British soul singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka (born 3rd May, 1987), hails from North London, England, delivering folk-inflected soul that finds similarities with Bill Withers, Otis Redding and Terry Callier.
Kiwanuka became interested in music initially through the likes of Nirvana, Radiohead, Offspring and Blur. Although it was through Jimi Hendrix that Kiwanuka found a musician he related to on a number of levels, inspiring him to pursue his talents on the guitar. Through friends, he found the music of Bob Dylan, falling in love with his well-crafted songs and folk guitar. Through Otis Redding, he became enamoured with his soulful voice, moving on to find the music of soul and motown.
Having played in rock bands throughout school, he began mixing with the likes of Labrinth, Bashy and Chipmunk, playing session guitar for these artists, as well as jamming with other musicians. However, unable to play music that he wanted to, Kiwanuka began to write songs of his own, initially for fun as a personal outlet. However, after recording a few demos of his own songs, those around him praised his talents, encouraging him to pursue a career in music.
He travelled to the Isle of Wight, UK to record a debut EP with Paul Butler of The Bees, an album that combined rootsy-folk alongside an electric tinge with the soulful vocals of Shuggie Otis and Curtis Mayfield. "Tell Me a Tale (Isle of Wight Sessions)" came out in 2011, spurring Kiwanuka forward in his solo career. Shortly after, Kiwanuka moved to Polydor Records to continue producing his music.
In 2012, he was included in the BBC's annual poll, the 'Sound of 2012,' and was named victor in January 2012. A support slot with Adele months before helped establish him on the live music scene, He released his debut album, "Home Again" in March 2012, which was a commercial and critical success, reaching number four in the UK Album Charts, as well as fairing well in a number of other countries.