We are extremely excited to announce that one of the most infamous UK Soul groups of all time, Soul II Soul, headline South East Soul Festival 2020 on Bank Holiday Saturday 29th August at Garon Park in Southend on Sea!
The Africa Centre was a game changer for Soul II Soul; for British black music; and for the nation’s youth culture in general. It caught the attention of Virgin Records, who signed them as an act in 1988, catapulting them into a tornado of success. The Soul II Soul sound was original, new, fresh, and infectious – above all, though, it was a UK thing. It represented what was going on all around it and alienated nobody. There was the Soul II Soul lifestyle too, with three shops in London selling clothing emblazoned with the Funki Dred logo, plus all manner of branded merchandising including clocks and jewellery. They even had a slogan “A happy face, a thumpin’ bass, for a lovin’ race.”
Soul II Soul have heldresident club nights all over the world; live concert tours; radio and TV appearances; Jazzie had his own show on London’s Kiss FM and there was even an Adventures of the Funki Dreds comic book. And, of course, Soul II Soul enjoyed the type of chart success – notably with ‘Keep OnMovin’ and ‘Back To Life’ – that made them household names all over the world.
To date Soul II Soul have sold over 10 million albums in over 35 territories worldwide and have product on over 200 compilation CDs while Jazzie has accreditation on over 35 million albums in over 100 territories. They’ve performed in over 20 countriesand appeared at some of the most famous venues in the world including Wembley and New York’s Universal Ample Theatre. America embraced Soul II Soul to such a degree, in 1990 they picked up two Grammy’s. Jazzie was given the keys to seven cities in the US, including LA and New York, and the NAACP has honoured him. There’s even a Soul II Soul day over there.
Into more recent times, musically Soul II Soul has kept itself contemporary – ‘Keep OnMovin’ was used for the high profile Renault Clio television ads. Mary J. Blige and Sean Kingston have both released cover versions of ‘Back To Life’; while Beverly Knight released her version of ‘FairPlay’ in 2011. A year later, ‘Back to Life’ was featured in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.
In 2008 there was royal recognition for the Funki Dreds when, after thirty years of dedication, Jazzie was awarded an OBE for services to music. The first sound man to be honoured by Her Majesty the Queen, and probably the most deserved investiture ever. Then in the same year Jazzie won the Ivor Novello Award for inspiration, and as he stepped up to accept the trophy he was announced as “the man who gave British black music a soul of its own”. 2012 saw Soul II Soul receive the PRS for Music Heritage Award with a special plaque erected on The Electric (formerly The Fridge) in Brixton, where the group played their first live gig in 1991.
In 2018 Soul II Soul embarked on a landmark tour of the UK marking 30 years of hugely influential success, paying tribute to their legendary debut album, ‘Club Classics Vol 1’ and are currently headlining festivals and performing live at events throughout the UK and Europe.
South East Soul Festival is super excited to welcome one of the biggest soul music groups to Garon Park in Southend on Sea on Bank Holiday Saturday 29thAugust 2020. This event will sell out so please get your tickets early!