With a little inspiration from my partner, I decided to put together a little list of Black British music artists (mainly 90s with a couple 00s thrown in), I grew up listening to who still gives me all the feels!
Heather Small (M People)
Kicking it off with Heather Small from the band M People. For me, she had the most strong and distinctive voice of the 90s era. She also had a distinctive style – her iconic high top curly updo and often donning bright blue eyeshadow! Moving On Up was one of the band’s most successful songs. Search For The Hero is also another personal favourite of mine.
M People’s style of music would be described as House with classic Soul (which is apparent with Heather’s vocals). Dance and House were really big in the 90s – they gave this genre a new classy feel which led them to be one of the most successful acts of the decade.
Beverley Knight is a national treasure and has been on the scene since 1994! She is heavily influenced by American soul artists such as Aretha Franklin and this can be heard through her music. Greatest Day is one of her best hits but for me Keep This Fire Burning (one of her newer, punchier tracks is one I have on repeat).
Soul II Soul
When someone uttered the words ‘Back to Life‘ you knew what was coming next! Not strictly a ’90’s song’ as this was actually released in May 1989. Moreover, it was number 1 in the UK charts for four weeks during June and July of the same year. However, my mum used to play this song all the time long after it was released and it’s a certified classic.
For reasons I’m not entirely sure, I thought this group were American, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were indeed British!
This R&B girl group was made up of three sisters – Cleo, Yonah and Zainam and their hit single ‘Cleopatra’s Theme‘ went straight to number 3 in the UK Charts. This song brings the biggest smile to my face and feels me with such glee! I feel like such a kid when I hear this! This trio also had a show on CITV called ‘In The House With Cleopatra & Friends‘ (and you can bet I was glued to the TV!)
I Wanna Be the Only One – is another classic I heard blaring out of our Hi-Fi on a regular basis! Eternal is an R&B girl group first formed in 1992 made up of two sisters Easther Bennett, and Vernie Bennett as well as Kéllé Bryan and Louise Nurding (now Louise Radknapp). Louise left shortly before the second album and the band remained a trio giving us some of the best R&B the UK had to offer!
So I don’t know if you know this but, Robin S – the singer of one of the best House songs is actually American! I genuinely thought Robin S was British due to how much this song is part of our dance culture. But, as far as I am concerned, she is an honorary Brit so she makes the cut!
Show Me Love is a guaranteed floor filler and when she drops that first extended ‘ohhhh’ (and it’s a long one) I feel like time stops and you are completely in the moment. Can you believe that she had the flu when she recorded this track? If only I could sing that well without a cold!
Architechs & Nay Nay
Body Groove is a smooth, sultry yet bouncy garage tune. This song has a firm place amongst other garage classics like ‘Rewind’ and ‘Do You Really Like It?’. This song reminds me of the house parties my family used to throw for birthdays or, sometimes for no reason at all! This track went Gold in the UK and reached number 2 on the charts.
Kele Le Roc
Kele le Roc is the 90s. Her slow jam of ‘My Love’ peaked at number 8 in the UK charts and has been remixed many times over; there are two garage remixes, a club mix and my personal favourite by the music producer trio Ignorants! My Love (Ignorants Remix) is a true hidden gem, it gives serious Missy Elliott/ Timbaland vibes and the switch up at the end is trippy and eclectic! Whenever I play it, people always ask me for the Spotify link (but it’s ultra-exclusive as it’s not on Spotify, you’ll need Soundcloud or YouTube for this one).
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Veema is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Dark Hues Magazine. She has strong interests theatre, music and visual art.
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