Michael Kiwanuka – Hitmaker

Michael Kiwanuka Comfort For The Soul

It doesn’t matter what album of his you check out because they’re all great and different!  I came across Michael Kiwanuka through a various artists live stream. And I was taken back by his voice because it sounded so comforting and inviting. Apparently, I was hiding under a rock about this guy! Because a family member just rolls her eyes at me and tells me that’s the song from “Big Little Lies!” Despite the teenage angst towards me, I check out other songs and albums by him and I’m even more impressed.


Furthermore, his voice has this warm texture and softness to it. Allowing you to take the time to hear the story that he’s performing for you. Also, in his music you can tell that there is heart, brains and deep roots that comes from the soul. Let me just say that not many musicians can do this anymore!


As for the video below -“Cold Little Heart” it kind of has a Pink Floyd vibe to it. This track is very conceptualized with a brilliant keyboard sound and clever interplay with the guitar and drums. So, Turn the volume up on this track!


The Early Years

Born and raised in London, he attends Fortismere School, leaving there in 2005 after to study at the School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster. Furthermore, he works as a session guitarist, playing with Chipmunk and Bashy (Hip Hop artists) before working as a solo artist. Later supporting Adele on her live 2011 tour as well as at her iTunes Festival 2011 gig. Shortly after playing at the 2011 Hard Rock Calling.


It’s in 2011 that he signs a record deal with Polydor Records. In 2012, he releases his debut solo album “Home Again” The album peaks at number 4 in the UK and, as of 2012, has sells over 70,000 copies in the UK.


Further drawing comparisons to Curtis Mayfield, Terry Callier, Van Morrison and more! Below Michael performs the Hendrix song originally called “May This Be Love”. Sometimes referred to as “Waterfall”. I’m pretty sure that Jimi would approve this cover version!



In 2016, Kiwanuka releases his follow-up to “Home Again” called “Love & Hate”. The album is a critical and commercial success, reaching number 1 on the UK albums chart. Also, The album is produced by Danger Mouse and spawns several singles. 


Below – Check Michael Kiwanuka performing the title track from his latest album “Love & Hate” in the studios of 89.3 (Live at The Current). This song has some very deep lyrics! There’s something about this song and the artist that’s missing from mainstream music. He can manipulate his lyrics, voice, and melody so well! This guy is the embodiment of Soul music.



His Influences Along The Way

Kiwanuka has acknowledged influences from musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, Jack Johnson, Pops Staples, The Band, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Eric Bibb, Tommy Sims, Wham! Along with Richie Havens and Funkadelic, he’s also played with James Gadson! An impressive list to be inspired by! 


All I can say is that I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table on his next album! Enjoy!

Furthermore, be sure, to check out the other JB blog posts: https://jbonamassa.com/jb-blog/