Soul Is Not Dead: Moorea Masa, Ray Hodge, and Liyah Bey
Soul is not dead. In the mainstream radio, one might think that for a track to have soul it needs to have layers of electronic bumps and beeps. But real soul music is something altogether different, capturing the heart of the musician and fusing it together with a sonic construction that serves to pull the listeners in together. It’s alchemy and it’s gorgeous. If our readers enjoy this post, perhaps we’ll create more of these Soul Is Not Dead series of posts.
Moorea Masa – “The Garden”
-You can feel the soul in Masa’s voice before the end of the very first line. She has a delicate style that is both beautiful and meaningful. As she expresses her heart’s lament on “The Garden” you’ll feel a person reflection of love and longing. As the other production elements enter the piece, they help to add to Masa rather than pull away from her. She soars and shines on this track.
Ray Hodge – “I am King”
-This is one of the best soul songs I’ve ever heard, regardless of era. It’s about agency, freedom, and true human identity. Hodge’s ability to capture the sense of freedom in the 21st century is empowering. His reflection as an African American on the legacy of slavery and freedom is really superb. The choral backing and hand claps help to contribute to the gravity of the message, but at the end of the day it’s Hodge’s soaring vocals that steal the show.
Ray Hodge – “Voodoo”
-Another track from the fast-rising Ray Hodge sounds a bit more like Gary Clark Jr. than some of the other tracks from him. But this one packs such a powerful punch we had to include it here. This is a different wrinkle in the “soul” world, with a bit more blues to it, but still definitely a soulful piece from an intriguing artist. The religious and spiritual overtones to a song about voodoo is more than we can distill here, but definitely worth your attention.
Liyah Bey – “Can’t Stop Loving You”
-Remember that first time you heard Ray Charles and the glorious piano with expressive vocals? Well, welcome to the 21st century female version of that style. Liyah Bey is absolutely the real deal. Even the string backing on the song is perfect in that old Charles studio style. It’s an exceptional song that will tug at your emotions if you’ve ever experienced unrequited love or a tough breakup. Amazing, truly.