(BLACK PR WIRE) – Many people are tapping their feet and grooving to the beat of a new kind of soul ... Neo Soul, a musical genre that combines R&B, 1970s style soul, hip hop, and jazz. With so many different styles of music infused into one, who could blame them?
Let’s go back to the beginning. Neo soul came to life in the mid 1990's, originating from such classic groups as Mint Condition and the now dismembered Tony Toni Tone. According to www.wikipedia.org, however, the term began to surface much earlier after the release of singer Joi’s debut album, Pendulum Vibe, which included elements of early 70s style arrangements with Rock style elements. It resurfaced with D’Angelo’s 1995 album, Brown Sugar, inspired by such artists as Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway.
In 1997, Motown artist Erykah Badu released her debut album, Baduizm. This album was so successful that it prompted Motown chief Kedar Massenburg to shift the direction of the company’s musical output towards Badu’s style, which he dubbed neo-soul. The first neo-soul artist to make a major impact on the mainstream was Lauryn Hill, whose 1998 album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was a dynamic smash that generated five Grammy Awards.
After Lauryn Hill’s enormous success, a number of other neo-soul artists began scoring R&B hits including Macy Gray, Angie Stone, Musiq Soulchild and India.Arie. Similar in popularity to the Miseducation-like smash, Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor album won several Grammies, further popularizing the sound (www.wikipedia.org).
Other major neo soul artists have included Lucy Pearl, Floetry, Glenn Lewis, Res, Truth Hurts, Bilal, Maxwell, Jill Scott, and most recently, John Legend, whose style is similar to that of Stevie Wonder.
Although Neo soul is still very much an underground term used for these artists, the emergence of such great performers will ensure that the visibility of this music grows stronger and stronger. Then we will see even more people tapping their feet and grooving to the beat of this new kind of soul.