On first listen Michael Kiwanuka sounds like an undiscovered gem from a bygone era. He blends 60’s and 70’s style soul with such authenticity, that it is difficult to believe this record has come out of modern day London and not an earlier decade. Kiwanuka is currently on tour with Adele and like her he has a voice deep in soul which belies his 23 years of age. He was inspired to pick up a guitar by Hendrix and notes Bob Dylan and Otis Redding as early influences.

Kiwanuka’s Tell Me a Tale EP is a result of sessions recorded on the Isle of Wight alongside an array of talented backing musicians. He has a smoky and rich voice that never feels forced or artificial, this is combined on the EP with inflections of jazz to create powerful songs regarding love, comfort and belonging, reflecting the emotions he felt as a youngster growing up in North London.

The title track ‘Tell Me a Tale’ is noticeably influenced by Otis Redding, its lush melodies accompany rich brass and Kiwanuka’s weighty delivery. The influence of Motown is plain to see on ‘I Need Your Company,’ as Kiwanuka gives us a fresh glimpse into the romance of decades past. ‘Which Worry Walks Besides Me’ is an emotion filled blues number. Kiwanuka lets us into a raw and vulnerable side of himself, as lonely strings, pianos and bluesy guitars set the ambience.

Kiwanuka’s music is a beautiful reminiscence on a glorious past era of music, it feels incredibly authentic and it is testament to him as an artist that he has managed to create a completely timeless recording. Tell me a Tale is a great introduction to the music of Michael Kiwanuka, it highlights his raw talent and is just a small, albeit beautiful, taste of what to expect in the future.

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