Michael Kiwanuka, A Black Man In A White World

It’s been quiet from Michael Kiwanuka for a while now. His debut album “Home Again” was released back in 2012. Now, 4 years later he is finally back!

The brand new Michael Kiwanuka album “Love & Hate” will be released on the 27th May.


The first track lifted off the forthcoming album is called “Black Man In A White World”.

The song sounds like a long lost 70s classic with its clapping and footstomping, dry funk guitar, strings with jazzy drumming and vibes. Add to this a beautiful black and white music video – and you got a new Michael Kiwanuka classic. Enjoy it here!

Make sure to add “Black Man In A White World” in your favorite playlist on Spotify here: http://po.st/BMIAWWsp


If this song is representative for his second album LOVE will definately conquer HATE!

The Q&A: Kendra Morris´ second coming!

Kendra Morris´ cover of the Chris Isaak classic “Wicked Game” resembles Pink Floyds classic “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and made me fell instantly in love with her soulful sound. I later learned that she also covered the Pink Floyd classic in her Tuesday Cover Project.

To explain the project: Kendra Morris released a brand new cover version every tuesday prior to the release of her debut album “Banshee”, which was released back in August 2012. http://open.spotify.com/album/3LGCVa8VfjZoFFzFBjtvlu

Kendra is a fantastic interprenter of songs, and her covers versions of artists like the aforementioned plus her ballad edit of Metallicas “Ride The Lightning” and more was a positive show-off of Kendra Morris musical taste.


Photo by Taylor Ballantyne
As featured on Kendra Morris facebookpage

I did a blog post – before the release of her debut album – where I shouted out “I have heard the future” and her name is Kendra Morris – if you haven’t read it – you can check the blog post here.

Since her “Banshee” release Kendras cover of Pink Floyds “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” was included in the trailer of the movie “Dead Man Down” – featuring Colin Farrel and Noomi Rapace. Sadly the song is not included in the final soundtrack – but the song made people even more curious about who the singer performing the song in the preview was.

A few weeks back I later read that Kendra Morris has “rewinded” her career – and is going to release a full covers album called “Mockingbird”. I got instant goosebumps all over and it trigged my curioscity so I decided I had to find out more about her brand new project, a little Facebook chatting and a email later I agreed with Kendra Morris to do a little Q&A about the last half year, her future and the forthcoming album:

The cover of the forthcoming Kendra Morris album “Mockingbird”, due out July ´13
Photo by Marc McAndrews

But first I had to hear how her life has been since the release of “Banshee”;

Now that your album has been out for half a year aprox has you life changed somehow?

-There has been a great overall response to “Banshee” and I think one thing that has changed is my confidence as a singer and a songwriter has grown.
-When I wrote “Banshee” I was going through some major growth spurts and was feeling really vulnerable putting all those buried feelings to paper and melody – as an artist – there is a certain amount of ego involved and what a scary thing to tell a bunch of people your inner most feelings and have them staring at your insides. Its like being at a doctors office when you’re nervous that the doctor isn’t going to like what he finds. But then you realize that it’s you!!! And there is nothing at all wrong with doing you. How can you go wrong if you’re being honest?

Your fab cover of the Pink Floyd classic “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” on the trailer to “Dead Man Down” movie, a movie starring Colin Farrel and Noomi Rapace to name a few – has this been like a door opener for you?

-Having “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” as the song on the trailer for “Dead Man Down” opened a lot of doors. The biggest one being a door to so many new fans. I’ve had countless people send me messages and post on youtube about how they heard the song and then looked up “Banshee” and dug into all of the Kendra Morris catalogue.

I loved the Tuesday Cover Project (see above); And your debut album and you now has a spanking new cover album forthcoming; What songs can we expect this time? Could you tell me more about the album, or do you wish to keep it secret until the final release?

-I want to keep the songs on the album a bit of a mystery but I can tell you that they go all over the place.. a couple old soul classics, a few from some classic rock and roll icons, some 90’s favorites.. thats all i’m gonna tell you 🙂 You can expect another duet with my buddy Godforbid from the band That Handsome Devil as well. We did the J Lo /JaRule cover of I’m Real together during last augusts cover series.
-“Mockingbird” is going to have some nice surprises. I can tell you that much.

From the choice of covers versions you seem to have a eclectic and amazing musical taste, who would you name your major musical influence?

-My influences really do go all over the place. I think one of the major things that have always drawn me into the music I listen to is the backbone of a great song. A great song has no genre at the end of the day – it can be spun into anything. A great song can be sung acapella and have the same effect on a listener as it would have with an entire orchestra behind it.

Kendra Morris Art

Excerpts off Kendra Morris coverart and more.
See more of her art on her blog here and in her shop here

You seem to be a multitalent and your homemade album collages and albums coverart is amazing and fits like a hand in a glove to your music, do you always make the album art yourself?

-Thank you! I actually didn’t do the sleeve for “Banshee”. Freddy Anzures did that one but it was so great how he went after my all of my influences and used examples from the collages that I have done to create the poster.
-All of the collages on my website and on most of my show posters though are done by me. I’ve been doing them for a few years now. I feel like it really does go hand in hand with my music because when I create a song or a collage it’s layer upon layer of things that inspire me whether it be melodies, images.Things to create a world and a story whether for the listener or a viiewer. I think art doesn´t have any boundaries. It’s all levels of yourself and self expression that you tap into. When I do a collage I feel like it somehow inspires the next song and when I write a song I feel like it nods to the next collage. I am always my most content when creating.

If you could work with any artist – dead or alive – who would you love to collaborate with?

-Hmmm… I don´t know!!!!! I have so many heroes!!!!
-I’d love to go visit Phil Spector in prison and bring some recording equiptment for him and write a song together… -We’d call it; ‘The Trouble With Guns.’

And my cliché question: What´s your all time favorite album(s)?

-Eeekkkk… I honestly couldn’t tell you my all time favorite album. It changes day to day with my mood. I just bought a new record player the other day and can’t stop buying vinyl and blaring my new finds with the windows open. Today I’m listening to Buddy Holly “Greatest Hits” and Barrington Levy “Bounty Hunter”. But tomorrow might be a Thin Lizzy kind of afternoon.

And with that – I wish to thank Kendra Morris for her great answers and must admit I´m still curious about what cover songs Kendra are gonna surprise us with on “Mockingbird”.

I should guess; With Kendras musical taste – there will be a lot of great surprises!

James Blake not overgrown, but has grown!

James Blakes selftitled debut is without doubt a strong debut album, and a modern classic.

His experimental neo-dubstep on that album, was full of James Blakes creative production, mostly snippets of his soulful voice. At times it was to experimental for me. And too little focused and lacking structure. A collection of songs rather than a complete album.


Now that his second album is here, I have to admit I was a bit excited and sceptic if he managed to outdo his first album.

The first single “Retrograde” showed a “new” James Blake. He sounded less experimenal and more laid back. The production was softer, James Blake focused more on his vocals – he dared to be a vocalist, an singer songwriter. James Blake is not only a producer, a songwriter, arranger – but he´s also a extraordinary vocalist. With a voice that sounds like a cross between Talk Talks Mark Hollis, Antony & The Johnsons Antony Hegarty and the norwegian singer songwriter Thomas Dybdahl. Warm, soulful – smooth!

With his second album, James Blake have grown up, but not outgrown himself.

The production is better, he has written songs this time – almost all songs have full lyrics and a structure instead of snippets of looped vocals like on the debutalbum. If Blake had tried to outdo the debut album – make an even more experimental – make a James Blake pt II, I am afraid he would have tried to hard.

Instead he has mellowed the production, and he looks back. I can hear traces of trip hop here. Artists like Massive Attack, Tricky and even Björk seems to be inspiration, he even flirts with the dancefloor here and there.

Second track and third track “I Am Sold” and “Life Round Here” both tracks makes me think how Massive Attack around “Protection” would sound with James Blake as guest vocalist. The only guest artists is vocalist from Wu-Tang/Gravediggaz member and actor/screenwriter/director RZA who raps in english (instead of american) on “Take A Fall For Me” a song that sounds more like Tricky – than Tricky himself has done for years.

Skip forward to the Brian Eno produced “Digital Lion” where James Blake does a track that sounds like a update on Björks “Hyper Ballad” mixed with Plastikmans “Spastik”.

If you want to dance, the club-friendly beats of french sounding song titled “Voyeur” is the track to seek. And when he let the beats pump out of the stereo for the last minute it´s almost like James Blake asks for the track to be included on a DJ-mix album. I would love to hear someone do a fat clubmix of this track!


Have you noticed war siren sound on several of the tracks? It seems to be part of a concept on this album. The sound is incorporeted at the end of a majority of the tracks: The one finger push on one button on the synth, and held down/looped and/or timestreched for the next minute or so. Until the end of the song (see i.e. “Retrograde” for a perfect example). If there is a soundconcept on the album, this sound is!

James Blakes Top 5 most popular songs according to Spotify is

  1. “Retrograde” off “Overgrown” album,
  2. “Limit To Your Love” the beautiful Feist cover from “James Blake”
  3. “CMYK”
  4. “A Case Of You” his wonderful version of the Joni Mitchell classic
  5. “The Willhelm Scream” off James Blake

You can listen to “James Blake” and “Overgrown” here, if you use Spotify If you want to buy the albums, click here to download through iTunes

If his two cover versions of “Limit To Your Love” and “A Case Of You” is what you love about James Blake and is the sounds you love from him. I promise you you would love the whole “Overgrown” album. Some reviewers has called the album to slow, and if i should agree with that I would say the album is a slowburner. But let it sink in. It comes to you slowly – and when it hits you – you´re stuck!

Where James Blakes debut lacked a red thread is his second album lighter and more accessable, not only for the hipsters, but for all lovers of great music!

James Blake Overgrown Yes! And he’s still growing, just like this album is doing!