Well, 2011 is almost a wrap. And when it comes to Atlanta’s soul music scene, it’s safe to say it was a very good year.
Just think: In 2011, we were treated to lots of new music (like a new CD from singer Julie Dexter and two albums from Anthony David, among many others), great live shows (such as the Marvin Gaye Tribute show) and great nightlife events (Spread Love and almost anything at the Sound Table).
So, now that this year is nearly in the can, the question is: What does next year hold for local soul? To get answers, we turned to a gaggle of the city’s top singers, musicians, DJs, promoters and more — and they opined on what they want to see happen in Atlanta’s soul music scene in 2012.
Jamal Ahmad, radio personality/event promoter: "The Atlanta soul scene is one of the healthiest scenes on this planet. We have artists like Anthony David, Avery Sunshine, Julie Dexter, India.Arie and transplants like Raheem Devaughn and Musiq Soulchild. My only qualms with the scene are that: 1) we need to see younger artist keeping this music alive in their generation; 2) the output needs to always stand heads above what is coming out globally — therefore the songs, the sound, the production, need to be strong; and 3) we need more venues that support this music."
Jaya, booking agent GlobalMoods Entertainment: “What I would like to see in the ATL soul scene in 2012 and beyond is less industry politics and more support of quality indie and underground artists. Changing the atmosphere inside the clubs could and would change an entire society. Music influences people. Support quality music with quality messages. We are one.”
Ken Rye, executive producer, Hot Ice Live, an Atlanta-based entertainment company specializing in live global soul music: “For 2012, I'm looking for the continued Influence of local scene with more new attendees at shows and more artists coming out of this area on the national scene. Personally, I have enjoyed the collaborations between our Atlanta-based producers and internationally recognized talent showing that our folks match up along some of the best in the world. If we do a better job of doing this on more stages and via more interactive media, other markets and new audiences will have to give the market its proper respect.
"I tend to look at our business by our ability to attract new local demographics and the support we get from closely related industries like hospitality, tourism, film, advertising, etc. Artists like Anthony David, DJ Kemit, Avery Sunshine, and others are representing Atlanta on commercial radio and nightclubs all over the world right now. Producers like Jason Orr, Daz I-Kue, Mausiki Scales, Khari Simmons and others are increasingly being sought after for their influence on international music. Even as artists relocate to and from places like LA, D.C., the Bay, N.Y., Ghana, and the U.K., our channels stay open for fresh creativity, booking, and audience feedback. With that, 2012 is already offering some soulful promises for some solid, new, original music and exclusive collaborations that can only be produced out of a city like Atlanta.”
John Crooms, photographer: “I would like to see a live music venue — something like Yin Yang Cafe. Less hipster, more organic.”
Cha Cha Jones, DJ: “I think the Atlanta soul scene needs more outdoor shows and free festivals like the National Black Arts Festival to make audiences more familiar with great artists that are still gaining national and international notoriety. Also, more specialty radio shows that highlight other veins of soul music outside of what's exposed most on commercial radio.”
Larmarrous Shirley, DJ/event promoter: “The artists need to create more music, perform more and seriously look outside of Atlanta so they can gain more exposure. Also, don't worry about getting the opinions of people who have been here for years for approval. Also, I wish the cliques in Atlanta would finally fade away. The scene has had a ‘good-ole-boy’ type vibe forever, and it’s corny and useless.”
DJ Jamad (Afromentals/The Music Messenger): “In 2012, I'd like to see more collaborative and experimental projects among Atlanta's soul slingers. Soul music doesn't have to always be smooth, laid back and somewhat boring. Soulful music is based on an artist expressing their ‘spirit’ that can uplift and inspire others. Let's mix that energy with other genres of dance, funk, dubstep and electronic music. Today, continue to evolve, innovate and uplift.”
Algebra Blessett, singer: "I would like to see more venues that are conducive for the creatives to let go. The people need a place to go! Not only the onlookers but the singers, musicians, painters, photographers, writers, artist all alike need the platforms to be viable."
Nashville has more dive bars than ATL now that sucks. tbh i think that new…
*Christ, Lord sorry
"Punk" style like this seems like it is the polar opposite of punk. Bradford Cox…
They're kind of starting to look like a joke of themselves. Song's good though.