African American music made a big impact on the music lovers around the world. A fitting name to describe the genre was Soul. The late 1950s, saw the rise of Soul music artists with the rising popularity of gospel music in the African American churches. The song originates from the times when slavery was predominant in America. The Africans were not allowed to worship, in the churches that the whites went to. Hence, they set up their own churches and same the same songs that the white Americans sang. In fact, they improvised and included a twist to the style with innovative voice modulations. The upbeat tempo they adopted, along with singing and dancing seemed to convey the true meaning of the songs, that were traditionally sang at a very slow tempo.
Ray Charles is one of the famous artists, who influenced the type of soul music that was up-tempo. His song “I’ve got a woman” is a version of a gospel song, which is very slow. The gospel version was sung in churches, while the Ray Charles version was developed as a record for the rest of world to enjoy. Ray Charles does the same to a few other gospel songs, that were popular at the time. The modulations of the gospel songs and styles were taken, included with sexy exchanges for a wider appeal.
One of the greatest Soul Music influencers was, Sam Cooke. He happens to be the first Soul music artist, who even knocked Elvis Presley off the charts with his music. Sam was an ardent part of the Christian music community and was drawn, to the music from a very young age. Sam got innovative and made a secular version of a then famous Christian song, which got him excommunicated from the church. Sam was one of the biggest influencers in Soul music, as his songs conveyed the deep desire to end slavery in America and more people, took to his music. A select group of people in America, were not happy with the trouble and freedom he kept proposing to give the African Americans. He was murdered prior to the release of his song, that spoke of ending slavery soon.
The Stax Records were responsible for bringing Soul music, that originated in Memphis, Tennessee. The deep soul music that the artists from the region produced, was received worldwide for the unique style. Otis Redding is one of the stars that made popular, up-beat music in the deep soul genre. He also was the number one artist, who played with Stax Records. Otis Redding was doing very well with his music and was received very well by the public but did not live very long to see his success all the way. He was killed in a plane crash, but his music and influence lives on.
The words “Soul Music” can never be uttered without the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin taking prime centre of the conversation. She broke the bonds of women being oppressed and gave hope for more female artists, to come forward. Her songs spoke to female independence and was the beginning of many, revolutionary female-led initiatives. The way she approached her singing technique is on the level as her predecessors and this gave women hope, worldwide. Her music and passion were big enough, that even white American women were drawn to the strong, influential voice she carried.