Do me a favor: turn on your radio. Listen closely. What do you hear? If you are on a popular music station, there is an 85% chance that whatever song is on is garbage. Trash. Basura. I, however, have a cure for the ear bleeding that is most likely occurring right now. It’s called British soul, and you need to get into it.
If you close your eyes and think of just the voice of an angel, a picture of a British soul/r&b artist should pop up in your head. Unlike here in the US, it actually takes a good amount of talent to break into the British music scene. And by talent, I mean the ability to sing without ample auto tuning or needing to have be naked to get attention (I hope you caught the shade thrown at your favorite pop singer).
Here is my list of the five best British soul singers, in no particular order:
1. Sam Smith
God. GAHD. Get into this man. He is musical perfection with the face of a cherub. He does a lot of collaborations with famous English producers and DJs, which tend to be more pop than soul, but listen to his acoustic versions and prepare your heart for melting. This up and coming crooner is already topping the iTunes Charts with his album “In the Lonely Hour,” which debuted on June 17. Definitely worth the $10.29.
2. Paloma Faith
Well, damn. I’m glad I found this woman, because she brought back the void in my heart left behind by my beloved Amy Winehouse. While she has been around since 2007, she is far from a household name here in the states. If you appreciate a good voice and someone who sings with their accent (this may be just me, but I think it’s awesome), check out Paloma. She’ll give you a little Amy plus a bit of Duffy. So, pretty much, amazingness.
3. James Blake
I’ll start by saying “Yaaaaaaaaaaasssss!” Blake is not only EDM producer, but Alston writes and sings some amazing soul/r&b songs as well. Get over to iTunes and listen to his album “Overgrown” which was released last year. Perfection.
4. Ed Sheeran
This man is everything: talented, humble, and funny. His latest album “x” dropped June 24, so it’s nice and fresh. And amazing. There are some collabs with great producers like Pharrell on there, so do. It. up.
5. Emeli Sande
I love this woman. You definitely heard her break-out hit “Next to Me” in 2012, which was like a soul gospel pop anthem of sorts. Her debut album “our version of events” was the epitome of what I like from a British soul artist: smart, sensual, and just all around brilliant. Keep an eye out for the beauty in 2014 as she releases her second studio album this year.