Here, from the original launch of ISPYSOUL in 2000 is a segment of what was written to explain the catalyst for the site:
“Many have become frustrated and disenchanted with the major media outlets because of what they choose to give exposure to on a regular basis. In acknowledgment of the burgeoning number of those who thirst for quality, uniqueness and variety in music as well as for the wealth of talent deserving of more exposure, ISPYSOUL was born.”
And so indeed ISPYSOUL was launched as an on-line magazine featuring CD and live performance reviews as well as artists profiles and information about the small number of venues, stores and radio programs that were giving exposure to the music. The response was amazing with ultimately hundreds of thousands becoming frequent visitors of the site and ISPYSOUL becoming a recognized brand and tastemaker for in particular the independent soul scene. But in light of the early term, “Neo-Soul”, being used for the sound and new breed, if you will, of artists that were creating some of the music that would be featured it was important to be clear about the focus of this platform.
“ISPYSOUL focuses as much or perhaps even more on the element of soul as on the genre of music, which carries its name. In fact, much of the music featured here is an eclectic mix of genres such a Soul, Jazz, R&B, Funk, or Rock skillfully intertwined and fused by the characteristic fervor we all recognize as “soul”. Escaping categorization has become an excuse for many not to give exposure to this music despite its ability to entertain and impress. We however deem this a gift and celebrate those who create “outside the box while still displaying that common thread of “soul”.
To underscore that point an on-line radio program was launched in 2004 as a complement to the magazine aptly called, ISPYSOUL: Beyond Category. The popular prograTo that point during its original run interviews were done with a range of talented and legendary artists. The first artist interview and profile piece that appeared was with a talented and acclaimed young artist by the name of Rahsaan Patterson. Artists like Al Jarreau, The Crusaders (Joe Sample, Wilton Felder and Stix Hooper), Will Downing, Raphael Saadiq, and Mint Condition followed. But the success of this platform did not come just because of recognizable names. It was the great joy of this site to interview and feature artists like Maya Azucena, Angela Johnson, Eric Roberson, Omar, Van Hunt, Monet, Heston, Tortured Soul, Nick Rolfe, Anthony Hamilton, Kem, Ledisi, Martin Luther, Heavy, and more, in many cases, prior to the success they now enjoy. One very talented artist by the name of Ty Causey was actually and ironically a significant reason for why ISPYSOUL ended it’s run in 2005. Stay tuned for more on that coming soon.
Now in 2011 this scaled down version ISPYSOUL returns with pretty much the same focus, but occasionally with a few new additions to the original concept that I hope you will embrace and enjoy. Most importantly it is my hope and desire that ISPYSOUL will be a useful resource for you.
Founder & Editorial Director