Anyone who first hears him swears that the soul of an older man, a much wearier man, was transplanted into his body. His is a voice that’s truly touched by something so rich and full of life that it’s a marvel that this young man is only 24. Michael Kiwanuka is the epitome of everything strong and beautiful in music. His sound is so reminiscent of things gone by it’s ridiculous.
However, even with a sound that many tout as the very mark of Bill Withers, Kiwanuka has a grit and earthiness truly his own. It’s remarkable that his talent has been kept under wraps for so long, though I imagine him to be the kind of artist that doesn’t ere to the circular beat of time. The important thing is that we’ve come to know his beauty in a time of deep ugliness that riddles the airwaves with its impoverished version of sound.
Hailing from North London, very little is known about Kiwanuka. He was born to Ugandan parents and attended Fortismere School, where he, no doubt, excelled in music. He then took his talents and intellect to the University of Westminster. With schooling under his belt and music thrumming through his body, he started on the track of becoming a highly renowned and respected artist. After working as a session guitarist for the likes of London hip-hoppers Chipmunk and Bashy, he struck out on his own.
It would take the smooth ebb and flow of a house DJ to bring the beauty of true friendship to my heart. The truth is there isn’t much I can say that would do this song justice. It’s a proclamation of the trials and winding roads that lead friends and lovers to become closer than they thought humanly possible.
“Very Good Friends”, on Blue Six’s beautiful tomorrow album, is a song that is as much about the pain of complex relationships as it is about the joy of finding that through all the nonsense, all the heartache, there is one thing that remains – the love that made you so close to begin with.
The chorus is an echo that reverberates with vigour in the soul.
We’re very good friends today.
I let it go, you let it go.
We left it all behind us.
I can be a good friend to you.
Not only are we assailed by the passion inherent in being close to someone, we are given the chance to understand that no matter what differences and disagreements may separate us for a time, there are delicate moments in which we are so very enraptured with the presence of that other part of our soul that we’re unable to allow those sullen instances to linger for too long.
Can a sound as pure as love itself truly be considered revolutionary? Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t believe that to be true. However, sometimes it takes a small nymph from a land that you’ve never imagined in your wildest fantasies to bring something noble to your eyes and open your heart to something brand new.
Such was the case when I discovered Cree Summer’s only full-length album, Street Faerie.
Cree’s is a voice tempered with such grace and such emotion that it’s shocking that she hasn’t been fully recognized for her musical prowess. We all know her in one form or another, but all those permutations take the shape of some animated character. However, her most flawless and symphonic sound is when she’s opening her soul and her throat and allowing the audience to touch something deep inside her so raw that it’s almost uncomfortable.