So now it’s officially confirmed by the man himself! After various celebrity sightings in the New Forest, Mayflower Park and Overdraft Craft Ale Bar Shirley, soul man of the moment Michael Kiwanuka dedicated a heartfelt rendition of Home Again to a sold out audience at the O2 Guildhall last night.

Speaking towards the end of his encore he dedicated the 2012 track to his “new home town” of Southampton, before cloaking the crowd in his husky vocals with that sweet song.

It’s Michael’s ability to switch from tender torch song to spiritual funk and with this album soaring psychedelica that makes him unique. But the self-titled Kiwanuka is also the first time he’s really revealed a raw vulnerability - flinging him into the space occupied by Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye at their most exposed. The irony of a man in a literal spotlight asking “am I a hero now?” isn’t lost when it comes from someone so painfully self—aware, and so prepared to ask questions of society and his place in the world. Kiwanuka, his third album, is a world away from the first two. This time round he is socially conscious and soul-searching, demanding listeners to take note of the world around them while he carves out a well-deserved place in the spotlight for himself.

Last night he took the crowd on an immersive journey, segueing from track to track with hardly a minute in between. He was at his best with the stripped back soul-bearing on tracks like Light - when the phenomenal backing singers scorched the stage with their psychedelic vocals. After a stunning entrance with Piano Joint - which bathed the crowd like a heated slanket - spiritual tracks like I’m A Black Man In A White World really delivered, the accapella hand-clap segueing seamlessly into a driving funk that has become Michaels’s signature sound. Love / Hate hypnotised the crowd before they make their way out into the cold dark night.

It was great to see one of the best musicians today playing to a sold out home town crowd - but at times Michaels’s voice was overpowered by the six piece band and he shied away from really connecting with the audience. For someone who has developed a huge following over the course of his last three albums, picking up awards and critical acclaim along the way, Michael maintained a safe distance from his audience last night and left us wanting to connect with a new Southampton hero just that little bit more.