Album Only

Top Soul/Funk/Disco Artists of 2019

We ran our first ever Top Soul / Funk / Disco Artists chart last year as a reflection of the growing numbers of producers and artists who were releasing music in these foundational genres. The sheer quality of Soul / Funk / Disco releases this year demonstrate that we were definitely on the right track and we’re very happy to be compiling the list for the second year running. House music comes from Disco, which comes from Funk, which comes from Soul - it’s all connected and it’s been heartening to see new interpretations of older genres revitalizing dance floors around the world.

This year has seen many producers branching out into the slower tempos and looser feel of Funk music, the heart-wrenching vocals of Soul and the irresistible glitter and glamour that only Disco can bring. There are many young and up-and-coming producers making this kind of music too and the contemporary Soul / Funk / Disco scene has not looked this healthy in years. So here is our Top 100 Soul / Funk / Disco Artists of 2019.
75. FSQ
73. Zo!
68. KORT
39. Bosq
23. Kon
German producer Mousse T can always be relied upon to bring us the quality dance floor goodness, and he did it again this year across several genres, as well as being remixed in some quality projects too. Steve 'Silk’ Hurley, The Shapeshifters, Eli Escobar and Glenn Underground all retouched the Mousse T back catalogue in 2019. Meanwhile, Mousse T’s biggest Soul / Funk / Disco tune this year was his supa-phat West Coast remix of ‘Express Yourself’ from Jimi Polo.
Brooklyn-based producer, DJ, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and label-owner decided to opt for quality over quantity this year and gifted us with a single massive release, his low-slung soul-funk stalker ‘Yo Love’ featuring Adeline which dropped on Glitterbox. He also put out successful tracks across a number of different genres including Afro-House, Deep House and Nu Disco with releases and remixes on Z Records, Rock Steady Disco and Razor’N’Tape.
Cam Bianchetti, known to you and I as Late Nite Tough Guy dropped two seriously big Salsoul remixes this year: The Salsoul Orchestra’s ‘Ooh I Love It (Love Break)’ and Instant Funk’s ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’, both of them highly effective, dancefloor-friendly updates. He also dropped a heavy-duty remix of Qwestlife featuring Teni Tinks’ ‘Hit It Off’ which came out on the Glitterbox label.
UK producer Alan Dixon came on strong this year with fantastic releases on True Romance, Glitterbox, Lumberjacks In Hell and Midnight Riot and three tracks in the Soul / Funk / Disco Top 200. His ‘Rise & Shine’ featuring Franker Hooker and Maleka O’Ney did really well for him and his storming Glitterbox release ‘Bless Me Today’ hit hard too. Also, we have to mention Alan’s piano-disco gem, the excellently named ‘Patootie Tango’ that came out on True Romance.
Dutch production, DJ and live band trio Kraak & Smaak released several high charting singles leading up to the release of their well-received album ‘Pleasure Centre’ this year on Boogie Angst. Boogie Angst also put out their chilled take on MOODS’ ‘Comfortable’ featuring HIGH HØØPS whilst the Westwood label was home to their uptempo remix of ‘Party Rockin’ from The Funk Hunters. They also kept up the release pressure with music on Milk & Sugar Recordings, Bombstrikes, Papa and Reel People.
Dynamic Duo Qwestlife had a big Glitterbox release this year, the mighty ‘Hit It Off’ which came with a pair of Late Nite Tuff Guy remixes and which picked up some serious DJ attention. Glitterbox also put out the old-school ‘Fever’ with Sugarhill Gang, Siedah Garrett, GrandMaster Melle Mel and Scorpio. Keeping busy, Qwestlife also put out tunes on Midnight Riot and Tropical Velvet and we’re also looking forward to their imminent album release too.
French DJ and Producer had lots of releases on his labels Springbok and Plaizir in 2019 including the feel-good vibes of ‘Keep On Rockin’ and the driving disco of ‘Show 9’, both of which ended up in the Soul / Funk / Disco top 200. Other releases that performed particularly well this year were Stephane’s Black Ivory sampling ‘Deep Inside’, the smooth vibe of ‘I Need Your Love’ with vocals from Lydia Scarfo, and the filter-soul of his ‘Give It Up’ track.
One of the most original producers on the scene, 2019 was a big year of Soul / Funk / Disco releases for French Producer Ludovic Llorca. He turned in a superb re-rub of S3A’s ‘Friends’ on Dirt Crew and an equally quality remix of Reel People featuring Angie Stone’s ‘Don’t Stop The Music’. His irresistibly funky remix of Flevans featuring Laura Vane ‘Who’s Got Me’ was big for him too, as was his three-track ‘Reworks’ EP for wewillalwaysbealovesong.
The Vision are a collaboration between well-respected UK DJ and producer Ben Westbeech and underground hero DJ Kon. In 2019 they released what is without a doubt one of the biggest songs of the year, ‘Heaven’ on Defected, featuring a peerless vocal performance from Andreya Triana. The original was hot and the remixes proved hugely popular too, with Danny Krivit, Nightmares on Wax and Mousse T all putting their unique stamp on what was already a strong song.
Everyone’s favourite Disco-warrior-quartet Horse Meat Disco had a successful 2019 with two massive Disco releases. They kicked off their year with ‘Let’s Go Dancing’ featuring the awesome Amy Douglas and followed it up with ‘Falling Deep In Love’ which was graced with the sublime vocals of Kathy Sledge, both on Glitterbox. The Joey Negro remix of ‘Falling Deep In Love’ was also big for the boys this year who also turned in a solid remix for HiFi Sean and Paris Grey.
2019 was the year that DJ/producer Moplen really came to prominence with big remixes on Salsoul, SoSure, High Fashion and with a huge forthcoming remix of Knee Deep’s ‘Odyssey’ on Soulfuric Deep. His remix of T-Connection’s ‘Do What You Wanna’ and his four-track ‘Salsoul Moplen Reworks EP’ demonstrated his ability to expertly re-tool old grooves for contemporary dance floors.
After a big 2018 with his edit of ‘Pick Up’ by Dubplate Disco, producer, label boss and remixer Yam Who returned this year with another smash hit with HiFi Sean, the anthemic ‘Reachin’ featuring vocals from Minnie Gardner, which he released on his own Midnight Riot imprint. Midnight Riot also released the uplifting Yam Who? and Jaegerossa Vocal Remix of ‘Fire’ from Lenny Fontana featuring Shirley Lites, the driving disco of ‘Delirium’, another collaboration between Yam Who? and Jaegerossa with vocals from Jacqui George, and Raquel Rodriguez’s ‘Night’s Over’. With four tracks in the Top 200 Soul / Funk / Disco, Yam Who? and Midnight Riot remain a strong force in this scene.
A big year for the UK producer Simon Marlin whose touring schedule with the Glitterbox / Defected brand was heavy across Ibiza, London and beyond. With his massive ‘Try My Love (On For Size)’ still dominating this year’s charts. Simon delivered another instant-classic with ‘Life is a Dancefloor’ featuring Kimberly Davis on Glitterbox, and it was big all over this year, achieving steady sales and plenty of DJ support. It eventually reached #10 in the Traxsource overall chart and #3 in the Soul / Funk / Disco Top 200 chart. We anticipate a big year for Simon as he has been deep in the studio.
As ever Louie Vega appears on many of our end of year charts across several genres. In the Soul / Funk / Disco arena he had seven tracks in the final Top 200 including his follow-up to last year’s successful NYC Disco album on Nervous, ‘The 45s Vol 1’, a collection of 7-inch versions of his hits from the previous year. He took on the daunting job of remixing one of the biggest tracks in dance music history, Leroy Burgess, The Universal Robot Band and Patrick Adams’ ‘Barely Breaking Even’ and predictably did an extremely good job. He also recently dropped his NYE Excursions EP ‘Cosmic Witch’ featuring Anane on Nervous.
A producer who doesn’t really need any introduction, the man from Paris was still riding high in the charts this year with his ‘Chic Remix’ album that was released on Glitterbox last year. This year he treated us to a beautifully put together remix of Izo Fitzroy’s strong vocal track ‘I Want Magic’ on UK label Jalapeno and a hugely popular remix of Amy Douglas and Horse Meat Disco’s ‘Let’s Go Dancing’ on Glitterbox too.
Scandinavia's Peter Major a.k.a. Opolopo kept up a steady stream of quality productions over the last twelve months and ended the year with eleven tracks in the Soul / Funk / Disco Top 200 and two in the Top Overall Chart too. Check his supremely funky remix of Kraak and Smaak’s ’24HR Fling’ featuring Wolfgang Valbrun or his tasty re-rub of Sylvester’s ‘I Need You’, both were big on dance floors worldwide this year. Other key Opolopo releases include an updating of ‘Make Me (Go Crazy)’ by Change on Nova and a soulful remix of ‘Steal My Joy’ by Zo! with vocals from Tamisha Waden. He also found the time to drop an excellent and well-received DJ mix album ‘Poolside Ibiza 2019’ on Toolroom.
At the #4 slot we have widely respected remixer / producer / DJ John Morales, an artist who had a busy year both in the studio and touring Ibiza with the disco-tastic Glitterbox Parties. Big news for John this year was the release of this new album on Quantize, ‘All Q'd Up (Vol. II)’, a sparkling collection of original productions and remixes. With seven tracks in the Soul / Funk / Disco Top 200, his ‘I’m Giving All My Love’ featuring Natasha Watts and his uplifting remake of Jean Carn’s ‘Was That All It Was’ featuring a stellar vocal performance from Richard Burton were particular standouts this year.
King of the re-edit Dr Packer has spent a few years steadily rising to the top of the Soul and Disco scene and had a productive 2019 with two tracks in the overall chart of the year and an impressive thirteen tracks in the Soul / Funk / Disco Top 200 as well. To pick just a few choice cuts from a substantial quantity of releases and remixes, Dr Packer’s re-work of Loleatta Holloway’s Salsoul classic ‘Hit And Run’ and his conga-led take on Foreal People’s ‘Shake’ on Joey Negro’s Z Records were both big sellers for him this year. A classy laid back remix of Ed Wizards & Disco Double D’s ‘Heatwave’ and a high energy version of Michael Grey featuring Shelly Poole’s ‘Borderline’ also showcased his dance floor-targeted production approach to great effect.
One half of Full Intention, a couple of decades in the industry and a well-respected producer in his own right, Michael Gray’s dance music credentials are rock solid. 2019 was another very strong year for the veteran producer, and six of his tracks made it into the Top 200 Soul / Funk / Disco, two made it into the Traxsource overall top 200 releases and he also scored the overall Soul / Funk / Disco release in the shape of his update of Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ on his own Sultra Records. Other big tunes for him this year included a series of slick remixes; Mahogany’s ‘Ride On The Rhythm’ and Raw Silk’s ‘Just In Time’ on West End were both faithful retakes on the originals and he also turned in a huge remix of ‘Take Me To The Top’ by Advance on Sultra. Sultra was also home to Michael’s solo effort ‘Take Me Back’ which made serious waves on its release.
And there he is again at #1, one of the UK’s most prolific, reliable and genre-defining producers Mr Joey Negro. Once again he had big hits across several genres this year but his work in Soul / Funk / Disco was outstanding with thirty two, yes thirty two tracks in the Top Soul / Funk / Disco and ten in the overall chart. Joey’s original productions are instantly recognisable and always of the highest quality and his remixes and re-edits are pristine, sympathetic to the originals he reinterprets, and he’s one of the very best in the business at repurposing older tunes and reinvigorating them for a new audience. All of which you can clearly hear if you listen to his superb ‘Remixed With Love Vol III’ compilation which was huge for Joey this year. In a year packed with juicy releases, his Philly World Remix of MFSB’s underground disco classic ‘K-Jee’ from AC Soul Symphony’s was an absolute monster and we really loved his remix of Kathy Sledge guesting on Horse Meat Disco’s ‘Falling Deep In Love’ too. Then there was his club mix of Raquel Rodriguez’s ‘We Go Together’ and the Extended Rebuild of Doug Willis’ (another Joey Negro pseudonym) ‘Dancin 2020’, both are which are the epitome of contemporary dance floor soul music. With plenty of his music from previous years still selling strong alongside a year of superb Disco and Soul releases, Joey Negro sits at the top of the Traxsource Soul / Funk / Disco Artists for 2019.

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