Born and raised in Bermondsey, Kwabena Adjepong’s musical education was a wide-ranging one. He studied blues at school and listened to everything from classic soul – Aretha Franklin, Donnie Hathaway – to alternative rock (The Strokes) and innovative electro-pop (Hot Chip). But it was the rhythms and improvisational scope of jazz that Kwabs gravitated towards.
Remarkably for a kid from a South London comprehensive whose childhood had been spent in and out of state care, he won a place at the Royal Academy of Music, one of the most prestigious hothouses of young musical talent in the world.
He made it to the longlist of BBC’s Sound of 2015, praising his sweet soulfoul vocals, atmospheric synths and gigantic hooks. “He possesses a voice to be reckoned with, a deep baritone vocal that rumbles and reverberates, an instrument of both power and vulnerability.”