Muswell Hill, North London-raised Michael Kiwanuka fit right into the casual, Nor Cal vibe in the Redwood Cafe with his rootsy, folk-inflected modern soul style. This fortuitous little mini-gig courtesy of KRUSH Radio and the Redwood Cafe followed a previous night's set opening for The Alabama Shakes, at the Fox in Oakland.
Currently touring the U.S. with the Alabama Shakes, this is a first time in the Bay Area and Sonoma County for Kiwanuka. "It's really nice around here," he said. "I'll have to come back for my holidays!" Having previously supported Adele on her 2011 tour, the super talented, grounded and soulful artist seemed every bit at home in the corner of the Redwood Cafe as in a major venue.
Twenty-four-year-old Kiwanuka was influenced as a young musician by Hendrix, Dylan and Redding and his well crafted songs that emerged from an early start as a session guitarist playing the London pub scene, have won him the spotlight of the British music scene. Most recently, Kiwanuka (a son of Ugandan parents who fled the Amin regime), won the coveted BBC's Sound of 2012 Listeners Poll.
His first studio album, Home Again, released in 2012.