Why Him? His passionate, down-home style of singing epitomizes what real Soul music is all about. He's sort of a modern-day Otis Redding - only better.
Essential Song: "Do You Feel Me?," from the American Gangster soundtrack, 2007.
Essential Album: Comin' From Where I'm From, 2003.
Why Her?: Her expressive, golden voice is incredibly dynamic and powerful. Her vocals can be matched be very few living singers, among them Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan.
Essential Songs: "Real Love," 1992; "Not Gon' Cry," from the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, 1996; "Be Without You," 2005.
Essential Album: All of them.
Why Him?: Ra is one of the best, yet most underrated Soul artists of the past 20 years. His contributions to neo-soul - and Soul music in general - have helped push the genre ahead tremendously.
Essential Song: "100 Yard Dash," 2007; "Dance Tonight" (with Lucy Pearl), 2000; "(Lay Your Head on My) Pillow" (1993) and "The Blues," (1989) both with Tony! Toni! Toné!.
Essential Album: The Way I See It, 2008.
Why Him?: Not only does his smoky, soulful voice sound incredible, but his piano and guitar playing are also excellent.
Essential Songs: "Brown Sugar," "Lady" and "Crusin'," all from his multi-platinum 1995 debut album.
Essential Album: Brown Sugar, 1995.
5. Joss Stone
Why Her?: Next to Amy Winehouse and Teena Marie, she's the most commercially successful white female Soul singer ever. And she still hasn't even reached her full potential yet.
Essential Songs: Fell in Love with a Boy," (a cover the White Stripes' "Fell In Love With A Girl") 2004; "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now," feat. Common, 2007.
Essential Album: The Soul Sessions, 2003.
Why Him?: Maxwell was one of the most lauded and commercially successful neo-soul artists of the late 1990s and early 2000s. He hasn't released a new album since 2001, though.
Essential Songs: "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" and "'Til The Cops Come Knockin'" from his 1996 debut album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite.
Essential Album: MTV Unplugged (a must-have eight-song EP), 2007.
7. Leela James
Why Her?: Her rich, gritty vocals sound like a modern version equivalent of classicly powerful singers like Chaka Khan and Tina Turner.
Essential Song: "Music," from her 2005 debut album, A Change is Gonna Come.
Essential Album: A Change is Gonna Come.
Why Him?: Rahsaan might not be a household name like some of the others on this list, but he's just as Soulful. Sometimes he carries so much pain in his voice, you'd almost think that somebody just shot his mama.
Essential Songs: "Oh Lord (Take Me Back)" and "Cloud 9," both 2007.
Essential Album: Wines & Spirits, 2007.
9. Joy Denalane
Why Her?: Because she's arguably the most talented Soul singer not from the United States. Ever.
Essential Song: "Change," feat. Lupe Fiasco, 2006.
Essential Album: Born & Raised, 2006.
Why Him?: Despite very little mainstream attention, Governor, who used to be signed to T.I.'s Grand Hustle label, has put out two very deep, spiritual Soul albums that exemplify the genre at its best.
Essential Song: "Blood, Sweat & Tears," 2006.
Essential Album: Son of Pain, 2006.
11. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Why Them?: Their latest release, 100 Days, 100 Nights is a brilliant throwback to the classic Soul sound of the 1960s and '70s.
Essential Song: "100 Days, 100 Nights," 2007.
Essential Album: 100 Days, 100 Nights.