The English singer and guitarist with Ugandan roots took his time. But now Michael Kiwanuka has finished his third studio work. On 25 October the album with the simple title "Kiwanuka" is released. With eclipsed, the 32-year-old artist spoke about creativity in difficult times and the search for oneself.
"Kiwanuka" is an album in the style of the 1970s, the decade to which Michael Kiwanuka feels especially connected as a musician. It delivers songs that are subordinate to a basic idea. Kiwanukas "epic", timeless sound captures the past and at the same time points to the future. One notices on the album that Michael Kiwanuka is an artist who thinks about the connections between music and society.
eclipsed: Your album describes a place of peace and beauty. How did this place come about?
Michael Kiwanuka: I gave my dreams free rein to create a place where you can escape. It's always been music for me. You put on an album, put on your headphones, and the music takes you for 45 minutes into another world from which you may never come out again. If you go to school or work, you can take this world with you. Exactly such a record, which evokes images and feelings from beginning to end without being torn out in between, I wanted to make. Reality is often tedious, but music can generally help you get through the day. But that's only possible if you don't forget how to dream. I also want to be pulled out of reality when making music. I follow the sounds I feel and dream. That's a privilege.
eclipsed: How do you approach your dreams?
Kiwanuka: I'm not an individualist, I'm a cooperationist. When people come together, something great always happens. But I also think it's important to highlight our differences. If my elbow tried to replace my head, my body would no longer function. It's the same with music. With other people who share your vision, you can find out what works and what doesn't. One idea fertilizes the other, and the result is a whole. Art is so important because it reflects human creativity. And for that, we have to come together. With a good team, you can do anything. I like comparisons from the world of football: One player is a right-footed player, another a left-footed player, one is more interested in storming, the other in defending. But if everyone accepts himself and does what he can, the team is unbeatable.
eclipsed: Do hard times produce good music?
Kiwanuka: Definitely. Jay-Z once said it's hard to make good music when you're successful. The fight gives you the strength to write good lyrics, drive into the studio early at four and bring your own speakers. When you have problems, you do many things that you wouldn't do if you were well. They lead to a certain urgency. And if society is not doing well, many people feel the need to fight it. That's quite remarkable. We all want to have a good life.