Michael Kiwanuka Live on KCRW – Lasan

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From KCRW Communications Director Alyssa King:

Working at KCRW, I get to see some of my favorite artists come by to perform on Morning Becomes Eclectic. Other times, I’m knocked off my feet when an artist I’ve recently discovered hits it out of the park – not just out of the park, but into the next field. That was my experience Thursday when Michael Kiwanuka stopped by KCRW studios. And it was because of my sheer enthusiasm after his live set that RR asked me to guest write this post.

Kiwanuka’s soulful set was a perfect antidote for a rare rainy day in Santa Monica.

Even those unfamiliar with Kiwanuka’s music found themselves eyes closed, swaying to the 25-year-old, UK artist. Talent oozed from Kiwanuka from the moment the first notes of “Tell Me a Tale” left his fingers and burst from his lips. I realized only after a gasping inhale I had been holding by breath throughout most of the first song. That continued throughout the entire performance.

Kiwanuka attributes his first US airplay to KCRW. It was a little over a year ago when KCRW DJ Chris Douridas debuted his music on our airwaves, but the artist said it was actually KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole who first tweeted to him that the station liked his stuff.

In return, when Kiwanuka came to the States in December 2011, he stopped at KCRW first. And now, almost a year later, when asked about LA, Kiwanuka says, “I like going to places that are familiar, so here feels like home, so I like coming to KCRW.”

Lucky for us, Kiwanuka has a new album he’s working on which he hopes will integrate more live music with some overdubs. He’s predicted it will be a “psychedelic folk soul album.”

Now THAT will be something. Hear/watch the full session in the archives here.

— Alyssa King

DJ Jeremy Sole, Michael Kiwanuka, Jason Bentley – by Larry Hirshowitz