What Is Soul Music?

What is soul music?

Soul music is R&B with a heavy gospel influence. The urban community uses cultural terms such as:

  • R&B with some church in it!
  • When you take R&B to church!
  • R&B sung from your soul!
  • Music sung from your gut!

The white mainstream community defines it as:

“a fervent type of popular music developed in the late 1950s by Black Americans as a secularized form of gospel music, with rhythm-and-blues influences, and distinctive for its earthy expressiveness, variously plaintive or raucous vocals, and often passionate romanticism or sensuality. Also called soul.”


Some soul/r&b music sounds like gospel music. Some gospel music sounds like soul/r&b music. As a result, no other music can be called soul because no other music is sung from your soul and fills your spirit the same way as r&b and gospel. Our award-winning Soulful Stirring Gospel radio station is thus named because the song playlist is composed of gospel music that stirs your soul.

“the heart is the location of the human soul and life force”


The music touches your soul. It touches your spirit. It’s charged with emotions. For instance, it emits feelings of sorrow, joy, entrancement, calmness, excitement, and/or adoration from your heart. It’s impactful.

“Soul music has some very unique features that are not evident in other genres. For one thing, it is designed to convey strong emotions and typically has deep, meaningful lyrics created for this purpose. Its roots are from old gospel played in southern churches in the United States.”

Swan Vocals

“What are 3 characteristics of soul music?

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What is soul music?

  • gospel influence – intense vocals, call and response.
  • an emphasis on the rhythm section.
  • large horn sections (trumpets, saxophones and trombones)”


10 Ways To Best Describe Soul R&B

How can you describe soul music in words?

  1. Raw
  2. Rhythmic
  3. Political
  4. Spiritual
  5. Inspirational
  6. Motivational
  7. Relatable
  8. Emotional
  9. Expressive
  10. Bluesy

Urban music has influenced many sub-genres and cultures. Although it’s origins derive from the African-American community, the white culture in particular, has done a great job of appropriating it. Who are some white musicians who have emulated the r&b soul sound?

10 White Artists Who Have Appropriated Soul R&B Music

Are there white R&B artists?

  1. Teena Marie
  2. Robyn Thicke
  3. Michael McDonald
  4. Jon B
  5. Post Malone
  6. Bobby Caldwell
  7. Simply Red
  8. Justin Timberlake
  9. Sam Smith
  10. Adele

We actually thought some of these performers were actually white before seeing them. All of these artists either charted on R&B Soul charts or were played on urban contemporary radio.

White artists even have a sub-genre, blue-eyed soul, attached to them.

Of course, white artists who sing black soul outsell urban black artists in their own genre. No surprises there. This is basically stating to Black American musicians that white/mainstream audiences love urban music but don’t care for urban artists. In other words, whites would rather support their own race as far as going to concerts and buying the music. They don’t want to watch black artists. They don’t want to listen to black artists. Instead, they’ll dress like them, emulate their looks and dance moves, and throw something out there that passes as semi-authentic.

There is no way to become a soul singer. They can try, but soul isn’t taught or developed. You’re born with soul it and it’s honed in the church. Obviously, the artists listed come close, but no dice. Moreover, most of them were produced by black producers or studied soul from a young age to gain a semblance of sounding soulful.”What race is Bobby Caldwell?   

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 Executives at the label wanted to conceal the fact that Caldwell was white, so they kept his face off the album cover. When he toured with Natalie Cole to support the album, most of the audience was black and many were surprised that Caldwell was white.” Wikipedia