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Michael Kiwanuka

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Biography

With his acoustic blues-folk sound and timeless soulful voice, singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka has been favorably compared with the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Terry Callier, and Van Morrison. Born in Muswell Hill, London in 1987, to Ugandan parents who had fled Idi Amin's regime in the '70s, he initially developed a love of rock music, in particular Radiohead and Nirvana, performing in various covers bands and temporarily studying jazz at the Royal Academy of Music and pop music at Westminster University, until an outtake recording of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" inspired him to take a more stripped-back direction. After performing as a session musician for former Bill Withers drummer James Gadson and Tinie Tempah producer Labrinth, he began performing across the capital's live circuit, where he was discovered by the Bees' Paul Butler, who invited him to record material at his Isle of Wight studio. After signing to Mumford & Sons' Communion label in 2011, he released two EPs, Tell Me a Tale and I'm Getting Ready, before supporting Adele on her U.K. tour and finishing third behind Emeli Sandé and Maverick Sabre on the Brits Critics Choice short list. A year later, he followed in the footsteps of Jessie J, Florence + the Machine, and Ellie Goulding when he was announced as the winner of the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 poll and shortly thereafter released his debut single and album, both titled Home Again. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

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