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Sound Searching: Michael Kiwanuka

In an eight-minute video directed by Huse Monfaradi, British R&B / Soul singer Michael Kiwanuka sings about ridding himself of his demons, asking for them to let him go. Strumming in tandem with a fellow guitarist to his left, the Muswell Hill-born artist references things that most humans face on a day-to-day basis like feeling shameful, miserable and depressed.

Often compared to the old greats (Bill Withers, Randy Newman, Otis Redding, Terry Callier, Van Morrison and the Temptations), Kiwanuka makes the kind of music that makes you feel frozen in time and space. Mellow and happy to exist in the present, you’ll start to question why no one didn’t tell you about his brilliance before this moment. I learned about Kiwanuka this morning. So far, my recommendations are ‘I’ll Get Along,’ ‘Black Man In A White World,’ and ‘Bones.’ Listen to or watch the videos for those songs and let me know what you think.

As the artist sings, there is more to him than his mistakes. You’re not strong enough to take him down or break him. I like to think the same about myself. No matter how hard things become, if you continue to live, you can push through and come out better on the side. According to his online biography, Michael Kiwanuka’s Ugandan parents escaped the Amin regime.

Watch the video for “Love & Hate” below. It is the first part of a video series directed by Huse Monfaradi. Stay tuned for more clips as it becomes available.

You can find more about Michael Kiwanuka on iTunes.


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Written by Richardine Bartee

Her unprejudiced love for people, the arts, and business have taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, and a GRAMMY U Mentor. She is part of the Complex Day Ones, an exclusive community to help make the Complex experiences even better.