Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka – I Need Your Company

Michael Kiwanuka – Worry Walks Beside Me

It's funny how tastes develop. Most of the time you can pinpoint the evolution of your musical tastes to the albums your parents exposed you to growing up, the music flowing out of your siblings' rooms in your youth, or the tunes your friends were rocking on their Walkmen in high school. For me, all these things were definitely factors, but when you end up with such a broad pallette of musical interest there's bound to be some stuff that just snuck in there.

Surpisingly, one of my most beloved genres, soul, is one of those sneaky buggers. There wasn't much Otis, Stevie, Sam, or Bill around the house growing up and most of my friends were all busy listening to Blink-182 in high school. Yet somehow I've developed a deep love and appreciation of soul, Motown, r&b, funk, and blues. It's probably the romantic in me, the emotional being that's always searching for an outlet. There's just something so freeing and gratifying in the heartfelt vocal performances and laid-back, percussive music of the genre.

This Michael Kiwanuka fellow – he knows what I'm talking about. And instead of simply using the greats (Otis Redding and Bill Withers, specifically) as a touchstone, he's attempting to just go right out and continue where they left off. The London-based singer-songwriter crafts a brand of 60's blue-eyed soul that so authentic it's temporally unplaceable. Much like Sharon Jones, Kiwanuka realizes the perfection already established in the genre and works within it. It's not about modernizing, it's about expression using an already beautiful art form.

The extent of work to judge Kiwanuka on at the moment is limited to a three song EP, Tell Me A Tale (The Isle of Wight Sessions), but come September 18, Kiwanuka will release the I'm Getting Ready EP via Communion Records. If you're in the UK, you can pick it up on iTunes right now.

A wonderfully shot acoustic performance of "I'm Getting Ready" from Kiwanuka's upcoming EP: