Michael Kiwanuka

The self-possessed singer on the importance of vulnerability.

When Michael Kiwanuka decided to pursue music professionally, he thought that would mean becoming a teacher or a session musician. Instead, the British artist has released two albums and been nominated for a Mercury Prize twice. Listening to his songs, it is clear why so many people identify with the music of this unassuming 32-year-old: There is a sense of honesty and passion in every soaring note.

For Kiwanuka, however, creating music is about more than just the final product. It’s about “being true to who you are,” he says. It’s also about sharing with his audience in a way that goes deeper than albums and Instagram posts, which is why he released the short documentary Out Loud! last year, giving a glimpse into his life on tour and in live performances. “I just wanted to s...

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