As you’d expect from a founding member of studious classical-electro outfit Clean Bandit, British-Ugandan vocalist/rapper Love Ssega certainly isn’t short on brainpower.
Born and raised in South London, the 24-year-old graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, then made the brave decision to quit the aforementioned Grammy winners to finish his Ph.D. in laser sensing.
Love Ssega (real name Ssegawa-Ssekintu Kiwanuka) is just as cultured as he is intelligent, having starred in productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Philip Glass’ In the Penal Colony as a member of the Shadwell Opera company.
But having completed his studies, the South Londoner is now looking to resume his pop career as a solo artist, although last month’s debut E.P. Pray for Love suggests that Ssega isn’t interested in treading the same path as his former bandmates. Indeed, eschewing the 8-bit bleeps, electronic beats and sweeping strings that defined his two Clean Bandit recordings (“Telephone Banking,” “Mozart’s House”), Ssega’s own material is all about the funk.
The title track lead single is a groove-laden affair filled with slinky Nile Rodgers-esque guitar riffs and space-age synths. Showcasing his skills as an MC, “Minds” is a vibrant summer jam which recalls the 80s New Wave of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, while anyone impatient for the impending LCD Soundsystem reunion could do far worse than check out the propulsive indie-disco of “Too Far.”
Love Ssega, who has already performed at Glastonbury and with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra as part of Clean Bandit, is planning to head out on the road for his first solo tour later this year, with a debut album expected to follow. The laser sensing field’s loss, therefore, looks set to be the music industry’s gain.