Who stole the soul?

White man pinched the blues and developed Rock N’ Roll but it’s never been quite so easy to steal the soul. Whether it’s in the timbre of the delivery or the content of the songs, soul music generally sounds more authentic when it’s black.

Of course there are major exceptions and no racial boundaries to any music, if I wanted to make any more radical generalisations I’d suggest that the biggest cross-over hits will generally come from white artists whatever the genre. I could also get into the gender politics of it all and point out that if you want to be a big star at the moment then you will be a pop soul singer and preferably female. I’m sure I don’t need to name names.

This debate may be better saved for another day, I came here to sing the praises of new soul. It is always reassuring to be able to tip acts with connections to the Midlands and I do not hesitate to give repeat references to Jacob Banks and Laura Mvula. In the case of the latter you can hear real originality and a quirky approach to writing and performing, perfectly exemplified by the current single Green Garden.

Laura could be the slow-burning intelligent pop success story of the year and it’s no great act of prophecy to claim that she’ll be a star, she already is. Jacob is developing along similar lines, his voice is rich and the material is blooming. I can’t help but think his time is coming.

The beauty of his approach for me is his ability to deliver on many levels, the glossily produced as well as the simple live acoustic. Both have equal power and beauty.

Jacob and Laura have greatness ahead of them, maybe even BRIT Awards by this time next year. Remember that I said this, I’m likely to forget.

Flip over the page break for two covers.

From my point of view there’s little point in covering a song unless you can add something or re-interpret it. I have no issues with either of these, the sign of great talent: