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Recommended British Soul and R&B

Nine Essential Artists ...

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R&B and Soul music may have originated and been molded in the United States, but the U.S. isn't the only place on earth where great Soul and Rhythm & Blues singers have come from. In 2007, British Soul and R&B made a big comeback in the U.S., led by artists like Corinne Bailey Rae and Amy Winehouse. So if you've found your interest piqued by America's cousin on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, check out this list, which recognizes, salutes and recommends some of the great contemporary artists who make quality Soul and R&B (or RnB, if you're British) music.

Estelle

Estelle Swaray, who's from West London but now lives in New York, is an R&B/hip-hop singer and occasional rapper. Her debut album, The 18th Day, was released in Europe by V2 Records in 2004. She's currently signed to Homeschool Records, which is owned and operated by John Legend and distributed by Atlantic Records. Her second album, Shine, which was actually her debut U.S. release, came out in April 2008.
Essential Album: 2008's Shine, which was one of the best R&B albums of the year.
Essential Songs: "American Boy," (featuring Kanye West), from Shine; and "Do My Thing," (feat. Janelle Monae) from her 2012 album, All of Me.

Alice Russell

Alice Russell is easily and by far the least known person on this list to American audiences. But like Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse, she's one of the members of a newer wave of British Soul/R&B artists who grew up listening to - and were very influenced by - '60s and '70s Motown artists. She's barely gotten got any notice on this side of the pond, which is a shame, since she's got virtually the same amount of talent as similar, but more successful British soul singers like Adele.

Essential Album: Pot of Gold, which dropped in the U.S. in December 2008.
Essential Song: "I'll Keep My Light in My Window," which appears on Look Around the Corner, her 2012 album of collaborations with producer Quantic, who's also a Brit.

Joss Stone

Cover © Virgin records.
Joss Stone is probably the best known of the current crop of R&B and Soul singers from the United Kingdom. Joss has so far released five albums, with her most recent, LP1 having come out in July 2011, a few months after her 24th birthday.
Essential Album: The Soul Sessions, a collection of cover songs.
Essential Song: "Tell Me Bout It," a track off Introducing Joss Stone that helped Joss shed her image as an innocent teenage retro singer.

Amy Winehouse

Album cover © Universal Republic.
The late, great Amy Winehouse, like Joss Stone, was a young British woman who grew up with a great deal of affection for 1960s and '70s-era American Soul music. Although Amy's debut album, Frank, was a jazz album with a little hip-hop mixed in, her second album, Back to Black was an ode to the R&B/doo-wop girl groups of the 1950s.
Essential Album: 2006's Back to Black (which was released in the U.S. in 2007).
Essential Song: "You Know I'm No Good," from the Back to Black album.

The Brand New Heavies

Cover © Delicious Vinyl.
The Brand New Heavies formed in the mid-1980s in a suburb of London. All the band's members are British with the exception of singer N'Dea Davenport, who's from the American city of Atlanta. The band's first hit in the United States was their 1991 self-titled album that included the hit single "Never Stop." The band remains active today and its most recent album, Get Used to It was released in 2006.
Essential Album: The self-titled Brand New Heavies.
Essential Song: "I Don't Know Why (I Love You)," from the Get Used to It album.

Jamie Lidell

Jamie Lidell, who's from Cambridge, England, started out as an electronic artist, but found his voice as a Soul singer on his 2005 album Multiply, which went triple-platinum in the United Kingdom. His vocal and music styles have been compared to Otis Redding, Prince and Sly & the Family Stone, among others.
Essential Album: 2008's Jim.
Essential Song: "Multiply," from the album of the same name, is highly recommended by your R&B Guide.

Hil St. Soul

Cover © Shanachie Records.
Hil St. Soul (pronounced Hill Saint Soul), is a London-based Soul music duo featuring vocalist Hilary Mwelwa, who's originally from the African nation of Zambia; and British producer Victor Redwood-Sawyerr. Their music is recommended if you like Dwele, Amel Larrieux, Kem and other indie R&B/Soul artists.
Essential Albums: 2006's SOULidified and 2004's Copasetik & Cool.
Essential Song: "Pieces," from Copasetik & Cool.

Craig David

Album cover © Atlantic Records.
Craig David has sold a combined total of about 13 million albums across the globe, despite not being a superstar in the United States. He's best-known in the U.S. for his widely successful debut album, 2000's Born to Do It, which featured his first hit single "Fill Me In."
Essential Album: Born to Do It.
Essential Song: "Fill Me In."

Lemar

Album cover © MSI Music.
Lemar Okiba, professionally known as just Lemar, is a singer of Nigerian descent who was raised in London. Although virtually unknown in the United States, Lemar has had a string of top 10 hit songs in the United Kingdom. He got his big break in 2002, when he appeared on the TV talent search show Fame Academy. Although he came in third, that was enough to help him get a recording contract.
Essential Album: 2006's The Truth About Love.
Essential Song: "Dance (With U)," which peaked on the British singles chart at No. 2 in 2003. It's the highest-charting single of Lemar's career thus far and is on his debut album, Dedicated.
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