One of the most popular genres in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s was soul music. Over time, this genre has evolved and merged with new ones. However, it is still alive today. For you to discover (or rediscover) the best American soul singers, you don't have to do anything more than keep reading. Today on TopFestivals we delve into the catchy rhythms and choruses of soul music.
Best American soul singers
If we have to focus on the best singers of the soul genre, we can't look anywhere else but their country of origin: the United States. In this country, there are a great number of artists who empowered and boosted the genre. Today we introduce you to some of the founders of soul, as well as some of the new voices of the genre.
The best American soul singers are:
- Ray Charles
- Marvin Gaye
- Stevie Wonder
- Diana Ross
- Kali Uchis
- Ari Lennox
Best classic American soul singers
When we talk about the best American soul singers, we have to mention the figures who were pioneers of the genre.
One of the best American soul singers is undoubtedly Ray Charles Robinson, better known simply as Ray Charles. He was born in Georgia in September 1930. Ray began to lose his vision when he was only 5 years old. Two years later, at the age of 7, he had already become completely blind.
He was one of the greatest exponents of soul music, as he was also one of the pioneers. He is considered one of the best singers of all time. In 2008, four years after his death, he was included in the list of the 100 best singers according to Rolling Stone music magazine.
Another of the best American soul singers is Marvin Pentz Gay Jr, better known as Marvin Gaye. He was nicknamed "the prince of soul" due to his importance within the genre.
He is number 18 in the list of the 100 best artists in history, according to the music magazine Rolling Stone. He formed different musical bands and joined many others. He was very successful at Motown Record Corporation, a record label that focused on soul and gospel music. This label ended up defining a very personal soul style, nicknamed motown sound.
Marvin Gaye sold more than 25 million albums and was awarded the Grammy Award for his artistic career. He is also listed in several halls of fame.
Stevland Hardaway Morris, better known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is another top American soul singer. He was born in Michigan in 1950 and is also one of the most recognized singers of the Motown label.
Stevie Wonder was born blind. However, that did not prevent him from being a prodigy in a large number of instruments such as bass, drums, harmonica or, especially, piano. He has been awarded up to three times with the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, all three in a row.
He is a well-known personality, not only for his important role in soul music, but also for his activism. He has been recognized by the United Nations as a fundamental influence in the struggle for social rights.
Her leap to fame came with the soul group The Supremes, from which she would later split. In 1970 she began her solo career. In 1993 she was included in the Guinness Book of Records for being the most successful female artist of all time.
In 1972 she appeared for the first time on the big screen with a role in the film Lady Sings the Blues. This role won her a Golden Globe Award and she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Best current American soul singers
Despite the fact that this genre had its heyday during the second half of the last century, it is still very active. These artists are the main ones in charge of keeping the genre alive. Sometimes mixed with others and fused with new sounds, but always present.
The singer Solana Imani Rowe, better known as SZA is part of the best current American soul singers. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1989.
She started making music around 2010 and would later sign with the Top Dawg Entertainment label, focused on the hip hop music genre. His first studio album,"Ctrl", saw the light of day in 2017. He earned several Grammy Award nominations for songs from that album and 'it achieved platinum album status.
In 2021, she released together with rapper Doja Cat, the track"Kiss Me More", which went viral on the TikTok platform.
Another of the new voices of soul music is Karly Marina Loaiza, better known as Kali Uchis. This singer was born in Virginia in the year 1994, but was schooled in Colombia in her childhood. She has both U.S. and Colombian nationality and her songs are in both Spanish and English.
She has collaborated with musicians such as Snoop Dogg, Juanes or the band Gorillaz. Also one of his songs was used to promote the launch of the sixth season of the series American Horror Story.
He has two studio albums, the first one is"Isolation" and the second one is titled"Sin Miedo". The latter contains the song"Telepathy", which went viral in 2020 on the TikTok platform.
Courtney Shanade Salter is best known for singing under the stage name Ari Lennox. With more than five million monthly listeners on the streaming music platform Spotify, Lennox is part of the list of best current American soul singers.
At the moment she has only one studio album,"Shea Butter Baby". It was released in 2019 and the eponymous single already has more than 117 million plays. Her latest release dates from last 2021 and is a single in collaboration with Khalid. The singer has been nominated for awards such as the Grammy or the Soul Train Music Awards.
This has been TopFestivals ' review of the best American soul singers, including some of the newest names, along with the founders of the genre. We love these, but we always want to know what you think - which ones are your favorites, do you think we've missed any? Let us know in the comments!