Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1.

Label: BBE Music.

Format: CD.

Release Date: ‘9th’ November 2020.

DJ and producer Ronnie Herel began DJ-ing in London’s clubs in the eighties, and by the nineties he was already a familiar face as he continued to champion the best in soulful music in Britain. This was just the start though.

Ronnie Herel was nominated for a MOBO and was one of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s first signings.  He also became a talent scout for the television show The Voice, and after that, was appointed head of music at Mi Soul. By then, he had spent over three decades working as a club and radio.

This meant he was perfectly placed to compile a new compilation of Neo Soul for BBE Music. The result is Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1 which will be released on the ‘9th’ of November 2020.  It features thirteen tracks that showcase artists, singers, songwriters, musicians and producers including Omar, Etta Bond, Children of Zeus, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Foreign Exchange, Terri Walker, Moods, Darren Dean, Phonte and KOF who find themselves in a situation where their music falls somewhere between “underground” and “overground”

The “underground” tracks aren’t mainstream enough to fall into be described as “overground.” Meanwhile, the “overground” tracks are too slick and accomplished to be described as “underground.” It’s a strange situation for the artists on Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1. However, they all have one thing in common, they produce quality music.

Opening Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1 is Gave My Heart/Its So Interlood by Omar which features legendary soul singer Leon Ware. He worked with Marvin Gaye and released a string of successful solo album. However, in 2016, he joined forces with Omar to create Gave My Heart while Its so Interlood featured the Great Windsor’s Big Beat Band. They play one of the highlights of Omar’s Love In Beats album which is soulful and funky and one of the finest of the British soul don’s career.

Etta Bond is one regarded as one of the finest British Neo soul singers. Proof of that is Come Over which she wrote and produced and released in 2011.

Manchester-based Children Of Zeus feature twice on the compilation. They released their debut album Travel Light in 2018, which features Slow Down. The same year, it was also released as a single on First World Records and finds Children Of Zeus seamlessly combining hip hop, R&B and soul. It’s a similar case on Push On which was also released in 2018 and showcases one of UK Neo Soul’s best kept secrets.

DJ Jazzy Jeff also features twice on the compilation. His first contribution is his remix of For Da Love Of Da Game. It featured on the B-Side of Rock Wit U (Yoruba Soul Mix) which was released on BBE Music in 2002. It’s a jazz-tinged and soulful slice of hip hop. Five years later, in 2007, DJ Jazzy Jeff  released The Return Of The Magnificent on BBE Music and it featured My Soul Ain’t for Sale which featured Raheem Davaughn.  It’s soulful with smoking beats and features one of the best bass lines on the compilation.

In 2004, Foreign Exchange released their debut album Connected, which featured Come Around. It successfully marries hip hop with Neo Soul to create a track that’s truly timeless.

Lose Twice was the fourth single from Terri Walker’s album Entitled which was released in 2015. It features Floacist and they draws inspiration from nineties Neo Soul as they create one of the most melodic and soulful songs on Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1.

In 2018, Rotterdam-based producer Nick Lubbersen released Zoom Out the debut album by Moods. One of the highlights of the album was Slow Down which features vocalist Damon Trueitt. He plays his pity on sound and success of a track where Neo Soul, Nu-Disco and R&B are combined to create a hook-laden dancer.

Darien Dean and Avery Sunshine collaborated on the single Someone is You (Shawn’s Revenge) in 2017. It was released on Be Yourself Recordings and is timeless fusion of Neo Soul and R&B.

When hip hopper Phonte released his third album No News Is Good News in 2018, one of the highlights was Find That Love Again. It featured Eric Robertson who adds a soulful twist to the track which heads in the direction of Neo Soul.

The beautiful Neo Soul ballad Need Somebody by KOF featuring Terri Walker closes Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1. This hidden gem is taken from Koi’s 2012 album and is the perfect way to close the compilation.

Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1 is a lovingly curated compilation from a man who has spent his career championing the best in soulful music in Britain. That’s why it’s no surprise that a number of British Neo Soul singers and groups feature on the album. There’s also Neo Soul from America on Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1. In total, there’s thirteen tracks on the compilation.

On many of the tracks genres melt into one. This includes conscious, funk, hip hop, jazz, R&B and soul to create Neo Soul for a new millennium.

There’s contributions from familiar faces and what will new names to many people. They’ve also been described as “underground” and “overground” track. However, they all have one thing in common the quality of music on this compilation of Neo Soul for a new millennium. There’s dancers, ballads and songs full of social comment on the thirteen tracks on Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1 which hopefully, is the first instalment in what will be long-running series from BBE Music.

Ronnie Herel Presents Neo Soul Sessions Vol. 1.

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