Oh Michael, why won’t you make my heart sing?

A year and a half ago I saw a shy young man performing a heartfelt, acoustic set to a crowd unable to contain their squeals and excitement. The young man was Michael Kiwanuka, but the squeals weren’t for the North London artist but for the nation’s favourite songstress Adele, who would follow. At that point he hadn’t been named winner of BBC Sound of 2012, made it on to Radio 1 or been branded this generations Bill Withers, and everyone was waiting for the main event. A year on and I’m standing in the Brudenell watching him again in a shrunken vintage jumper sounding beautiful and soulful with a wonderful band behind him… and I’m still waiting for the action to begin.

I would like to say that in no way am I devaluing the music made by Michael Kiwanuka. His EP is one of the most exciting things I have listened to this year and hearing him on Radio one made me have a little faith in the British Music Industry. Kiwanuka and his producer Paul Butler are the dream team; anyone that can get a song with a flute solo on the radio is a hero in my eyes.

So yes, musically the gig was incredible. But as I stood watching this musical marvel, I wished I were at home listening with a cup of tea. The opening band, The Staves, in 5 songs had made me develop a girl crush, consider replacing my family for one that could muster up a folk band, and kept me entirely encapsulated. With Kiwanuka, there was no spark between us, no vibe in the crowd and I hate to say, I was a little bored.

He is without a doubt a talented artist, but there was something seriously lacking for me in the live performance. But if anyone deserves a second chance it’s Kiwanuka. So readers you must go, prove me wrong and fund another album, so I can give him another shot at making me swoon. I’m not ready to give up yet.

For updates on Michael Kiwanuka: http://michaelkiwanuka.com/

 Words & Live Image: Emily Ames



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