Soul Music in the UK

UK artists were able to achieve stardom within this genre due to its emotive approach, such as Sade Adu becoming a worldwide success with her emotional approach and songs such as ‘Butterflies’.

Neo soul music achieved incredible popularity in the US but faced greater obstacles when attempting to take hold in Britain – however thanks to pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and tastemakers such as Paul Woolford it managed to thrive nonetheless.

Joss Stone

Joss Stone of Britain brings powerful vocals that soar over tracks with strings and brass for an emotional moment that cannot be rivaled. Her sound also draws influence from various genres including reggae and world music to produce an impressive catalog.

She may have come late to the British soul scene, but her success in the 2000s signaled a new era for British soul. Her self-titled debut album hit No 1 on the charts in 2003 before she made history with 2004’s Mind Body & Soul as she became the youngest female artist ever to top the UK albums chart.

Soul became something to celebrate in an era of post-race tension and political change. Contrasting with the blaxploitation bands of the Seventies, multiracial acts such as Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai brought soul into mainstream society through funky grooves reminiscent of Stevie Wonder and Roy Ayers, creating a soul-funk sound that captured hearts across America.

These groups introduced British youngsters to American soul music through cover versions of US records by UK artists as well as through their own compositions. Curtis Mayfield’s socially conscious music focused on injustice and poverty issues through hits like Keep on Pushing and People Get Ready.

Kenny Gamble crafted lush arrangements of Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, the Delfonics, and O’Jays performed by Kenny Gamble under his auspices in the US; Allen Toussaint introduced more of a boogie-woogie style into South music through rolling piano chords and honking sax. This sound would eventually inspire later artists like Jill Scott’s Neo Soul music.

Corinne Bailey Rae

Soul music has provided many UK artists of color with an avenue for mainstream success in an industry where they have struggled. Young Brits first became exposed to soul through cover versions of American recordings by British groups and singers like Lulu (UK), Cilla Black (UK) and The Moody Blues (UK) such as Lulu with “Shout!” by Isley Brothers; Cilla Black with “Anyone Who Had a Heart” (US Dionne Warwick); and The Moody Blues with “Go Now” by US Nina Simone).

Corinne Bailey Rae made headlines around the world after the release of her eponymous debut album in February 2006, earning both a Brits Award and Grammy nomination as well as garnering her worldwide praise. Comparable musical icons to whom Corinne has been likened include Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill and Macy Gray but she insists her own unique vocal sound sets her music apart.

Leeds-born artist Rae, with dual citizenship between Britain and the US, grew up listening to various genres of music. As a teenager she formed indie rock group Helen, performing extensively across local music scenes before their bassist became pregnant and the group disbanded; during this time Rae began writing material that took a more “soulful” approach – something she continues to work on today.

She started playing low-key club gigs and quickly established a close bond with her audience. Additionally, in the studio she’s created an intimacy that’s evident on The Sea: an emotional yet soulful record full of raw emotion and intimate beauty.

The album addresses misogyny, intolerance and violence while offering a thrilling declaration of independence that sounds as fresh and fearless as its name. She refers to it as “a soulful soundscape of liberation”, which we discussed at length at our Observer offices last week along with underage gigging, Kurt Cobain and Billie Holiday.

Frank Wilson

Otis Redding and Sam & Dave made history during the 1960s when their soul music reached new levels of popular appeal, through raw emotionalism that transcended cultural barriers and race divisions. This revolution marked an important turning point in American pop culture development.

Soul music first made its mark on US audiences through black artists who found its receptivity more responsive than pop or rhythm and blues genres. Soul grew immensely popular alongside the Civil Rights movement, reaching wide audiences of hopeful young Americans with its lyrics and melodies. Musicians in this genre could often sing, write lyrics for songs they produced as well as dance for performances – an impressive talent set that included multitasking soul musicians who could sing, produce tracks as well as dance!

Detroit and Philadelphia producers developed distinct styles. Eddie Kendricks at Motown produced soul hits for The Supremes and The Temptations that set off disco. Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble of Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble’s Blue Notes, Delfonics, O’Jays were enveloped by strings and pointed brass; today this style can still be heard in Jill Scott’s neo soul music. Meanwhile in New Orleans Allen Toussaint’s boogie-woogie approach inspired Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, and Benny Spellman to record hit after hit after hit song after hit song after hit song after hit after smash hit after another.

Soul was originally used to refer to the musical style of African-American artists; however, over time it has come to mean all American soul music scenes. Funk, R’n’B and disco all have offshoots within soul music culture; more recently Brooklyn’s Daptone Records and Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Nashville Studio have revitalized early soul sounds that date back over 50 years ago; furthermore Northern soul’s influence can still be heard today in club music, hip hop culture as well as Turner Prize winning art by Mark Leckey!

Gloria Jones

Gloria Jones first gained recognition through church gospel choir singing, where her powerful voice could harmonize with other singers’. When Motown founder Pam Sawyer heard this talent it wasn’t hard for him to recognize it and hire Gloria as one of their song writers for artists such as Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross among many more – Gloria wrote 17 songs under her pseudonym LaVerne Ware on Motown labels alone!

One such song was Tainted Love, originally released on a 1964 album by Jones but made famous by British synthpop duo Soft Cell in 1981 as part of their hit-making spree; since then it has become a classic Northern Soul tune.

At that time, soul music was both popular among black audiences and white ones alike – such as James Brown’s earthy funk or Percy Sledge and Otis Redding’s hits such as (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay by Percy Sledge.

The Beatles injected soul music with blues and rock elements. Other artists during this era include Etta James (who boasted an exquisite voice) and Little Richard, known for his uncompromising style – who became known as “The King of Rock and Roll”).

Though soul music’s influence on other types of music has been profound, its popularity has fallen off in recent years. However, new generation artists such as Nao, Michael Kiwanuka and Lianne La Havas are demonstrating its timeless qualities while mixing it with jazz and R&B influences; hopefully inspiring other musicians to revisit this beloved genre of music.

Soul II Soul

Soul II Soul was an early pioneer of London’s flourishing dance scene in the late ’80s. Their seductive blend of deep R&B – drawing influence from Philly soul, disco, reggae and hip-hop – gave rise to an enduring musical movement led by producer DJ and songwriter Jazzie B. Beginning as an alternative sound system run by Jazzie and friend Philip Daddae with their sister, their sound system eventually garnered them an invite at London’s Africa Centre and ultimately record labels were keen on signing them up as members.

Trevor Beresford Romeo (DJ Jazzie B) from Hornsey developed his DJ craft while working as a tape op at London’s Nova studios, honing his knowledge in music technology. Later he established Funki Dreds clothing shop and electronics company; later still formed Soul II Soul with vocalist Caron Wheeler and Rose Windross, drummer Phil Collins and keyboardist Doreen Waddell to produce street-level ska and reggae inspired sounds with DIY punk influences that resonated within their west London community. Using special bespoke mixing desks and equipment, they created sounds which fused elements of ska and reggae genres with street culture to produce sounds which had street-level influences while still adhering to DIY punk principles of DIY punk culture of west London communities.

By 1989, they had become household names thanks to chart-topping singles such as Keep On Movin’ and Back To Life, quickly becoming household names with millions of fans worldwide. Within 10 years, they became cultural icons, receiving an OBE and two Grammy awards as well as being one of the first British Black groups to find major success in America.

Their legacy lives on today: from funk sensations like Seal and Nao to singer-songwriters such as Michael Kiwanuka and Lianne La Havas, soul remains an influential genre today. So long as new-school soul artists continue to shun typecasting while celebrating independence, the UK soul era will remain an influential influence as music changes in the 21st century.