Music Features Writer
1:00 AM 4th December 2023
In Conversation With Jazzie B From Soul II Soul
With hits like Keep on Movin
, and Back to Life
, Soul II Soul became household names in the mid-nineties. Coming from a sound system DJ collective into a twenty-five-piece band, they have captivated audiences across the globe.
Led by Jazzie B, the group has sold over ten million albums, beginning with the groundbreaking Club Classics Volume 1, which was a pivotal moment in their career with a distinctly British sound that crossed boundaries with a fresh, infectious, and soulful embrace.
Soul II Soul broke down many boundaries, especially with the acceptance of British black music. What are your proudest moments?
Being accepted amongst the wider music community must be one—the band opened a lot of doors that were previously closed. You must also remember that the idea of having a collective was a new one at the time. We happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Back to Life is the song most people remember the band for. Would you like your other songs to be more recognised?
As long as we are recognised for any of our music, I am happy. Our music is known all around the world. When we had our first success, British music was the shopping window for the rest of the world to take note. Nowadays, with the internet and digital streaming, things have gone global, and it is far easier to get your music heard globally.
The lyrics of your songs are always optimistic; is that a general reflection of yourself?
Of course! The listener gets a taste of what I am about when they listen to my lyrics. Growing up, I listened to Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, and songs written by Burt Bacharach. These people were storytellers; their music led you on a journey, and that is what I try to do with our songs.
Do you have any other interests outside of music?
I still have our clothing line, Funki Dred, and I have written a book, Reflections of My Journey
, which has some good stories about the band in there.