Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Michael Kiwanuka Talks Mercury Nominated Third Album Ahead Of Rearranged Date @ The Brighton Centre

Mercury Prize 2020 shortlisted Kiwanuka looks inward and out, across widescreen sonic landscapes constructed in recording studios in London, Los Angeles and New York, and provides a showcase for the honey-poured mahogany of Michael Kiwanuka's voice.

Credit Olivia Rose

It skilfully crosses the streams of the personal and the political. No other name would really have done. 

The self-titled record usually marks a definable phase of a musician's career; an embrace of personal mythology, perhaps, or merely a shift to 'take me as I am' straightforwardness. 

But Kiwanuka, the single eponymous word that heralds Michael Kiwanuka's Mercury Prize nominated third album, holds a resonant, complex significance. 

It signals, for one thing, a swift, pointed rejection of the stage personas that artists have historically donned as both a freeing creative mask and a protective shield. 

It is an act of cultural affirmation and self-acceptance: a young British-African, contemplating the continued struggle for racial equality, and proudly celebrating the Ugandan name his old teachers in Muswell Hill would struggle to pronounce. 

It is a nod to a suite of arresting, ambitious soul songs that – while they deftly recall the funkified epics of artists as varied as Gil Scot-Heron, Fela Kuti, Bobby Womack and Kendrick Lamar – cement the singular, supremely confident sound that made 2016's Love & Hate such an undeniable step up. 


"I remember when I first signed a record deal, people would ask me, 'So what are you going to be called?'" laughs the man himself, considering the thought process that inspired the title. 

"And I never thought of that; calling myself Johnny Thunders or whatever, like singers from the past. 

"But I have thought previously, would I sell more records if my name had an easier ring to it? 


"So [on this album] it's kind of a defiant thing; finally I'm engaging with who I am and I'm not going to have an alter ego, or become Sasha Fierce or Ziggy Stardust, even though everyone's telling me I need to be this, that or the other. 

"I can just be Michael Kiwanuka."

Surveying his current career standing Michael concludes: 

"The last album came from an introspective place and felt like therapy, I guess.

"This one was a bit more about feeling comfortable in who I am and asking what I wanted to say. 

"Like, how could I be bold and challenge myself and the listener? 

"It is about self-acceptance in a bit more of a triumphant rather than a melancholy way."

Michael Kiwanuka at The Brighton Centre on Saturday 3rd April 2021. CLICK HERE for tickets. 

by: Mike Cobley & Jimi Famurewa




Share    

Credit Andy Sturmey

Brighton four-piece Black Honey feel now is the time for the next instalment of their story – ‘Written & Directed” – which sees the band deliver one, very singular, message – a ten track mission statement that aims to unashamedly plant a flag in the ground for strong, world-conquering women. 

Hayley Ross is trading her dreamy south-coast trademarks for a darker, rootsier palette of sounds on her forthcoming EP.

What would you do if you could relive your birthdays and have your childhood back? In Mark Roland Langdale's new book, The Toy Museum, one man journeys back in time to regain some happiness and joy in life.

Blondie's Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke will be offering up Brighton a double female-fronted band tour when they take to the road with the Shirley Manson fronted Garbage. next year.
Credit Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton: 100 Years will be celebrated later this month on what would have been the late photographer's birthday. 

Brad Hanson and Sam Hughes from Littlehampton are collectively known by over one million fans online as The Bald Builders, a duo who in true Del Boy style, made a million, lost a million and now look to rise from the ashes once more and support a cause very close to their hearts. 

Fabrica, Brighton's Centre for Contemporary Art, has issued an open call for artists to submit work to be displayed in the large scale window of the city centre art gallery.
Credit Michael Carter

The Ocean Film Festival World Tour is bringing a brand-new collection of ocean-themed films to Brighton front rooms this October and November, in its first ever virtual edition.

Hailing from both sides of Hadrian's Wall, yllwshrk are more at home in classical concert halls than the Camden dive bars, and more accustomed to bows and mallets than the amps and synths of the alt-rock scene.

Mirrored is the new single from Southern-based Taurian, an intriguing new musician who fuses industrial & hard rock influences with trip-hop & electronica atmospherics to create an original sound.

A Sussex resident fought through her disability, undertaking a 29-mile walking challenge—the equivalent distance of all three of the UK's tallest peaks combined: Ben Nevis at 11.5 miles; Snowdon at 9.5 miles and Scafell Pike at 8 miles—to raise vital funds for Bliss, a UK charity for babies born prematurely or sick.
Credit Penelope Fewster

Charleston, in East Sussex, once the home and country meeting place of the Bloomsbury Group, is preparing to open its doors to the public again in spring 2021 with an Art Happens crowdfunding campaign in which every donation towards the target will be doubled thanks to match funding from loyal supporters.

Waiting for a long-haul flight from Western Australia to London might seem like hell to some but it has led to the new single, Killing Time, by Brighton singer Laura Mitchell.
Credit Andy Sturmey

Thanks to vital support from Arts Council England's (ACE) Culture Recovery Fund, Brighton Dome will be able to adapt its historic venue to comply with new regulations to allow live performances to commence again. 

Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd