In the late 90s, it seemed music was at an evolutionary and creative peak. Genres ranging from rock to hip hop had received drastic makeovers thanks to the likes of Nirvana, Notorious B.I.G amongst myriad others.
Another genre was steeped in tradition and, whilst its hallmarks were and still are heard almost everywhere, soul music’s dominance remained with its forefathers. But then, with the release of D’angelo’s Brown Sugar and his trailblazing Voodoo, a new generation of artists was born.
The modern incarnation of neo soul was birthed forth and moulded by the likes of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Maxwell and so many others. Honey-dipped soul was poured across lazy hip-hop beats and savvy jazz harmonies to create what is genuinely some of the coolest music of all time.
Naturally, Australia’s eclectic musical landscape was the perfect place for this kind of music to bloom and today there are more and more neo soul artists rising through the ranks of the pop music elite. Here are a few that we are absolutely digging at the moment:
Australia is a sea of talent when it comes to the future of soul music in pop. Here are 5 neo soul artists we are absolutely digging at the moment.
There aren’t many artists that can epitomise neo soul quite like Jordan Rakei. The Brisbane born multi-instrumentalist has a candy sweet voice to match his ice-cold beats, not to mention some powerful lyricism. The release of Rakei’s first full length LP, Cloak this year saw his artistry and incredible grasp of the subtle brilliance of neo soul on full display.
Hailing from what could fairly be dubbed our neo soul capital, Melbournites Mihra are spinning their own web of soulful grooves with that all important jazz twist that becomes increasingly evident in the band’s ever-maturing sound. Currently in the studio laying down a brand new LP, the four piece are blessing the world with a hot chocolate blend of gorgeous soul vibes with the ever important modernity of the genre. Mihra are evolving the soul landscape before our eyes.
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The Do Yo Thangs
As if Melbourne could get any smoother, The Do Yo Thangs are as silky as your mother’s dressing gown and way more stanky. The seven-piece bring a refined take on soul, paying homage to the greats with their subtle grooves but drawing inspiration from modern day stimulus. Their recent music video, One Plus One could just be the most feel good thing to have ever happened in Aussie music.
One does not simply speak on the future of soul music without mentioning the enigmatic Ngaiire. The Papua New Guinea-born adoptee of our music hungry country has been on our radar for quite some time but it wasn’t until the release of her LP, Blastoma this year that we were able to fully recognise the scope of her genius. Her vocals rival some of our most revered divas yet, her creative innovation takes the fore in this new chapter in her career.
The searing spice of Portugese heritage is sprinkled generously over the Aussie-raised Inês and her unique take on neo-soul. The songstress’ take on the genre is as gentle and refined as it is raw and sensual. Smoky vibrato vocals and organic instrumentation combine beautifully with a fresh and enticing songwriting approach. Soul is in safe hands in Australia.