Its been a minute since there was an actual R&B group on the landscape. Not since the 90s and early 2000s, which brought us the last round of groups such as Dru Hill, B2K, Day 26 and Danity Kane, Have we enjoyed music made in unison by a unit. Fast forward to 2018, and the rebirth is in motion. Detroit was home base for some of the greatest groups of all time like the Four Tops, Dramatics, Spinners, Supremes, Miracles and the prototype, The Temptations. So its only fitting that the rebirth take place in the”D” in the form of Soul duo, Producer/ Vocalist Akinyele the Black Night and Vocalist Leon Taylor, collectively CLUB SOUL. The group came together thru mutual admiration of one another’s work. “I saw Akinyele at the Bullfrog (local club) and after his performance I was trying to meet him. His music was banging” said Leon.. Imagine his surprise to find out Akinyele was an already skilled and in demand producer as well as an exciting artist. Akinyele, a talented multi instrumentalist as well, felt the same about Taylor. ” I hadn’t heard of him before. But when he sang. I said man, we gotta hook up on some tracks!!” And soon they were doing just that. According to Leon, ” I went in to do some tracks and came out a member of the family..” Not surprising given the mutual instant respect they gave each other. What started out as just doing a little writing and recording, morphed into a full blown project between the two Detroit artists. Calling it CLUB SOUL, as way of combining their love of R&B and paying tribute to those before them. Explaining the origins of the group Akinyele stats, “CLUB SOUL, is not a group. Its a Tribute to Real R&B music. Myself , my R&B brother Leon Taylor put it together , But , its much bigger and more than just us and you will soon see what we mean in the future to come.”, Offering a glimpse into the many different incarnations and aspects of creativity they plan, and can explore, within the Club SOUL project. But Leon and Akinyele, will remain as core to the project making sure it stays true to the original formula.
AKINYELE’ THE BLACK KNIGHT
When you meet Akinyele Spaight a.k.a. Akinyele the Black Night, you will feel his aura. but not in an arrogant or above it all kind of way. What you see is a multi faceted amalgamation of music. He wears many hats all in the name of music. He is an artist releasing up to 2 or more mixtapes/ eps of his own original music consistently for the past 3 years, as well as a producer/ Songwriter gospel party/musician and music company owner with projects out or in the works for a growing number of artists. Add to that he is a father himself over two budding artists. His son Akinyele JR. Who is traveling the Gospel path of musical expression, And daughter Kazha Akimone’, who is a young vocalist and writer in her own right. So the music is in the blood thick. “Akinyele, is my birth name. “The Blk. Night” comes from my Pops. This was his Alias back when he was touring and on the road playing lead guitar for so many of the greats. He passed it on to me and I’m running with it.”, Says the young producer and artist, who has been trolling around the Detroit scene for a few years now. His sound is one of them definitely dirty Soul, mixed with sensual and sexy lyrics as well as sound b as s subwoofer music. One thing that defines this sound, is its rawness, but polished delivery. Very reminiscent of The Dramatics, Teddy Pendergrass, O’Jays and the Philly Soul sound of the mid 70s. His style as a songwriter and producer, is derived from honest to goodness soul. “As far as my sound, it’s just me. Just unapologetic honestly me. Yes, I’m from Motown. I am a “D” Boy, so I’m sure that pedigree is in my blood. But I just do what feels good to me.” Says the in demand local producer. Who is building a roster of awesome talent from in and around Detroit .. He even has a name for his studio where the magic happens… The Black Cave, Where thru his production company, Black Night Music LLC. He is plotting a musical empire of his own.. And now, he has the family to help in the uprising.
Some people pursue music. Others have music thrusted upon them. They cant avoid it. Its called DESTINY, When your every journey leads you down the same road over and over again. For Vocalist LEON TAYLOR, the journey began with a dare in the 5th grade. “On a dare, I went up to sing during the talent show in the 5th grade. I chose Mario’s “Let Me Love You”. When I did it, I didn’t think much of it. But when I was done the response I got was like Wow!! You can really sing!! Everyone kept saying things like that. I was hooked.” said Taylor who immediately began using his newfound talent for the Lord. “I sung in Church and for 2 years Church conventions, working with Gospel artists like Deitrick Haddon and Hezekiah Walker doing backing vocals. But it wasn’t until about two years ago (2015) that I decided to pursue it as an artist myself.”says Leon who cites the likes of Jazmine Sullivan, Tank, Zebulon Ellis, and Smokie Norful as influences. Ever the humble cat, when he originally planned to join the Armed Forces, however that did not work out due to no fault of his own.. He retreated back to music. Taylor put his foot on every stage that would have him and started his own music company to release his own music, Taynation Music. Where he released a single called “Look Like Bae” and released a full album called “Love Can”. He became a staple on not just the club circuit, but hitting various open mics and seeking to spread the word about himself around, he came upon The Blk Night himself and rest is Soulful History. After tracking with the Blk. Night it became an easy decision to link up as artists.
Serving the first helping of the unity known as CLUB SOUL, the Blk. Night and Taynation are giving us the Soul and Funk we’ve been missing. The first single “Knock Em Out The Box” is an uptempo Funkfest that borrows from Hip Hop as well 80’s/90s Soul… with Akinyele and Leon setting the table for healthy dose of R&B. Gems on the project include “Sunshine”, “He Ain’t Me” and “Oh Yeah” Overall its an album full of soul reminiscent of the days of LeVert, Keith Sweat and 90’s Soul with sensual balladry and Uptempo burners. The chemistry between Akinyele’s precise production and songwriting paired with smooth vocals of Leon Taylor and Akinyele himself deliver some Grown Man Soul for the adults in the room. You can hear the influences of Johnny Gill and even a little R. Kelly come thru on the arrangements laced to appeal to the Real R&B Lovers. You are invited to the club..
~ T. MARTIN, RnBIn the D.WordPress.com
Club Soul debut EP out Now!! On SPotify, iTunes, TIDAL, Amazon and more!!