took us to church when she belted the lyrics to “Pray It Away,” and with arms outstretched, the singer was lifted and spun around while stained glass graphics decorated the screen behind her.
Chloe used the themes of her music to encourage everyone going “through some shit” — as she put it. Between songs, she thanked fans for coming to be with her, saying, “You couldn’t possibly know it, but I needed this more than you today.” She graciously returned shouts of love and never missed a beat as she danced and sang for the massive audience.
Guided by Chloe, the crowd sang parts of “Don’t Worry About Me,” “I Don’t Mind,” and “How Does It Feel” before she shared a little more of what was on her heart. “You know when you seem to give the universe everything you’ve got and then sometimes, in that moment, you don’t get what you thought you needed right then?” Chloe expressed. “Something that I’m learning is good things come to those who wait and work motherfucking hard for it. So, thank you for allowing me to be up here and sing for you. I am so blessed and grateful.”
From there, she transitioned to “Cheatback” and closed on a high note. With booty-shaking and laughter, viral sensation “Treat Me” blared loudly as she and her dancers left the stage.
Fans who came from near and far to see Chloe at the Honeyland Festival truly got a set that was on par with award show performances and her own tour. With talent only outmatched by her authentic and gracious delivery of it, Chloe remained poised in the face of sound issues, cold weather, and all the challenges of being a traveling performer. When she thanked her dancers, crew, and godmother manager, she applauded all for what they overcame to be on the Honeyland Festival stage that day.
As an artist who’s become more vocal and vulnerable about the challenges of creating and growing in front of a global audience, Chloe made it clear at Honeyland that she remains committed to giving her best and showing gratitude for the experience, no matter the conditions.
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Header: Chlöe – “In Pieces” MV (Sony Music Entertainment)