Soul music often gets associated with love, but this genre is much more diverse than that. From social injustice to religious salvation, great soul songs can speak to many different emotions and topics.
This collection offers some of the finest soul music mixes – from classic R&B and jazz, hip-hop and funk. No matter your mood or style, you’re sure to find a tune here that perfectly expresses it!
What is Soul Music?
Soul music originated in the 1950s and was heavily influenced by both gospel and blues music. It’s characterized by skilled musicians playing big-band gospel-style pieces with powerful improvisatory vocals that vary depending on who performs it and what instrumentation is used. Soul can range from raspy to sweet depending on who’s performing it and the artist used.
Soul music traces its roots back to the civil rights movement. Artists often included spiritual themes into their songs and used music as a vehicle to promote social causes. Throughout the 20th century, soul music became ubiquitous at protests, rallies, and meetings.
Soul music had a lasting influence on jazz and R&B music, as well as inspiring other genres like disco and hip-hop.
Soul music began to gain mainstream acceptance in the United States during the 1950s, thanks to artists such as Ray Charles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and James Brown.
Soul music was produced by several record companies, such as Atlantic Records in New York City, Motown Records in Detroit, and Stax/Volt Records in Memphis. These three labels made soul music immensely popular and an integral part of American culture.
Soul music evolved from gospel and rhythm and blues influences, but eventually became less religious and more secular. White artists such as Elvis Presley popularized it by adapting it to suit his audience’s tastes.
Listening to music can be relaxing in any environment, but it is especially helpful and soothing for those suffering from stress or anxiety. Not only does it help lower blood pressure and promote sleep, but it also boosts mental focus and immune function.
Soul music icons like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder have created timeless classic hits that remain popular today.
Soul music is distinguished by the use of large horn sections (trumpets, saxophones and trombones) as well as organs. It has been said that listening to soul music can improve your mood and reduce stress levels.
Soul Music Styles
Soul music is an American genre of rhythm and blues that evolved during the 1950s. It combines gospel music with R&B elements for distinctive lyrical themes as well as its emphasis on dancing and body movement that set it apart from other popular music genres.
Soul music was a major genre for African Americans and other people of color during the 1960s and ’70s, spearheaded by artists such as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder.
The genre draws heavily from gospel music, featuring choral arrangements and layered vocals. Additionally, it incorporates hand clapping rhythms as well as call-and-response segments.
Soul music originated in the South, but has since spread northward. Northern soul music has had an enormous impact on British rock and jazz musicians as well as many electronic music artists.
One subgenre of soul music known as hypersoul emphasizes technology, materialism, heightened sexuality and sensationalism in its rhythm and lyricism. This style has been likened to disco or funk music.
It is also distinguished by an improvement in vocal quality and techniques. You can see its influence in various styles of alternative R&B and hip-hop.
In the 1990s, neo soul music emerged, which blended elements of modern hip-hop into its sound. Today, many contemporary neo soul artists combine alternative R&B with rap and hip-hop to create unique sounds.
One of the most beloved neo soul artists is Solange, who released songs that addressed issues like depression and heartbreak. Other prominent neo soul artists include Frank Ocean and Anderson.Oak who have also made a name for themselves by keeping this music tradition alive.
Memphis soul is a distinctive genre of soul music created in Memphis during the mid-1960s and early 1970s by musicians on Stax and Hi labels. It features melancholic yet melodic horns, organs, bass guitar and drums for an uptempo rhythmic groove.
Stax label produced some of the greatest soul recordings, such as Otis Redding’s “Respect” and Wilson Pickett’s “The Love You Save.” Other Stax artists included Percy Sledge, Isaac Hayes and Joe Tex.
Soul Music Artists
Soul music artists come in a wide variety, making it difficult to decide which ones should be included on a mixtape. But they all share something essential: their incredible talent and capacity for touching people’s hearts around the world.
Since its founding, the genre has been an integral part of African American culture and history. It has inspired countless musicians and played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement as well.
In the 1950s, gospel inspiration combined with rhythm and blues influences to form soul music. This unique combination created a genre that would endure for decades to come.
As the genre developed, it spawned multiple subgenres and offshoots. One such offshoot is brown-eyed soul – a style rooted in cultural mix. Artists typically sing in English but may speak Spanish or other languages as well.
Another popular subgenre of quiet storm soul is quiet storm jazz, featuring a soft and melodic sound with relaxed tempos. This style often pairs well with jazz or adult contemporary genres. Popular examples of this type are Cameo and Lakeside but you may also come across it on many other funk albums.
The 1960s saw the emergence of soul music, as many recordings crossed over into popular pop charts across America and Britain. Additionally, artists developed more diverse soundscapes with funk, psychedelic and other styles becoming staples within this beloved genre.
In the 1970s, soul music took on an even more political tone as artists such as Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye released album-length statements with strong social messages. These artists used music to gain recognition during a time when blacks were still underrepresented in media and politics.
Soul music has many prominent and influential artists, but Sam and Dave, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, The Jackson 5 and Aretha Franklin stand out. Each has their own distinct voice that draws people in while making them dance and feel happy.
Soul Music Mixes
Soul music mixes are an excellent way to unwind and explore new music. You can find many types of mixes online, all carefully curated by professional musicians with high quality production values. Some even feature accompanying video accompaniment.
Soul music mixes have become increasingly popular over the years, often featuring clever mashups of popular songs. These clever compositions often come complete with videos that breathe life into the songs and live performances from talented artists – an excellent opportunity to observe how popular songs have been interpreted differently over time.
Another popular type of soul music mix is a mashup of instrumentals. These are usually performed by an experienced group such as a band, quartet or quintet. These mashups may include various instruments like drums, piano, organ, guitar or bass and more for added variety and impact.
The best mashups are often performed by artists from diverse backgrounds. This is an excellent opportunity to experience music from around the world without ever leaving your house. Who knows, you might even discover some new favorite tunes that weren’t previously popular!
A great mashup should include songs with various tempos. This is typically preferable to playing all one song simultaneously, as it allows listeners to appreciate all of its subtleties that make each track special.