There are plenty of albums to get excited for in 2012, whether it’s a band like The Shins, local favorite’s ala Dr. Dog or new voices that have begun to buzz like Lana Del Rey. However, towards the end of 2011 there’s another name we couldn’t resist and after spending a little time with his two EPs, it’s hard not to become a believer in Michael Kiwanuka. At just 24 years old, the British soul singer possesses that rare blend of talent, artistic integrity and natural charm. So as we begin the year, we’ll spotlight both EP’s Michael has recently released; I’m Getting Ready and Tell Me A Tale.
While both his parents are from Uganda, Kiwanuka spent his childhood growing up in London. It’s early in his career, yet to date he’s released these two EPs and toured impressing audiences at some summer festivals and opening for fellow British soul star Adele. His full-length debut album Home Again is slated for a release this March. So, with so much neo-soul out there, what makes Michael special? Well, I think the first thing to do is remove the “neo” from the conversation. Listening to these songs there is mood of throwback so much so that it hardly feels as if these songs were recorded in the current day. The production is bare, at his best moments it’s only Michael’s voice and his lightly strummed guitar. His talent shines on the subtle moments like “I’m Getting Ready” and “Any Day Will Do”.
While many are just discovering Michael, it’s a natural reflex to throw out names like Otis Redding, or perhaps a better comparison would be found in Bill Withers. And while it’s probably unfair to compare this young guy to musical giants like the aforementioned, his music inspires similar results. You feel his emotions when he sings, whether it’s the cheerful feel of “Tell Me A Tale” or the longing in a song “I Need You By My Side”. His authenticity shines through these songs, and with a voice to match Michael is an artist to get excited for in 2012.
Download Tell Me A Tale EP Isle Of Wight Sessions at Amazon.com
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