Caucasians With Soulful Persuasion!
All across the world, from barbershops and family gatherings to internet forums and blog comment sections, people have tackled the debate of race and music. Ever since Elvis borrowed music from black culture and didn’t cite his sources, it’s been a somewhat touchy subject for some folks.
It seems as though white people that get involved into traditionally black music are almost always met with some type of adversity or commotion from somebody because of their skin tone. Everybody always talks about the emcees in this regard, but how about the singers out there? There are several standouts in the soul/R&B genre that are of the Caucasian persuasion that prove that music has no color barriers. Some are overlooked, while others are just about running the industry. One thing’s for sure: they’ve all got talent. Let’s talk about a few, shall we?
The humble P.Y.T. from just outside of Boston has been relatively quiet in recent years. Word on the street is she may be dabbling in the college life, but that’s yet to be confirmed. Nevertheless, she can blow but don’t forget that rendition of SWV’s “Weak” she absolutely killed. We’ve got it for you below in case you never got a chance to hear it. We need more jams from you, boo.
You should hear: “Weak”
Drugs brought her from a somewhat sane Brit who wore size 11 jeans to an anorexic, out-of-her-mind fiend who would even go as far as to surreptitiously use her “substances” on stage. Hey, whatever works I guess. Even if you despise her for the countless ridiculous incidents that make tabloid headlines, you can’t help but appreciate her incredibly rich voice.
You should hear: “Tears Dry On Their Own”
The Detroit native was a DJ before he decided to take a chance with his crooning career. Looks like it paid off, as indie label Stones Throw has helped him make his mark on the music industry. It doesn’t hurt that he sounds like a long lost Motown signee, either.
You should hear: “I Wish It Would Rain”
Okay, so he was with N’Sync. Who cares? That No Strings Attached album had jams upon jams upon jams on it. Plus, if The Neptunes and Timbaland both handled of the majority his production in the latter part of his career, you know he’s doing something right. Both solo projects get regular burn in iTunes.
You should hear: “Señorita”
Joss has sold over 10 million albums worldwide. She’s barely 22, with two Grammys and an impressive track record. Her voice is so smooth that you probably wouldn’t know she was a Dover, Kent (UK) native. She also is a vegetarian, if that means anything to anybody.
You should hear: “Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now”
This guy’s really proved himself. Determined to step out of Alan Thicke (you might know him as Dr. Jason Roland Seaver, the father from the 80’s show Growing Pains), he made a nearly seamless transition from a bicycle-riding hippie to a sex symbol with quite possibly the baddest female on the face of the earth to call his wife. Oh, and he’s an incredible singer/songwriter, too. Pharrell added him to his Star Trak imprint, and the two haven’t looked back since. Thicke may just be the leader of the pack, Caucasian or otherwise.
You should hear: “The Stupid Things”
A somewhat newcomer to the scene, the London native specializes in heartbreaking soul. Think of 808s & Heartbreaks, except no auto-tune, and really, really good singing. Although her debut album 19 wasn’t super commercially successful in the U.S., she did scoop some Grammys with it. Her music also also made a powerful impact on Europe and Australia. At least the people that count were listening.
You should hear: “Chasing Pavements”
The Aussie is down with Mark Ronson’s clique, and dropped out of school early to pursue music. He’s toured pretty much everywhere, and while he’s yet to become a household name here in the States yet, after you hear the song below, you’ll realize that he’s well on his way.
You should hear: “Stop Me”
Sure, he’s been more behind the scenes as of recent, but you can’t forget his ’97 classic album Cool Relax. Back then, he was working in the stu’ with Pac, writing songs for the late and great Michael Jackson, and under the tutelage of mogul and musical genius Babyface. This guy was definitely winning back then, but the next decade wouldn’t prove too commercially successful for him. The last time we heard from him, he was beefing with Robin Thicke over piano skills. Yikes.
You should hear: “They Don’t Know”
Another Aussie-born artist, Sam dabbles in everything from electronica to funk. He’s got a lot of soul, though. The son of a Gospel minister, he’s been around music all his life, and his creative side has generated some pretty awesome music videos. He’s also openly gay and recently covered Attitude Magazine, the UK’s best-selling gay magazine.
You should hear: “Black & Gold”
Who said singers couldn’t come from prestigious colleges? Mike is a Duke University senior with one foot out the door to the industry. If only graduation could come sooner for the Midwest sensation that sells out college shows within the blink of an eye. Managed by the Dan Weisman, the same guy that helped Wale reach superstardom, he’s on a path to success already. Besides, if this music stuff doesn’t work out, he’s got a hell of a plan B.
You should hear: “Cooler Than Me” (feat. Big Sean)
The Canadian crooner’s only 15, making pre-teen girls faint while performing at middle schools across the continent. Justin was discovered by his current agent Scooter Braun, who flew him straight to Atlanta to meet with Usher. Usher tossed L.A. Reid the alley-oop, and a few days later, Mr. Bieber was signed to Island Records.
You should hear: “One Time”
Anybody missing from the list? Anyone who isn’t worthy that is on the list? Just feel like leaving feedback? Throw it in the comment section.