Michael Kiwanuka reveals what he learnt from supporting Adele

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 26 March 2021
Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka has Adele to thank for showing him you don't need to be confident and extroverted to be a good performer

Michael Kiwanuka says Adele showed him you can be "shy" and still "sound good" on stage.

The Mercury Prize-winner was a support act for the 'Hello' hitmaker when he started out in 2011, and he's explained how each night he would witness the 32-year-old megastar – who has previously opened up about suffering from stage fright – go into her "own place" and sing from the heart.

Speaking on the highlights show of the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival on BBC Four tonight (26.03.21), Michael recalls: "The first gig was in Oslo. I walked in from our Vauxhall Zafira car, acoustic guitars on our backs, and she’s singing 'Rolling In The Deep'. You can hear it coming through the walls and you’re like, 'I’ve got to go on!' "It was scary, but amazing because I’d watch the whole set every night and I learnt that she would sort of go to her own place. She really sang from her heart. And I thought, 'OK, you can be shy and still sound good.'"

Despite his success, the 33-year-old singer-songwriter previously admitted he suffers from impostor syndrome and can find it "suffocating" at times.

The 'Cold Little Heart' singer's anxieties stem from the pressure to live up to "high standards" and finding his "Identity" and space alongside his peers.

He explained: "I guess it's about identity, fitting in and finding the confidence to enjoy it.

"I always use football analogies. I'm a big Spurs fan. Dele Alli has been struggling but last Sunday he scored and for ten minutes he was back to his old self, with that confidence and we saw him again.

"I've just had to get used to feeling right about my part in music, as there are high standards wherever I go.

"Sometimes I find it suffocating and I find everything nerve-wracking and wonder if I am good enough or if I can keep up."It's like imposter syndrome. It's the same self-doubt or not fitting in that I've had all my life."

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