Top Soulful House Artists of 2019
The Traxsource Soulful House Top 100 is a category that is home to some of the most well-respected DJs, artists and producers on the scene, as well as the place where you can find some of the most talented singers and musicians. Taking in influences from Soul, Gospel, R’n’B, Disco and Deep House, the Soulful House sound is defined by musicality, quality instrumentation and programming and above all, its authenticity. It’s a continuation of the soul music tradition, recreated in a contemporary style, and a sound that has continued to thrive and grow over the last twelve months. It's been a year characterised by strong song-writing and quality songs, two key components in the genre’s continuing success. So let’s see who made it into our Top 100 Soulful House Artists list of 2019.
20. Mark Di Meo
Producer, Remixer, DJ and label boss Mark Di Meo runs the excellent Soulstice imprint who put out plenty of quality house this year, including the crisp beats and deep chords of his Reelsoul collaboration ‘All That Matters’, the Rightside and Mark Di Meo remix of the sweet soul vocal track ‘Love Yourself’ by Soulista and Rona Ray and the heavy instrumental remix of ‘In The Name Of Jazz’ by Clementson. Looking forward, in 2020 Mark will be releasing a single on Defected.
19. DJ Beloved
The biggest news for DJ Beloved this year was his ‘Hopeless Romantic’ album. ‘L.O.V.E. U’ featuring Sheree Hicks and his remix of Will Downing’s ‘Do You Know’ are both taken from the album and both were big Soulful House dance floor tunes this year. His remix of Tasha LaRae and DJ Spen’s cover of the classic ‘I Wish I Didn’t Miss You’ was also a perfect summertime tune when it dropped in July.
18. Sean McCabe
Heavy-hitter Sean McCabe’s 2019 was packed full of quality Soulful House music, much of it via his Good Vibrations label. His remix of Groove Assassins’ ‘Lonely’ dropped in April to instant acclaim and his classic remix of ‘Rain Or Shine’ by Circle Of Funk and Mike City performed a similar trick later in the year. The latter was on Sean’s Good Vibrations Music label who also released their ‘Re-Vibrations - A Remix Collection’ in 2019, twelve tracks of remixes, unreleased tracks and DJ dubs with new versions of some of the labels most loved releases.
Michele Mingo & Andrea Tonici, better known as Italian DJ/production duo Micky More & Andy Tee are another act who’ve had big releases across a number of different genres over the last twelve months including House, Disco, Nu Disco and Soulful. Three remixes in particular were big for the pair in 2019: their take on Miguel Migs featuring Aya’s beautiful ‘So Far’, their funky feel-good mix of Richard Earnshaw ‘Feel Love’ and their floor-filling remix of Jestofunk’s ‘I’m Gonna Love You’.
16. DJ Spinna
DJ, producer, remixer and music historian, DJ Spinna can always be counted on to supply dancefloor-ready productions that DJs love to play and dancers love to dance to. Check out his remix of ‘Dance With You’ by Sunlightsquare with sweet-soul vocals from Omar or his spacey take on ‘Let It Fall’ from Lady Alma, The Rainmakers, David Harness, Chris Lum, Cecil and Relevant sound to hear the range of his production chops. Nathan Adams delivered a great vocal on Spinna’s ‘Closer’ on Groove Odyssey this year which did very well, as did the Galactic Soul remixes of ‘I Found Inside’ from Chris Forman, Damon Bennett, Peven Everett and Steal Vybe and Pulse’s ‘I’ll Be Alright’.
15. Mousse T
Aside from running his Peppermint Jam label, Club stalwart Mousse T spent this year as he has spent many others, turning out DJ-friendly house cuts across multiple genres, from House To Disco to Soulful and beyond. His ‘Melodie’ featuring Cleah was big on the Soulful scene as was his deep and driving remix of the classic song ‘I Need Your Lovin’ from Reel People with LaSharVu.
14. Groove Assassin
Well-respected UK producer Nick Moss, better known as Groove Assassin treated us to some killer original releases this year, like the anthemic ‘Wanna Luv U’, his dank ‘Whatcha Got’, ’Some Umph In It’ and dance floor clarion-call ‘Closer To Me’, all on his Things May Change label. The Groove Assassin remix of ‘Runnin’ Me Wild’ by David Bailey, Hanlei and Ziggy Funk from the Re-Vibrations Remix Sampler EP got lots of DJ charts and plays this year too.
We've had lots of great music in 2019 from Reelsoul including plenty on his label Reelsoul Musik which can always be counted on to deliver the Soulful goods. Then there was the Reelsoul and DJ Spen remix of Thomas Brenner and songstress Natasha Watts silky-smooth ‘Going On’, and he and Spen teamed up again to re-rub ‘Glorious’ by Terrence Parker and Damaged Goods with superb results. The Reelsoul cover of the Isley Brother’s soul classic ‘Harvest For The World’ sung beautifully by Nichelle Monroe was also really big for him this year, as was the Reelsoul remix of Giulio Bonaccio and Aaron K. Gray’s ‘David Dance’.
12. Richard Earnshaw
UK producer and DJ Richard Earnshaw is a familiar name on the Soulful scene, with his labels Duffnote and Guess Records both reliable brands that guarantee quality. In a year of great music, standout tracks for Richard have to include his extended revibe of Seamus Haji and Mekkah’s lush ‘Soul Love’ track and his stripped-down version of ‘For Those That Know Pt. 2’ by Reelsoul, Groove Junkies and Solara. Richard also turned in a rework of his own Spirt Chaser project release ‘Rendezvous’ which expertly trod the line between Deep and Soulful House, and his mix of Lee Wilson’s ‘Got To Love Pt. 2’ picked up plenty of DJ plaudits too.
11. Mark Francis
Pennsylvania born, New Jersey-bred DJ/producer Mark Francis put out a series of emotive Soulful House releases over the last twelve months. High-sheen restrained productions like his big release with Aaron K. Gray ‘Resting Place’ did very well for him this year. Remix-wise, Mark was on great form with remixes for George Lesley and Earl W. Green on their late-night pearl ‘Blow My Mind’, Monodeluxe and Jaidene Veda’s ‘Don’t Stop', Mike City and Ian Friday’s bittersweet ‘Used 2 Be’ and in collaboration with Crue Paris on Cee ElAssaad and Jackie Queens deeper-than-deep ‘All On You’.
2019 saw the return of premier Soulful House and Gospel outfit Jasper St Co. with their album ‘Rejoicing’, an inspirational collection of 11 songs which scooped the #2 slot on the Traxsource albums of 2019 list. Consisting of vocalists Randy Roberts, Vonita White and Richard Burton, and driven by producers Teddy Douglas and DJ Spen the album included appearances from Norma Jean, Dawn Tallman and Byron Stingily. The album was a big success and the ‘Praying For You’ single got some sharp remix treatment from Louie Vega.
9. Kelly G.
A brand new entry in the Soulful House artists chart, Kelly G had an amazing 2019, achieving a Soulful House #1 in the shape of the sublime ‘Feels Good’ which also just happens to be the #1 Soulful House track of 2019. His irresistible ‘Keep Wondering’ was also a really big tune in 2019 and also reached the Soulful House #1 spot. The Chicago producer and remixer put out Hammond-heavy ‘The Wedding Dance’ on T’s Box who also released his highly original remix package of @AuntMandasHouse’s ‘Sounds From 4603-36th Ave (Vol. 1)’. We’re looking forward to more of the same from Kelly G in 2020.
A great year for Chicago legend DJ Pope who jumped from #18 to #8 on the Traxsource Top 200 Soulful House Artists of 2019. This year Pope successfully launched his new label FunkHut Recordings whilst also continuing to put out quality house music on his POJI label with Oji. Stand out releases this year include the simple, effective groove of ‘Loving You’ on Soulfuric featuring Unqle Chriz, and DJ Pope’s biggest 2019 release, the disco-tinged Soulful cut ‘Celebrate Me’, which was graced with the sweet tones of Byron Stingily. He also turned in a couple of great re-takes of classic tunes, with his First Choice ‘Love Thang’ remix and his cover of the soul classic ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine’ in collaboration with Marc Evans.
7. Doug Gomez
New York’s Doug Gomez has six tracks in the 2019 Top Soulful House and plenty more in the Afro genre too. In a year of outstanding music, his pristine ‘You Gotta Believe’ with Lee Wilson and ‘Can’t Be With You’ with Earl W. Green and were big for Doug and he also turned in some killer vocal and dub remixes on Dennis Ferrer and K.T. Brooks’ ‘How Do I Let Go’. His jazzy take on Coflo and Lady C’s ‘Reasons’ also picked up serious DJ play this year. Keeping the best till last, Doug finished the year with the serious vibes of ‘Soulmate’ with Josh Milan and Antonion Ocasio on Tribal Winds.
6. Stacy Kidd
2019 was a seriously busy year for Chicago DJ, producer and label boss Stacy Kidd who released music on House 4 Life, Groove Odyssey, King Street Sounds, Quantize, S&S and more. His biggest track of the year was the euphoric peak-time floor-filler ‘Let Love Enter 2019’ with Michael Henderson, which was also the #2 Soulful House track of 2019. Stacy also dropped the huge Gospel-flavoured ‘Voodoo Ray’ with Ron Carroll, his ‘Heaven’s Child’ Gospel compilation, and ended the year with 8 tracks of classy Soulful House on his Remixes Album Vol. 2.
5. Terry Hunter
It was another strong year for one of the busiest men in house music Terry Hunter, who split his time between running his T’s Box label and putting out a series of killer remixes, ending the year with the launch of his latest label project Mirror Ball Recordings. On the remix front his instant-party-starter remix of Tamia’s ‘Leave It Smokin’ was a key release for him, as were his reworkings of Mood II Swing and Dawn Robinson’s ‘Get Up’ and Reel People’s ‘Buttercup’, both demonstrating that he’s a producer at the absolute top of his game. Aside from remixes he also produced Tarrey Torae’s anthemic ‘Freedom Ride’ and the funky ‘Holding On’ with Soulful royalty Barbara Tucker, both released on T’s Box.
Great to see Frankie Feliciano back to releasing more music in 2019 with a series of high-quality Soulful remixes. His silky smooth reworks of ‘Feels Like Home’ from MdCL and Ovasoul7, and Sean McCabe and Mike City’s ‘I Know Someone’ were particular standouts in 2019, as was Frankie’s gorgeously restrained take on Kenny Bobien and Ian Friday’s My Turn’. Frankie also remixed ‘Taken By Dreams’ from Timmy Regisford, Felicia Graham, Tiger Wilson on DJ Spen’s Quantize to great effect and will be maintaining the pressure in 2020 with the launch of his Ricanstruction Brand Limited label.
3. DJ Spen
Another stellar year for DJ and producer extraordinaire DJ Spen who’s got several tracks in the Top 200 Soulful House of 2019 list. Big news for Spen this year was the Jasper Street Co. album ‘Rejoicing’ produced alongside Teddy Douglas, an irresistible compilation of eleven killer deep and soulful cuts. He worked with Tasha LaRae on their sophisticated reworking of ‘Wish I Didn’t Miss You’ which came out on his Quantize Recordings, a label he runs alongside sister label Unquantize. Spen and Reelsoul’s remix of Thomas Brenner and Natasha Watts’ ‘Going Under’.
2. Joey Negro
Dave Lee is a producer with many aliases who wears many production hats and has been a consistent face in global dance music for many years now. As ever, Joey spent the year putting out top quality disco records but gets his number two spot in our Soulful House chart this year as he also scored four key Soulful House #1s in 2018. The Philly strings of his Mistura and Angela Johnson cut ‘Do You Love Me’ and Bobby D’Ambrosio and Michelle Week’s gorgeous Salsoulish ‘Moment Of My Life’ were particularly big and his remixes on Four80East and Cece Peniston’s gospel-tinged ‘Are You Ready’ and the classic Soulful sound of Sunkids and Chance's ‘Rescue Me’ picked up substantial sales and DJ traction as well.
1. Louie Vega
It is perhaps unsurprising to see Louie Vega still at the number one slot, for the second year in a row. His record this year speaks volumes about the sheer quality of his releases, including fourteen tracks in the Traxsource Top 200 Soulful House list, Big for Louie this year was his remix of one of disco’s most influential tunes, the Leroy Burgess/Universal Robot Band’s classic ‘Barely Breaking Even’, BBE's 500th Release. Of course Louie was the man for the job and he turned in a set of party-friendly re-rubs that updated the original while respecting its unique feel. Other stand out remixes by Louie this year included a killer set of remixes of soul legend Luther Vandross’ ‘My Body’ and his ‘Praying For You’ remixes for Jasper Street Co. made a huge impact. Louie also gave Sean McCabe & Dennis Winston’s big vocal tune ‘Rocket Love’ his own unique flavour too. Then there was his collaboration with The Martinez Brothers and Marc E. Bassy, ‘Let It Go’, a delicious slice of dance floor-soul, and his fire Kings Of House project with David Morales ‘Still Here’. And that’s before we even get to the fact that he also released a heap of top-notch Soul, Funk and Disco over the last twelve months, and picked up a #1 Afro House release too. All in a years work for Mr Vega, an artist whose place at the top is so very well deserved.