Michael Kiwanuka’s smooth soulful sound would be more at home in the 60’s or 70’s but his first EP ‘Tell Me A Tale’ came out as the, somewhat surprise, winner of the BBC’s sound of 2012 poll.
The BBC’s ‘sound of’ poll has, over the past 10 years, been a reliable source for hand-picking acts which will make an impact on the charts in the following year, with the top five acts usually becoming highly successful.
The award puts him in the same bracket as previous winners Jessie J, Ellie Goulding and Adele. But it is hard to see the singer songwriter gaining the same renowned fame as these artists, as his music appears to have arrived 40 years too late.
Kiwanuka’s debut album ‘Home Again’ shows promise with his distinctive voice and soft relaxing tones gripping the listener. With the success of Adele last year, it is a possibility that the London born singer songwriter could follow in the footsteps of Adele, whom he supported on tour in 2011.
The album itself has a soul-folk vibe and the influences of Otis Redding and Bill Withers shine on through. Both of these artists have had an effect on Kiwanuka’s songwriting, with the singer confessing that Withers’ own brand of ‘folk music’ encouraged him to keep writing when times became tough.
Title track ‘Home Again’ is one of the highlights of the album, its soothing beat and rich guitar melodies help to captivate the meaningful lyrics. The song reached the top UK 40 earlier this year, peaking at 29. ‘I’m Getting Ready’ and ‘Tell Me A Tale’ are also songs to look out for.
With no real outstanding pop song or catchy chorus, it’s unlikely that we will see Kiwanuka dominate the charts with this attempt but he certainly won’t go unnoticed.