Releasing a series of “raw demos” in 2015, it is fair to say that British singer songwriter Michael Kilbey has stirred up a real fervour of support, which has grown into the thousands. It has been rich support which has helped propel him to the main stage of London’s biggest outdoor music festival as winner of Play On Blackheath and finance the recording of debut EP I Was Waiting, which now sees its title track released as Kilbey’s first official single.
Not that he had been a complete stranger to attention and success before then, Kilbey as an eighteen year old part of The Franks, a young band which was short-listed as finalists in Glastonbury’s prestigious UK-wide Emerging Talent Competition and subsequently played the BBC Introducing Stage. The band’s demise saw Hertfordshire born Kilbey begin working on his writing and solo career, those demos sparking the journey to the new single.
Since emerging, he has drawn references to the likes of early Coldplay, Radiohead, Elbow, and Bastille. As 'I Was Waiting' quickly reveals though, his sound has its own individual character, the song a melancholic embrace and romance around his great gravel lined yet harmonically vibrant tones. As it saunters through ears into the imagination, there is a nostalgic new wave almost post punk gothic scent to the song amid a drama accentuated by stringed intimation and his vocal captivation which is added to by the fleeting but potent kisses of female vocals.
Drawing thoughts and appetite closer to its reflective heart, one escaping an unhealthy relationship with misgivings and relief, the song is almost siren like in its lure and captivation, and open reason why Kilbey has enticed so many to his music.
Photography by Amanda Allotey, Kat Ciemega and Nigel Rumsey