Bermondsey-born Kwabena Adjepong aka Kwabs has been touted as one to watch for some time. He appeared on the BBC Sound of 2015 list - though this industry accolade was in many respects playing catch-up with the word-of-mouth fan base that had been growing ever since his Youtube cover of James Blake’s The Wilhelm Scream went viral in 2012. Three EPs followed in 2014, each showcasing a different facet of Kwabs’ future soul: the delicacy and light touch of Wrong Or Right, the yearning sweep of Pray For Love and the irresistible hooks of ‘Walk’ which went on to top the German singles chart and dominate radio airplay across Europe. Kwabs released his debut LP Love + War in September 2015 on Atlantic Records and ended the year with the Love + War Tour; culminating in a sold out Roundhouse show in his hometown, London.
“I always had it in my mind that when I wrote my album, I’d write music I could sing from a mountaintop,” explains Kwabs. The open-hearted grandeur of his sound is typified by this approach - amply showcased on Love + War. Full of soaring confessional soul that feels like freedom, it’s a lovingly crafted album that not only meets but exceeds the South London singer’s aims.
“I want to be able to connect to the songs on my own terms - but it’s much bigger and more important for people to hear their story in the songs as well as mine,” he explains and it’s no wonder Kwabs has struck such a chord with people. Since releasing Love + War, he has joined forces with Disclosure to create Willing & Able on their sophomore album Caracal. Maintaining a regular slot in their live show, Kwabs has headlined many stages with the UK duo as part of their Caracal tour. Naturally, the live arena is where Kwabs excels. With another packed summer of festival appearances ahead of him he’s excited about the new things he’s learned to bring to the stage: “Every gig we do we’re getting better and better,” he says. “We try to take it up a notch every chance we get”. It’s clear now that Kwabs is no longer just one to watch - he’s a fully-fledged, soaring talent ready to sing his one-of-a-kind story.