If you’ve ever fought to pursue your dreams despite pressure from family or society, Yola’s inspiring story will resonate with you. Raised by a single mother in Bristol, UK, the guitarist and singer-songwriter fell in love with music at a young age, but her mother discouraged her from pursuing it as a career because it […]
I’ve long admired Chicago indie label Star Creature Universal Vibrations for its efforts to push the synth-heavy sounds of boogie and modern funk and bolster the international underground community that loves them. The label focuses on contemporary artists and releases, but it also maintains an indispensable archival project in the form of its ongoing Chicago […]
Chicago producer, rapper, and singer Ikechi Chijiuba Ihemeson, aka ’Kechi, performs as though his entire life has led up to the moment he steps to the mike. He started recording his new full-length, ’Kechi Tunez (Ojuba Music), in 2020, though he traces the album’s roots back to a year he spent in Africa a decade […]
Eddie Thomas was one of Chicago’s greatest music promoters, and he might’ve been the most humble. While his name is linked in more ways than one to Curtis Mayfield’s, throughout the 1960s and 1970s he guided myriad R&B and disco artists through the process of making records and getting them played. When I talked to […]
Jackie Ross had a smash with “Selfish One” in 1964—but that just happens to be the best-selling single from her decades of great songs.
Gene Barge has done his most influential work as a sideman or producer, but he’s just as important as any of R&B’s marquee stars.
Production duo Bless the Mad discuss the classic hip-hop, soul, gospel, and jazz records that inspired the reverent sonic collage on their debut album.
The Lovelites had their biggest success with “How Can I Tell My Mom and Dad,” which came out when they were so young they could barely tour.
The Artistics could match the quality of the Impressions and the Chi-Lites, but not their chart success.
Bill Coday’s early releases, especially on Denise LaSalle’s Crajon label, have been widely reissued—and his later soul-blues recordings are beloved too.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, at least 130,000 people left Puerto Rico to live elsewhere. Yet in February 2018, Puerto Rican musicians Raquel Berrios and Luis Alfredo del Valle, aka experimental dream-pop duo Buscabulla (“Troublemaker” in English), returned to the island after nearly a decade in New York City. During those years, they’d become […]
Chicago rapper and prison abolitionist Ric Wilson knows the joy of combing through history for jewels of knowledge that enrich his connection to his hometown’s multifaceted Black communities. He also understands how to incorporate sounds from the past into contemporary music. Last year he found a kindred spirit in Terrace Martin, a Los Angeles jazz […]
Correction: This item has been updated to include details about Renaldo Domino’s new Colemine Records single “No Laggin’ and Draggin’,” whose upcoming release the show celebrates. In a just and perfect world, Renaldo Domino would be as widely revered as legendary Chicago soul greats Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, and Gene Chandler. In my opinion, the […]
Some neosoul artists focus on torch songs and heartbreak, but as her name suggests, pianist and singer Avery Sunshine (aka Denise Nicole White) sticks to the brighter side of the genre. Working with guitarist and arranger Dana Johnson (who’s also her husband), Sunshine mixes old-school R&B grooves, gentle funk, and jazzy gospel vocals on flirtatiously […]
Chicago soul-funk band Pieces of Peace didn’t put out their only album till 35 years after they broke up.