Soul II Soul

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Soul II Soul
Original line-up (left to right): Aitch B, Rose, Jazzie Q, Doreen, Jazzie B, Caron, Daddae
Background information
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres Soul,[1] neo soul,[2] dance,[3] R&B,[3] rap,[1][3] British soul,[4] reggae[1]
Years active 1988–1997, 2007–present
Labels Virgin/EMI Records
Members Jazzie B
Caron Wheeler
MC Chickaboo
Past members Doreen Waddell
Rose Windross
Victoria Wilson James
Lamya Al-Mugheiry
Melissa Bell
Tony "Dobie" Campbell
Kym Mazelle
Aitch Bee
Jazzi Q
Gota Yashiki
Simon Law
Nellee Hooper
Penny Ford
Charlotte Kelly
Marcia Lewis

Soul II Soul are a British musical group formed in London in 1988. They are best known for their 1989 UK chart-topper and US Top 5 hit "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)". They won two Grammy Awards, and have been nominated for five Brit Awards – twice for Best British Group.[5]


The group initially attracted attention as a sound system, playing records at house and street parties (where their clothing style, dubbed "Funki Dred", started a line of clothing). Founded by Jazzie B and featuring a changing roster of other musicians – notably Penny Ford, Nellee Hooper, Simon Law, Phillip 'Daddae' Harvey and Caron Wheeler – Soul II Soul's experiments in music-making of their own resulted in the dub plate "Fairplay," which secured them a recording contract with Virgin Records.

Their first singles in 1988 failed to make the UK Top 40, but the group went on to commercial success in 1989 with the singles "Keep on Movin'" and "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)", which topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks, and was the fifth best-selling single in the UK that year. Both tracks, which featured Wheeler on vocals, were taken from their debut album Club Classics Vol. One which reached number 1 in the UK Albums Chart and was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. In July 1989, the British music magazine, NME, reported that Soul II Soul had to pull out of their scheduled live appearance on BBC Television's Top of the Pops programme, following a dispute with the programme's producer.[6]

The group also had some success in the United States, where "Back To Life" reached the Top 10 and was certified platinum, and the album (renamed as Keep on Moving for the US market) reached the Top 20 and sold over two million copies. The group also won two Grammy Awards; Best R&B Performance by a Duo Or Group With Vocals for "Back To Life", and Best R&B Instrumental for "African Dance".

Their follow-up album, Vol. II: 1990 – A New Decade, yielded two Top 10 hits, "Get a Life" and "A Dream's a Dream", the latter featuring vocals by Victoria Wilson James. This album also reached number 1, and was certified platinum by the BPI, and reached the Top 30 in the US where it was certified gold. In April 1990, Soul II Soul got three US Soul Train awards.[7] In 1992, Penny Ford and Charlotte Kelly became the primary lead singers of the group. The band had one more Top 10 in 1992 with "Joy", taken from their third album Vol. III: Just Right, which itself peaked at number 3 and was certified gold by the BPI.

Their greatest hits album, Volume IV: The Singles 88–93, was released in late 1993 and peaked at number 10. Soul II Soul reached Volume V of their series of albums for Virgin in 1995, which peaked at number 13. The album featured "Love Enuff" (lead vocals by Penny Ford) and "I Care" (lead vocals by Charlotte Kelly). They then moved to Island Records and released two more albums in 1997, Volume VI Time for Change, peaking at number 80,[8] and the remix album, which failed to chart. The group then virtually disbanded for some years, but reformed for various live dates in the 2000s.

In 2002, Doreen Waddell, a former singer with Soul II Soul living in Hove, died after being hit by three cars while fleeing from a shoplifting incident. The 36-year-old, who left a 4-year-old son, sang lead vocals on Feel Free and Happiness (Dub), and backing vocals on other tracks, on the album Club Classics Vol. One. On 2 December 2008, a radio programme about Soul II Soul was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

The Soul II Soul Sound System featuring Caron Wheeler toured Australia nationally in February 2009. They played the Playground Weekender Festival near Sydney. Soul II Soul performed live at the Yasalam free concerts in conjunction with the 2009 Formula 1TM Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix celebrations in October 2009. In 2010, Soul II Soul reunited for a reunion tour with lineup consisting of: Jazzie B, Caron Wheeler, Rose Windross, Kym Mazelle, Charlotte Kelly, Aitch B, and MC Chickaboo.

After the conclusion of the reunion tour, Charlotte continued to tour with group as the lead singer. In 2013, Charlotte exited from the group and Caron Wheeler rejoined the group.

Members timeline[edit]


Awards and nominations[edit]

American Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/Work Award Result
1990 Soul II Soul Favorite Soul/R&B Band/Duo/Group Nominated
"Keep on Movin'" Favorite Soul/R&B Single Nominated
Soul II Soul Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist Nominated
"Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" Favorite Dance Single Nominated
Soul II Soul Favorite Dance New Artist Nominated

BRIT Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/Work Award Result
1990 Club Classics Vol. One Best British Album Nominated
Soul II Soul Best British Group Nominated
Soul II Soul Best British Newcomer Nominated
"Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" Best British Single Nominated
1991 Soul II Soul Best British Group Nominated

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/Work Award Result
1990 Soul II Soul Best New Artist Nominated
"Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Won
"African Dance" Best R&B Instrumental Performance Won
1993 "Mood" Best R&B Instrumental Performance Nominated

Juno Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/Work Award Result
1991 "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" Best International Single of the Year Nominated

Soul Train Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/Work Award Result
1990 "Keep on Movin'" Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Song of the Year Won
Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Single, Group, Band, or Duo Won
Keep on Movin' Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Album, Group, Band, or Duo Won
Soul II Soul Best R&B/Urban Contemporary New Artist Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c George-Warren, Holly; Romanowski, Patricia, eds. (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (3rd ed.). Fireside. p. 915. ISBN 0-7432-9201-4. 
  2. ^ "Caron Wheeler: Soul Survivor". Musician (171-176): 13. 1993. ...Caron Wheeler took the world by storm in the summer of '89 as the lead singer and visual centerpiece of the neo-soul band Soul II Soul. 
  3. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Soul II Soul – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Henderson, Alex. British Soul at the Wayback Machine (archived 9 December 2010). AllMusic. Rovi.
  5. ^ Soul II Soul BRITS Profile. BRIT Awards Ltd. Retrieved 26 January 2013
  6. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 458. CN 5585. 
  7. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 469. CN 5585. 
  8. ^ "UK Charts > Soul II Soul". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 

External links[edit]