You Ain't The Problem

Album: Kiwanuka (2019)
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Songfacts®:

  • This upbeat track was born out of Michael Kiwanuka's feelings of inferiority in an industry that is highly competitive. "If you don't belong, live in the trouble," he defiantly sings.

    Kiwanuka explained to the New York Times that he was thinking about how at festivals he would get self-conscious thinking the other acts were so much more talented than he was. Eventually, he grew tired of beating himself up and started to say to himself, "There's nothing wrong with me. Of course I can work on myself and grow, but enough of this self-deprecating attitude. Let me just enjoy this amazing experience of being an artist, and believe in myself, and keep going."

    So, Kiwankua decided to write a song in which he says, "You're not the problem. I hope to be who I believe in."
  • This was the song that set Michael Kiwanuka on his way to his eponymous album. He explained to The Sun that it became the project's thesis statement. "It took three or four hours before I had something to present to the other guys," Kiwanuka said. "It just felt right, yet I was singing about all the things that make me nervous in the studio. I had all these insecurities that had caused problems before that. That song sounded good and it was fun doing it."

    "It's such a different type of song to what I'd done before and from there, lyrics just flowed and ideas were coming," he added. "Song after song was being completed."
  • Michael Kiwanuka lobs in a lyrical grenade in which he confesses, "I used to hate myself." He told Q Magazine about the lyric. "Well, you definitely exaggerate and saturate things in order to make a point. Yeah, you'd have times like that. But it's not like, every day. You have to be aware of those thoughts. Cos it can take over and that's where it gets dangerous. Music helps because you can get it out of your system. But then the takeaway from that is people ask, you really used to think that?"
  • This was the lead single from Kiwanuka. The album was released to critical acclaim and won the Mercury Prize 2020. The judging panel said: "Classic yet contemporary, drawing on the history of music while remaining an intensely personal work of self-expression, this is an album that will stand the test of time."
  • ITV used this song as the theme music for their UK coverage of the Euro 2020 soccer tournament.

Comments: 1

  • Stephen Vinez from Beaumont Texas UsaGreat song!
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