Michael Kiwanuka Discovered Soul on a Freebie CD

Photo courtesy of Michael Kiwanuka.

“I grew up listening to guitar bands — Nirvana to the Verve,” Michael Kiwanuka remembers. “Then one guy at school had a soul CD, really old-school, from a magazine, and I borrowed that. I’d never heard that kind of music before ever, and it blew my mind.” Those useless free CDs stuck to the front of magazines? Not so useless, after all: That one eventually led to the 24-year-old English singer/songwriter’s debut, Home Again, and to the coveted BBC Sound of 2012 title.

Before last year Kiwanuka never even had a headlining show. “I’d been doing small acoustic gigs around London, but not releasing any music or anything,” he explains.  He’s since made up for lost time: After Adele picked him to open the Adele Live tour in the UK (his manager knows hers, and passed his debut three-song EP to the singer), he signed to Polydor Records, recorded a full-length album, played the iTunes Live festival in the UK, collaborated on a single with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, and won praise of the Sound of 2012 award from the BBC.

Embedded from w.soundcloud.com.