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Soul II Soul

Soul II Soul

ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
Biography

Soul II Soul is a British musical collective consisting of DJ and rapper Jazzie B, Caron Wheeler, and Charlotte Kelly. One of the hottest R&B outfits of the late ’80s, the crew scored a number-one hit back in 1989 with the song “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me),” which is still one of their most beloved songs to date. They’ve also had several other hits since the start of their career, including “Keep On Movin” and “Feel Free.” 

They’re known for blending elements of deep R&B, disco, Philly soul, and numerous other genres to make a sound that has gotten them on top of the dance charts at numerous points.

Since they formed in the late ’80s, Soul II Soul has received numerous awards and nominations, including several Grammy Awards. They received Grammys for “African Dance” (Best R&B Instrumental Performance) and “Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)” (Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal) as well as a nomination for Best New Artist in 1990. 

They’ve also been nominated for several BRIT Awards (including Best British Group), American Music Awards, and more. They’ve also worked with artists like Courtney Pine and Victoria Wilson-James. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Soul II Soul.

instruments played
drums
keyboards
programming
violin
Vocals
Genres

Soul
neo soul
dance
R&B
rap
British soul
reggae rock

Labels

Virgin
EMI

Origin

London, England

Website
Years Active

1988 - 1998
2007 - present

How Soul II Soul Formed 

Soul II Soul started as a sound system, a group of DJs and audio engineers who perform live together in a club and at street parties. The earliest iteration of the group was run by Jazzie B, who joined forces with several other musicians to create the first official Soul II Soul lineup in 1988.  The earliest members of Soul II Soul were Jazzie B, Nellee Hooper, Simon Law, Doreen Waddell, Rose Windross, Daddae, Aitch B, Jazzie Q, and Caron Wheeler. However, only Wheeler and Jazzie B are still actively part of Soul II Soul.  With a massive initial lineup, the group released their debut single, "Fairplay," in 1988. The song was recorded at the Africa Center in London, where the group had a residency at the time. They released another single, "Feel Free," shortly after, which saw Doreen Waddell serving as lead vocalist for the first time.  The group got their big break from "Keep Movin On," a single that they released just before the start of the new decade. The March 1989 single was written by Jazzie B and features Caron Wheeler as lead vocalist. It's been described as a hip-hop, R&B, and Soul song, and it went on to top several charts around the world, including the Singles Chart in England and the US Dance Club Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. It's considered one of the last classic singles of '80s hip-hop and R&B music, followed shortly after by the group's biggest hit, "Back to Life."

"Back to Life's" Smash Success 

With songwriter, producer, and group founder Jazzie B at the helm, the group released "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me" on May 29, 1989. The track, sung by Caron Wheeler, is now considered one of the most innovative dance tracks of all time, one that can still be heard from the dance floor at clubs around the world.  Certified Platinum in the United States and Gold in the UK, the song was co-written by Jazzie B, Caron Wheeler, arranger Nellee Hooper, and Simon Law.

Club Classics Vol. One and More 

The group's debut album, Club Classics Vol. 1, was released on April 10, 1989, shortly before the release of "Back to Life." The album, produced by Jazzie B and Nellee Hooper, was released via Virgin Records and went on to be certified Triple Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. The following December, Soul II Soul continued their ascent to R&B stardom with the single "Get a Life," which became an international hit. In 1990, the group released their second album, Vol. II: 1990 – A New Decade. The record features tracks like "Missing You," "People," "A Dream's a Dream," and many more and features a performance from Kym Mazelle.  It was the first record recorded following the departure of longtime member Caron Wheeler, who had previously served as a core member of the group. A New Decade was followed by Live at Brixton Academy, Soul II Soul's first live album. 

The Mid-to-Late 90s

In 1992, the group released their third album – Volume III Just Right, which was certified Gold by the BPI and features vocals from guest singers like Kofi and Penny Ford. It was followed by Volume IV: The Classic Singles (88-93), then by their fifth studio album, Volume V Believe in 1995, and Time for Change in 1997.  After their '97 release, the group went quiet for nearly 20 years before putting out Origins: The Roots of Soul II Soul, their second live album. 

Reunions 

Soul II Soul reunited several times over the years after their hiatus in 1997. Their first time back together was in 2007 at the Lovebox Festival in Victoria Park, London, where the group was made up of Jazzie B, Caron Wheeler, Aitch B, and MC Chickaboo. Later, the group had a reunion tour as The Soul II Soul Sound System Featuring Caron Wheeler, followed by appearances at Channel 4's House Party and on Later... with Jools Holland. Meanwhile, several members of the group pursued solo careers. The group's recent activity includes the Soul II Soul Classics Collection at London's Harvey Nichols store, as well as a 2016 non-album single titled "A New Day."

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