Michael Kiwanuka is one in a million standing on the threshold of new talent as the next generation Bob Dylan, Curtis May and Van Morrison. Born to Ugandan parents who fled in the 70's, Michael was a regular kid growing up in North London influenced heavily by the likes of Nirvana, Radiohead, Offspring and Blur, but it was only when he discovered that Jimi Hendrix was black that he understood he had a place playing rock guitar.

Originally lacking the confidence to sing his own songs, it was upon the discovery of Bob Dylan and Otis Redding, particularly their phrasing, that spoke to Michael above and beyond anything else he’d previously heard. He just couldn't shake Dylan's power of a well-crafted song, delivered with just urgent vocals and an acoustic guitar.

Michael Kiwanuka performs for MTV PUSH Live at ...

Michael Kiwanuka performs for MTV PUSH Live at ...

Michael Kiwanuka performs for MTV PUSH Live at ...

PUSH - Michael Kiwanuka - Interview

In his teens, he began hanging out with Tiny Tempah collaborator Labrinth at his studio, played contemporary R&B, soul and jazz-funk at small jam sessions, and did some session guitar for the likes of Tottenham rapper Chipmunk.

“It was fun and I learned loads, but I still felt like I didn’t quite fit in. I couldn’t express the side of me that had played in rock bands, or listened to Dylan or Nirvana.”

Tucked quietly in the depths of his house, Kiwanuka set out to express what was churning inside himself.

“No one would give me a gig playing the kind of music I loved, so I had to write my own. It was more to keep my passion in music alive, just something to do to keep my soul warm, you know. It didn’t fit into what was in the charts at the time!”

Luckily, those hidden songs found their way to family, friends and MySpace turning into small gigs and private parties where Paul Butler from The Bees invited him down to the band’s Isle of Wight studios to lay down the foundations for these introductory EPs of rootsy, folk-inflected modern soul.

"I’m Getting Ready", "I Need You By My Side", and "Any Day Will Do Fine" emerged as songs for his debut EP(Autumn 2011) presenting a young songwriter with both a real ear for beautifully affecting music, and a vocal that has the potential to become a timeless entity in its own right.

Since then, Kiwanuka has raised the stakes even more winning accolades not only from media but also as a guest supporting Adele on her U.K. tour plus the coveted honor as winner of the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 poll (previous winners include Jessie J, Florence & The Machine and Ellie Golding).

In January 2012, Kiwanuka released his debut single Home Again. The same titled album will drop March 12, 2012. MTV is proud to support Michael as their February PUSH Artist of the month.

MTV Push Artist of February 2012

Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images

  • Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images

  • Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images

  • Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images

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