Rather like Willy Moon, who was yesterday’s Ones to Watch 2012 choice, Michael Kiwanuka is producing music that has a deeply nostalgic tone. Unlike Moon however there is no attempt to give his music a contemporary edge. Instead Kiwanuka’s music subscribes to the argument that great art should never be discounted simply because it doesn’t innovate. Innovation can often be too closely linked to fashion, falling out of favour as tides turn and new waves sweep in. Listen back to something in your record collection that you thought was ground-breaking a few years back and now it may actually seem very dated. Having the tools and talent to create something moving and beautiful, irrespective of originality, is more likely to stick closely to the heart longer than the latest hipster craze or fad.
This is where Michael Kiwanuka wins hands down. You can choose to describe his soulful, acoustic music as timeless, classic or alternatively you can use words such as retro and vintage, but ultimately whatever way you frame it Kiwanuka makes music that is exquisitely warm and wonderful.
Kiwanuka is 23 years old and grew up in North London. He grew up on a musical diet of Blur, Nirvana, Hendrix, Dylan and Otis Redding. It is Redding that laid the roots for Kiwanuka’s own brand of music that is every inch close immaculate.