Michael Kiwanuka Performs at NPR Music Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
- British singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka appeared on NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert to perform 5 songs from his sophomore album “Love & Hate” and third album “Kiwanuka”.
He played performing from his apartment in London due to the CONVID-19 pandemic.
From his sophomore album, he performed “Cold Little Heart”. The song was released in 2016 and was used for the opening credits of HBO's “Big Little Lies”. At that time, he told NME, “It helped direct where the music was going. It's really influenced by classic '60s and '70s British guitar bands like The Who and Pink Floyd, as well as by a lot of soul music, particularly songs like 'Walk On By' by Isaac Hayes.”
From his latest album, he played “Light”, “Hard To Say Goodbye”, “Hero” and “Solid Ground”.
The album “Kiwanuka” was released in 2019. The album won the Mercury Prize 2020. It was the third time in his career he had been nominated following nominations for Home Again and Love & Hate but the first time he had won. The album reached No. 2 on the UK Albums.
- Michael Kiwanuka explained about four songs to Apple Music.
“I just thought 'Light' was a nice dreamy piece to end the record with—a bit of light at the end of this massive journey. You end on this peaceful note, something positive. For me, light describes loads of things that are good—whether it's obvious things like the light at the end of the tunnel or just a light feeling in my heart. The idea that the day's coming—such a peaceful, exciting thing. We're just always looking for it.”
“Hard to Say Goodbye”
“This is my love of Isaac Hayes and big orchestrations, lush strings, people like David Axelrod. Flo actually brought in this sample from a Nat King Cole song, just one chord, and we pitched it around, and then we replayed it with a 20-piece string orchestra packed into the studio. We had a double-bass cello, the whole works, and this really good piano player Kadeem [Clarke] who plays with Little Simz, and our friend Nathan [Allen] playing drums. That was pretty fun.”
“'Hero' was the hardest to come up with lyrics for. We had the music and melody for, like, two years. Any time I tried to touch it, I hated it—I couldn't come up with anything. Then I was reading about Fred Hampton from the Black Panthers and I started thinking about all these people that get killed—or, like Hendrix, die an accidental death—who have so much to give or do so much in such a small time. I also love the thing where all these legends, Bowie and Bob Dylan, were creating larger-than-life personas that we were obsessed with. You didn't really know who they were. That really made me sad, because I don't disagree with it, but I know that's not me. So, 'Am I a hero?' was also asking, 'If I do that stuff, will I become this big artist that everyone respects?'—that 'I'm not enough' thing.”
“When everything gets stripped away—all the strings, all the sounds, all the interludes—I'm still just a dude that sits and plays a song on a guitar or piano. I felt like the album needed a glimpse of that. Rosie did a beautiful arrangement and then I finished it off—everyone was out somewhere, so I just played all the instruments, apart from drums and things like that. So, 'Solid Ground' is my little piece that I had from another place. Lyrically, it's about finding the place where you feel comfortable.”
- source : NPR