Musician Michael Kiwanuk's Story
To date, musicians from the UK, who would be a virtuoso in soul, blues and rhythm and blues, can be counted on the fingers. And if we say that there is such an artist, and everyone who follows the latest in popular music knows his name! At the same time, he also knocks out the first places in the Top Charts ... And this is Kiwanuka.
Michael Kiwanuka: “…when I was teaching guitar and they wrote me a check, I thought: Oh my god, this is so much!”
A little biography
Michael is 31 years old. He already has a couple of hit records under his belt - "Home Again" and "Love & Hate", as well as nominations for various prestigious awards!
Many people know him as a talented London musician who skillfully combines rock music with soul elements in his works... Michael spent his childhood in Motherwell Hill, a suburb of London. From an early age, the boy admired the work of Radiohead, Offspring, Blur and Nirvana, performing in school rock bands.
For a long time, Kiwanuka studied jazz and pop music, until a chance introduced him to "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" - the famous recording of Otis Redding, which inspired Michael to create his own unique style ...
In his interview, the artist admitted:
“My style was influenced by artists such as Bill Withers, Bob Dylan, Pops Staples… All of them were unsurpassed masters in different styles: from soul and blues to folk rock and gospel. It still amazes me…”
At first, Michael performed as a session musician (one of the most famous examples is the recording of James Gadson and Tiny Tempo). After - he began to position himself as a solo artist, performing in popular clubs in London. There he was noticed by Paul Butler of The Bees, who invited the young musician to record in his studio.
In 2011, Michael signed a contract with the label Communion, and two magnificent works were released: "Tell Me A Tale EP" and "I'm Getting Ready".
Subsequently, Michael served as the opening act for singer Adele, and was also recognized as one of the best young musicians of 2011 according to the Rising Star Award! In 2012, Kiwanuka won the prestigious BBC Sound poll: the majority of listeners called him "the most promising performer of the year ..."
In 2016, Michael releases Love & Hate. The album receives extremely positive reviews from music critics and online publications, which is a rarity! The disc literally blew up the British Top Charts, where it occupied only the highest positions!
About style and collaborations
As for collaborations, everything is just beginning for Michael:
“For me, this is something unknown ... Before that, I could not stand working with other musicians. But as soon as the Home Again album came out, everything changed! I started to devote much more time to writing music. I have a desire to hang out with other artists, communicate with them, discuss my ideas ... It's great! If you have found someone who motivates you to create new cool tracks, you can move mountains!”
Also, in his interviews, Kiwanuka admitted more than once that he was afraid to do something new, different from his style:
“It scares me, because I don’t know how the listener will react to this ...”
But Michael's worries were in vain. In 2019, the listeners were delighted with his collaboration with Tom Mish called "Money"! In fact, Michael tried on a completely new image, becoming the author of a disco banger!
“This song was born by itself, and very quickly! Tom and I have been talking for a long time, and once he asked if I would like to record something together? He is my friend and I could not refuse him. We listened to a lot of music before we settled on an 80's disco style! It was the most comfortable to work with Tom, as I could discuss with him any, even my wildest idea! You know, to record something like "Money", in the studio I imagine myself as someone else. I get used to the role, and then return to myself!” Kiwanuka shared with the press.
Many fans of Michael are wondering: where did their idol earn his first serious money? And now, the secret is revealed! In his interview, Kiwanuka said the following:
“... I remember those times very well ... I was 20 years old, I dropped out and got a job as a guitar teacher. I taught lessons in two schools at once. On average, it took me four hours a week. When they wrote me a check, I thought, “Oh my God, this is so much!” I remember they paid me about £400, which I immediately spent on a guitar amplifier!”
Many Kiwanuka fans were seriously worried when there was a lull after the release of Love & Hate ... As it turned out, the three-year run (the Kiwanuka album was released only in 2019) happened due to perfectionism:
“It seems to me that every musician sooner or later has a creative crisis ... No matter how much you want to, you simply cannot write anything worthwhile! From time to time I take a vacation: it takes me a long time to write music that will bring me delight and happiness ... I want to write the best music that I can! I want people to enjoy my work… It takes time to record something cool…”
Not so long ago, the artist had a new hobby in which he immediately succeeded - photography. To the great happiness of the fans, Kinavuk is not going to change the craft of a musician for a photographer:
“I have always loved photography. When reading books about musicians, I always paid attention to photographs… I have recently become interested in photography. But this is more like a creative hobby for the soul ... "
When asked if statuses and awards have any meaning for him, Kiwanuka replied:
"This is a good question. Yes, sometimes they are very important for me, because thanks to them I understand that I am not standing still and I am progressing. Development - be it spiritual or creative - is a very important component of our life ... "
Let's enjoy Michael's chic clips with fascinating stories: