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Michael Kiwanuka returns with haunting new track ‘Beautiful Life’

"What I was trying to emit through the music was a feeling of defiance"

By Nick Reilly

Michael Kiwanuka poses live
Michael Kiwanuka (Picture: Jodie Canwell)

Michael Kiwanuka has returned with the new track ‘Beautiful Life’, marking his first new track since the release of his self-titled, Mercury Prize winning third LP.

The latest track from the soulful North Londoner is taken from the soundtrack of new Netflix documentary ‘Convergence: Courage In A Crisis’ – which charts the work of unsung heroes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It sees Kiwanuka showcasing his soulful vocals once more, while also pairing them with newfound ventures into haunting psychedelic and orchestral sounds.

“In this song I wanted to focus on the feeling that there’s a real strength in the human spirit when you try to look for beauty even in difficult situations,” said Kiwanuka of the track.

“Of course, in some situations that becomes more and more difficult. But I just wanted to ponder on that and wonder what life would be like if I lived it like that.

“Ultimately whatever people feel from hearing the song is ok with me. But what I was trying to emit through the music was a feeling of defiance. A feeling of strength through adversity.”

The latest track from Kiwanuka was recorded in London alongside producer St Francis Hotel. It marks a one-off release but work continues on his anticipated fourth album.

His third album came in the powerful ‘Kiwanuka’, which arrived in 2019 and scooped the 2020 Mercury Prize.

It was confirmed last month that Kiwanuka will headline Green Man Festival 2022, marking the event’s 20th anniversary.

He is also set to hit the road next year for a string of postponed live dates.

“I was so excited to give you Kiwanuka live. Myself and the band had been working hard to put together a live show that reflects how much your love and support means to me,” he said upon announcing the postponement earlier this year.

“However, even though we’ve been receiving some very good news through the vaccine, and we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, I will sadly still have to postpone the planned UK tour.”

He added: “I say this with a heavy heart, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how grateful I will be when we can finally experience the joy of live music again. I cannot wait to see you.”