Year 2003 marked an explosion of soul music worldwide. Established artists like R. Kelly released scorching soul hits; Etta James traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where she recorded some of the decade’s enduring soul anthems; while Jaheim released an exquisite set of love songs on his second album Another Round.
Daptone Records of Brooklyn has become one of the cornerstones of contemporary soul. Notable artists on its roster include Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley; but other talented performers also grace its roster. Since 2010, Daptone acts have released hit albums and even embarked on tours alongside more acclaimed musicians.
Daptone Records was established by Gabriel Roth and Neal Sugarman after Desco was closed, to continue publishing music. They decided to establish this record label so as to continue their musical releases.
Early on, Daptone wasn’t profitable; financing their business through gigs and studio sessions with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Lee Fields, and Antibalas bands while using personal money for rehearsal space rent. Over time though, Daptone began turning a profit but it would take years until its artists could receive payment from Daptone Records.
Daptone musicians developed their craft and explored different genres during the early 2000s, specializing in instrumental Afro-Soul music that combined elements from jazz, reggae and hip hop with classic funk and soul influences. Furthermore, Daptone produced live albums to showcase its artists’ skills onstage.
These albums helped the band gain wider audiences and yielded numerous hits over time. By 2010, this label had emerged at the forefront of a new wave of neoclassic-soul music; only after its completion did other labels like Stones Throw, Warp and Breakestra catch up.
Afro-Soul is one of the fastest-growing genres of modern music, characterized by high-octane beats and infectious grooves. Rooted in traditional forms of African-American spirituality but incorporating contemporary influences like psychedelic rock and electronic dance music. Furthermore, its music often addresses issues pertaining to personal or interpersonal struggles like those experienced by singer Ari Lennox who was signed by J-Cole’s label; her passionate vocals deliver neo-soul with guest spots galore on her album that delivers in spades!
Weapon of Choice
Classic soul songs often revolve around love; however, its best songs also focus on social injustice, religious salvation, or simply letting loose on the dancefloor. No matter its subject matter, great soul music touches you deeply and stays with you even after leaving a club.
As funk and disco became the trend during the 70s, soul music gradually added elements of psychedelic rock as it became more message-based – an example being Marvin Gaye’s iconic What’s Going On album that tackled ongoing race issues and Vietnam. Earth, Wind and Fire was amongst some of the most well-known soul bands at this time.
By the 1980s, soul music began shifting towards quiet storm style; this genre featured slower tempos and soothing melodies influenced by fusion and adult contemporary music; Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin became successful chart performers using this approach.
Ari Lennox’s album Shea Butter Baby showcases the next generation of neo-soul artists who continue to push the envelope of this genre, featuring sensuous passion and captivating R&B tunes accompanied by her high vocal range and flawless runs, making this project truly mesmerizing for ears.
Jhene Aiko’s Souled Out album is an outstanding example of R&B in its quieter moments, offering up powerful yet reflective songs written and performed with emotion by Aiko herself. This project showcases her songwriting prowess as well as her depth as an artist.
One of the defining moments for soul music came in 2001 with the release of Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim and Christopher Walken, directed by Spike Jonze who first made his mark as director with 1999’s Being John Malkovich. Jonze set out with one simple goal in mind for his music video: getting Christopher Walken to showcase his natural tap dancing talents – an idea which proved immensely successful, becoming a classic music video.
Orgone is a Los Angeles band dedicated to creating soulful and sweat-inducing funk and soul music, defying genre with every performance and building an energetic live band reputation. Their touring schedule remains busy while they also act as sought-after backing groups for recording sessions.
Orgone can trace its roots back to the classic funk and soul music of the 1960s and 70s, when an instrumental five-piece played gritty interpretations of Booker T & the MGs, Grant Green and Funkadelic classics. Following a self-released debut album called Cali Fever (2010) which showed their ability to shift seamlessly from West Coast cool to New Orleans grit and Lagos afrobeat without missing a beat – this record earned Orgone one of 2010’s Top Ten Soul/Funk Releases as it made waves with listeners rating them highly! It even made its way onto Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top Ten Soul/Funk Releases List that year!
Orgone have further cemented their place as musical chameleons with 2012’s Reasons, an album which showcases their ability to adapt. Focusing on more psychedelic soul and funk influences this time around, Rios’ Killion Sound studio provided the backdrop for recording this record along with Louisiana soul singer Niki J Crawford to add her vocals for one track on Reasons.
Orgone has an improvisational approach to music that’s clear from their performances, yet remains soulful at its core. They actively support local nonprofits as well as hosting frequent vinyl swap shows at their shows – something which vinyl collectors are loving again thanks to this band’s efforts! They also have an eye out for vinyl collectors by hosting frequent vinyl swap events at shows themselves! Passionate about soul music themselves and hoping to evolve as artists – currently working on an album sure to please fans; catch Orgone this Saturday at Pour House with ticket prices starting at $15 each! Tickets start selling here for more information or purchases or click here if you wish to support Charleston City Paper as an organization by making a donation!
Soul music has long been influenced by an array of artists and musical styles, from Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) and Frank Ocean to Daptone, Weapon of Choice and Orgone bands. Since 2010, an alternative R&B subgenre known as 00 Soul has emerged as part of R&B music – using electronic instruments to produce moody beats with haunting lyrics about depression, addiction and heartbreak. Funk, jazz and hip hop styles also heavily contribute to this genre’s sound; Daptone, Weapon of Choice and Orgone are great examples of this trend!
Traditional R&B has been heavily influenced by Pop music; however, 00 Soul utilizes a more complex production style reminiscent of early Hip-hop and Funk music, including drum machines and synthetic vocal sounds as well as the incorporation of horn sections and bass guitars – often leading to an emotionally powerful result when compared with today’s traditional R&B genre.
Soul music artists were greatly influenced by Gospel, an amalgam of Christian religious music that blends vocals with instrumental arrangements. Gospel began its trendiness in the 1950s; some pioneers included Otis Redding – often called the “King of Soul.” Redding used secularized elements of Gospel such as chord changes, call-and-response singing and various vocal effects (screams, wails, pleads and whispers) in his own material while Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield employed funk rhythms to create unique soundscapes in their compositions that helped define its unique brand of soul music.
Soul music’s influence can be found across a wide spectrum of genres, spanning rock and dance music to country and blues, contemporary R&B (including artists such as Kelela, Janelle Monae, Sampha, Blood Orange and Childish Gambino), contemporary R&B as well as R&B of today. Soul’s legacy can also be heard today; examples include artists such as Kelela Janelle Monae Sampha Blood Orange and Childish Gambino who create modern soul songs inspired by soul’s legacy.
In the 1980s, disco and funk music brought with them new innovations in soul music. Quiet storm soul combined adult contemporary with elements from fusion, soft rock and soft rock; while Neo-Soul blended 1970s soul with hip-hop beats. Artists that performed this genre included Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and Jodeci.