Listen Up - Michael Kiwanuka
In keeping with my partial attempts to make sure we don’t all get too caught up in just the electronic side of pop music, I would like to introduce you all to Michael Kiwanuka.
Michael is from London, and he is starting to make waves in the UK. His first single, “I’m Getting Ready”, barely cracked the Top 200 (in the UK they track the 200 most popular songs, as opposed to here, where we only track the top 100). It lead to his next single “Home Again” to make it into the top 30 though, and that’s not nothing for a new artist, especially someone not doing the standard dance-y, radio-friendly pop that we’re all used to.
Kiwanuka is of Ugandan descent, and not only does he have such an easy-going, simple look, but his sound is astounding. He is so pure, so calm. His music is wrapped in soul, but no overly so. He conveys such an emotion and such power without so much as raising his voice. The ability to do that is a sign of a real, genuine talent. Kiwanuka may never be the kind of artist that will sell millions of records or have huge singles; rather, he is the type to quietly influence artists for generations to come.
Kiwanuka’s talent was also (thankfully) quickly picked up on. He started out as a backing guitarist for other UK artists, and he soon ventured out on his own. Within one year, he had been signed, released a few EPs, and was opening for Adele. Not a bad starting gig.
We are seeing popular music go in two directions right now. One of them is going towards dance – David Guetta, dubstep, and huge basslines. The other side leans heavily on the music of Amy Winehouse, Duffy, and Adele (think about Bruno Mars – especially his latest Grammy performance). Soul has found its way back into pop and into the mainstream, and I think we will be hearing a lot more of this type of thing in the near future (although it is yet to be seen if anyone can really compete with these ladies).
I can’t wait to see what is next in both of these styles – it’s a very exciting moment in pop music right now, so get ready.
Look Michael Kiwanuka up online: