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Underappreciated R&B/Soul Artists

They Deserve More Acclaim ...

By

We all have them: singers whom we love, but whom others either don't know about or don't care for. Some artists, despite being bright, creative, talented and many other positives, just don't get the love or recognition that they deserve from the masses. And we all know that commercial success doesn't necessarily equal quality work, so with that in mind, this list is dedicated to the underappreciated R&B/Soul artists like Meshell Ndegeocello, Dave Hollister, Lizz Wright and Rahsaan Patterson who aren't big on the charts, but definitely are in our hearts.

Meshell Ndegeocello

Who She Is: Meshell Ndegeocello, whose birth name is Mary Johnson, is a highly experimental Soul artist and bass guitar player. She's best known for the semi-hit song "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)," from her debut album, Plantation Lullabies. She is known for tackling very serious issues in her music, such as religion, homosexuality, racism and sexism.
Her Claim to Fame: Perhaps her best-known and most critically accalaimed album is 1996's Peace Beyond Passion, which featured a very moving cover of Bill Withers' "Who is He and What is He to You."

Anthony David

Who He Is: Anthony David, whose full name is Anthony David Harrington, is a R&B/Soul singer from the Atlanta area. He is a good friend of music superstar India.Arie and has written material for her in the past. Anthony was the first artist signed to India's Soulbird Records, and his 2008 album Acey Duecy came out on the label in June 2008.
His Claim To Fame: The beautiful duet "Words," featuring India.Arie, from the Acey Duecy album.

Lizz Wright

Who She Is: Lizz is an American Jazz/R&B/Soul singer who has released three highly acclaimed, deeply substantive albums since 2003. She's known for her husky, sensuous vocals and intelligent, meaningful lyrics.
Her Claim To Fame: Her single "My Heart," from her 2008 album The Orchard, easily one of the best releases of the year.

Rahsaan Patterson

Who He Is: Rahsaan (his name is commonly mispronounced 'Rashaun') is a New York-born Soul singer and actor. He was named after Jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He got his start as a child actor, then released his debut album in 1997, at the age of 23.
His Claim To Fame: His fourth album, 2007's Wines & Spirits, which was the highest-debuting album of his career, reaching No. 42 on Billboard's R&B albums chart.

Goapele

Who She Is: Goapele (pronounced gwah-puh-LAY) Mohlabane is an American neo-Soul and R&B singer from northern California. She's a singer-songwriter and human rights activist based in the San Francisco Bay area. None of her three albums have come close to selling even half a million copies in the U.S., but she has won awards for her activism, if not her music.
Her Claim To Fame: A remix of her 2003 single "Got It," which features the rapper E-40, is the closest she's ever come to having a hit radio song, although it was mainly popular in the Bay Area.

Dave Hollister

Who He Is: If you're familiar with the mid-1990s R&B vocal group BLACKstreet, then you know who Dave Hollister is, and you know his work. In 1999, Hollister released his first solo album, Ghetto Hymns, which went gold, selling over half a million copies, and generated one hit single, "My Favorite Girl," which reached No. 10 on Billboard's R&B songs chart. But since then, none of his subsequent albums have come close to topping the charts, despite containing some high-quality work. In recent years, he's focused on making Gospel music.
His Claim To Fame: Being in BLACKstreet and the solo hit "My Favorite Girl."

Tamia

Who She Is: Tamia Hill (formerly Tamia Washington) is a Canadian-American singer originally from Ontario, Canada. Between 1997 and 2007 Tamia released four albums of clean, relatively wholesome R&B-pop and dance music and has been nominated for numerous Grammys, but has not yet won any. She is also the wife of NBA player Grant Hill.
Her Claim To Fame: Three Grammy-nomimated songs, all from 1994-95: "You Put a Move on My Heart," which she recorded when she was 19; "Missing You," a single from the soundtrack of the movie Set It Off that also featured the singers Brandy, Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight; and "Slow Jams," a duet with Babyface.

Donnie

Who He Is: Donnie is a young, Soulful R&B singer who happens to be a cousin of the late, great Marvin Gaye. He's released two albums, 2002's The Colored Section and 2007's The Daily News, neither of which was a commercial success, but both of which were lauded by music critics due not only to Donnie's strong, Soulful voice, but also his willingness to sing about many social issues that most singers avoid, like child abuse, suicide and homophobia.
His Claim To Fame: The Daily News, which is led by the upbeat single, "If I Were You."

Conya Doss

Who She Is: Cleveland songbird Conya Doss (yes, that's her real name) is sometimes called Soul music's best-kept secret. So, if she's so great, then why isn't she more known? Because she's chosen to go the independent route with her music, that's why. She's releases all her music on her own label, Conya Doss Songs. It may hurt her album sales, since she doesn't have a huge marketing machine behind her, but she also gets to keep most of the money from those sales, instead a small portion, like artists on major labels do.
Her Claim To Fame: Her 2002 debut album, A Poem About Ms. Doss, which she recorded while she worked a day job as a school teacher.

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