London-based neo-soul singer Kwabs went from posting covers on YouTube to a contract with Atlantic in three short years.
Born Kwabena Sarkodee Adjepong in London in 1990, he grew up in Bermondsey in central London, spending part of his childhood in the foster care system. Raised on a combination of soul, electronica, rock, classical and jazz, he was first noticed by his school music teacher, who introduced him to the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, where he was a lead vocalist for three years.
Nonetheless, Kwabs never had any notion of seriously pursuing music as a career until his unadorned YouTube cover of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Like a Star” became a massive viral hit, racking up 100,000 views. He was approached with a management contract, and decided to take music farther. He released a few original songs on YouTube, leading to his being hotly tipped by MTV and BBC radio and securing a deal with Atlantic. On his 2014 debut EP, Wrong or Right, he collaborated with London-born, Vienna-based producer Sohn.
When Kwabs sings, one can say soul pours out. “I always loved soul and gospel, but I thought it would be cool to apply that voice to a different backdrop,” he explains. “I never wanted to do anything that was throwback or backwards-looking.” With a complicated life journey behind him, he has plenty to write about: “Strength of character; making decisions between wrong and right; love….”
The idea of blending traditional, formally honed technique with experimental, forward-thinking beats appealed to Kwabs — particularly in terms of framing the unignorable strength of his voice.
Kwabs has emerged at a time of immense creative fertility in British electronic soul — and has grabbed the attention of some of the scene’s biggest talents: both Emeli Sandé and Jessie Ware have taken to twitter to express their support of him.
We are lucky to welcome him to Munich this Friday, 27h of November.
Doors open: 19:00, Start: 20:00
More information: www.muffatwerk.de