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Introducing Bashiri Asad's New Soul Series
Posted July 28, 2016 by Brett Alderman
WRITTEN BY
Brett Alderman
ON
July 28, 2016
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Nu-Soul Collective artist Bashiri Asad has been putting out quality soul music since 2010. With multiple albums to his credit, Asad has a deep connection to soul’s history, from legends like Otis Redding to Donny Hathaway. His most recent album, Proximity, was released earlier this year and showcases the various layers that have shaped his style and his continued pursuit of creating “life’s soundtrack.”

With a passion for spotlighting independent artists, Asad has created the IndySoul Suite. In partnership with Mass Ave’s Shiraz Wine Café, the first event will take place on Saturday July 30 (get details here). Featuring Brian Christopher, from Washington D.C., it’s expected to be a memorable night of good wine, food and soul music.

I was able to speak with him recently about the IndySoul Suite and here’s what he had to say.

Brett Alderman: What was the inspiration for IndySoul Suite?

Bashiri Asad: In other major music markets, there are genres of music represented. There are other artists that come through these genres, and come to town to showcase their talents and be introduced to those markets. With Indianapolis, the rock scene is really strong, the folk scene is strong and the hip-hop scene is really strong as well. The soul music scene isn’t represented as well as it could be, unless you’re talking about straight party dance stuff. That’s fine, but I believe for independent singer-songwriters in the soul and R&B genres, there’s a platform that could be had here. And there are fans of the genre, so why not bring them both together with the IndySoul Suite? Keep it small and introduce fans of soul music to other independent artists that are doing the same thing I do.

 

Alderman: How many acts do you plan on a given night?

Asad: I want to leave it for one featured artist, and let them be introduced to Indianapolis. I’m going to do this monthly. It gives them an opportunity to be introduced to other soul music fans or to people who may not know anything about independent soul music, just what they hear on the radio. Give those independent soul artists, from different regions of the country, a platform and an opportunity to grow their fan base here.

Alderman: Do you see that modern soul has changed much from the classics like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke?

Asad: What I love about soul music is that there are layers. There are different variations of soul music. You have contemporary R&B soul music that’s reminiscent of Babyface [an Indy native] or others from the '80s and '90s. Then you have your classic soul, which is getting revamped in a major way by artistls like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and The Right Now out of Chicago. Bruno Mars is even that classic soul music in his own way. There are lots of artists that are starting to bring it back, but there are different variations of soul music that are being represented. I’m loving the fact that people are wanting to bring the genre of soul back, but bringing it back in their own way. Other new soul artists like The Foreign Exchange, Eric Roberson, new contemporary soul like Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia, Jill Scott and people like that. Which is beautiful to me.

 

Alderman: Brian Christopher is from D.C. How did you decide to feature him for the first IndySoul Suite?

Asad: It’s interesting. Facebook brings everyone together, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. I was performing in a festival in Towson, Maryland (the Baltimore County African-American Cultural Festival), and he was performing on one of the stages as I was pulling up. He and I had chatted a little bit online; I told him I was going to be at the festival. I park and the first voice I hear is his. We hit it off right there and became friends. The same thing I’m doing in Indianapolis, he’s doing in D.C. He hosts an event called The Blend, where he spotlights independent R&B/soul artists, independent alternative musicians, country musicians – just independent music. His is a little more broad but the variety in genres are a little more prevalent out there than here, so I chose to focus on soul. He had me out to perform in 2013. I told him as soon as I get things going here in Indianapolis, you’ll be the first one I call. Sure enough, in partnership with Shiraz [Wine Café], he was more than happy to do it.

Brian Christopher

MFT: Will future IndySoul Suites be hosted at Shiraz?

Asad: For the foreseeable future, yes. I just like the vibe in Shiraz. It’s an intimate place. You mix that and the wine and beer and appetizers with some good R&B soul music, just good independent music, you create a unique atmosphere. I believe it can be successful. I’m excited about the possibilities.

Head here to purchase tickets for the first-ever IndySoul Suite.

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