Running round in circles I lost my focus, lost sight of my goals/I do this for the love of music, not for the glitter and gold." - India.Arie, "Little Things”
While the neo-soul sound got local exposure thanks to the efforts of local promotion groups such as Earthseed, Groovement and Chocolate Soul, which have hosted showcases and put together an indie compilation, Atlanta has lacked a consistent vehicle for getting the word out nationally.
With the emergence of acts such as India.Arie (who, rumour has it, was tagged as being ‘unplayable’ by MTV execs at the time) and Donnie, the green and temperate city of Atlanta has recently thrived as a cross roads for neo soul journeymen, and women, and freaky funk cats alike. An unassuming red building on a dead-end street in Midtown, the Yin Yang Cafe served as a home, school and church for the community of musicians throughout the 90’s.
With support from New York label Giant Step being an early championing voice for the Atlanta scene, it was only a matter of time before the melting pot of talent came to the forefront of the musical masses. Atlanta Soul; goes in deep and digs out some stone cold classic cuts from the main arena (Donnie, India, Cody and Van Hunt) as well as unearthing some phenomenal and, as ever in the soul series, some ground breaking talent. The neo soul banner simply isn’t big enough for this music…it goes way beyond:
"Because American Negroes have inspired every type of music there is in the United States -- blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll, country, gospel, hip-hop, house, techno. Don't try to classify me, pigeonhole me. Don't put me here, or put me there, just put me out there." - Donnie