Traxsource Top 100 Soulful House Artists of 2016

2016 was a great year for the sweet, soulful side of the House music spectrum. With DJs and audiences across the globe looking for that little bit more from their favorite artists, the past 12 months has seen a slew of soulful releases that have not only shaken up the world’s dance floors, but even saw a Grammy nomination for one artist! Real House music has always been based on killer song writing, so here is our take on those artists who really excelled in the soulful scene in 2016.

100: Hideo Kobayashi
99: Fuminori Kagajo
98: Jonny Montana
97: Tyrone Francis
96: DJ Kemit
95: Angelo Ferreri
94: Sahib Muhammad
93: Seb Skalski
92: Neal Conway
91: Johan S
90: Greg Gauthier
89: Sean Ali
88: Joe Claussell
87: Souldynamic
86: Steve Stone
85: Peppe Citarella
84: Namy
83: Dj Jacko
82: Ricky Morrison
81: Steve Silk Hurley
80: Quentin Harris
79: Giulio Bonaccio
78: Teddy Douglas
77: Luis Radio
76: Ralf GUM
75: Sol Brown
74: Jihad Muhammad
73: Ezel
72: Benji Candelario
71: The Journey Men
70: Yass
69: Mark Francis
68: OtherSoul
67: Antonello Ferrari
66: Soulbridge
65: Muzikman Edition
64: The Rhythm Sessions
63: Hallex M
62: DJ Pope
61: Vick Lavender
60: Timmy Regisford
59: Roland Clark
58: Cassio Ware
57: RedSoul
56: Paul Trouble Anderson
55: Soulmagic
54: Thomas Blondet
53: Husky
52: John Morales
51: Shino Blackk
50: Soulful Session
49: Kerri Chandler
48: Adam Rios
47: Marc Cotterell
46: Random Soul
45: Mike Dunn
44: Micky More & Andy Tee
43: Kenny Carpenter
42: Moon Rocket
41: Luyo
40: Wipe the Needle
39: Earl Tutu
38: John Khan
37: Rocco
36: DJ Spinna
35: Glenn Underground
34: Booker T
33: Mood II Swing
32: Ian Friday
31: Mark Di Meo
30: DJ Beloved
29: Atjazz
28: Ross Couch
27: Soulfuledge
26: Michele Chiavarini
25: Thommy Davis
24: Gary Hudgins
23: Groove Assassin
22: Reel People
21: Richard Earnshaw

20: Jamie Lewis

Purple Music label owner Jamie Lewis enjoyed a fantastic 2016 with a constant stream of top quality releases throughout the year. His updated re-rub of the Midnight Star classic ‘Midas Touch’ found its way into the sets of many of the scene’s most discerning DJs & with further remixes of the likes of such luminaries as Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk, Lisa Millett & the mighty Giorgio Moroder, it’s safe to say that Jamie cemented his place deep within the roots of the soulful scene in 2016.

19: David Morales

Arguably one of the greatest remixers of all time, Morales showed no signs of slowing down in 2016 with heavy hitting remixes and releases throughout the year on Defected, Rekids, and of course, Def Mix Music. Stand out moments included his remix of ‘Found Love’ by Blind Colors, his update of the classic ‘Feelin U’ with Sonny Fodera and the delectable Yasmin on vocals, plus his smash 11-track Afro beat long player ‘The Evolution’.

18: Opolopo

Talented Hungarian-born musician Opolopo was the main name on my people’s lips in 2016. His unique DJ sets with live keyboards & vocoder saw him play all over the world alongside his smash hit ‘ZigZagging’ compilation & mix for Joey Negro’s Z Records. His remix of the Leroy Burgess smash ‘Barely Breaking Even’ was a huge hit with DJs and dance floors alike, whilst his afro influenced ‘Transformation’ saw his musicality perfectly purveyed in one serious slice of soulful goodness.

17: Kenny Dope

One man you simply can’t keep out of the studio or the DJ booth is Kenny Dope, whose release and touring schedule in 2016 showed no sign in slowing down after three decades in the game. His work with R&B star Raheem DeVaughan on ‘Queen’ on his very own Dopewax imprint caused damage wherever it was dropped, whilst ‘Piano Groove’ was one of the most hypnotic and distinctive releases of the year.

16: DJ Fudge

Frenchman DJ Fudge and his sublime label Tejal enjoyed a hugely successful 2016. The distinctive sounds of ‘Ahora Es’ ensured repeated plays on the sunniest of outside arenas, whilst his work on ‘My Love is Pure’ with Hallex M and Tastita D’Mour on Bobby and Steve’s Groove Odyssey imprint showed that sweet soulful songwriting is alive and well in 2016.

15: Josh Milan

One half of the legendary Blaze production team, Josh Milan and his Honeycomb Music label fired out a constant stream of top quality releases throughout 2016. Featuring some of the best vocalists in the game such as Dawn Tallman and Temika Moore, ‘He Still Loves’ with Kia Stewart was one of the stand out soulful releases of year and was repped hard by the likes of DJ Spinna, Ralf Gum, Mr V and Terrence Parker.

14: Zepherin Saint

Tribe Records label boss Zepherin Saint was at the top of his game in 2016 with a serious release schedule that blew the soulful scene apart over the past 12 months. With releases from the likes of Timmy Regisford, Djeff Afrozila, Sean McCabe and Souldynamic, his very own re-working of the classic gospel hit ‘Optimistic’ with Ann Nesby and 3G on Reel People Music really set the standard in the soulful scene in 2016.

13: Terry Hunter

Chicago House legend Terry Hunter spent 2016 doing what he’s been doing for over 20 years; releasing top quality soulful sounds and smashing the world’s dance floors. His imprints ‘T’s Box’ and ‘T’s Crates’ saw a slew of releases throughout the year, culminating in one of 2016’s best soulful releases with the 4-track ‘The Remixes’ package with neo soul legend Jill Scott.

12: Reelsoul

The name says it all, but Reelsoul took 2016 by the horns and dropped track after track of seriously soulful sounds throughout the year. With releases on such luminary labels as King Street, Night Grooves and SOLE Channel Music, stand out moments included his remix of Kelvin Sylvester’s ‘You’re in my System’ featuring the vocals of Lee Wilson and his delicious re-rub of ‘Into the Light’ by Marc Cotterell and Doreen Younglove on Plastik People Digital.

11: Eric Kupper

House music legend Eric Kupper was on fine form throughout 2016, with a steady stream of releases and remixes on his very own Hysteria label. Stand out moments included his updated re-rub of Sterling Void’s stone cold classic ‘It’s All Right’, the lush orchestral production of ‘Yes You Do’ with Lunare Project and the mighty remix of Marko Militano’s ‘Good People’ with the late, great Frankie Knuckles.

10: Dave Anthony

London Town’s very own David Anthony made 2016 his own this year with a sea of releases on DJ Spen’s Quantize Recordings. His ‘Emotive’ album featured a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the soulful scene, with collaborations with Byron Stingly, Lisa Millett and Stephanie Cooke, whilst his 4-track EP ‘We Can Rise’ with DJ Spen on MoBlack Records received heavy-hitting support across the globe.

9: Demarkus Lewis

One of the hardest working men on the House music scene, Demarkus Lewis’ trademark beats and bumping bass dominated dance floors in 2016. His Grin Music label continued to go from strength to strength, with Aspire Sound’s ‘Axis Turnt’ and ‘Catch the Light’ with Martha Walsh turning heads of the scene’s more discerning consumers and tastemakers.

8: Mike City

One of the soulful scenes most in-demand producers, singers and songwriters, Mike City is a name synonymous with quality music, no matter the genre. 2016 saw releases on Tribe Records, Defected, Soul Heaven and his very own Unsung Records, with his work alongside neo soul legend Dwele on ‘I Rock wit U’ a real stand out moment this year. A true legend in the scene who continues to push the boundaries.

7: Sean McCabe

If you wanted lush, expansive Soulful House in 2016, you went to Sean McCabe. His release schedule was nothing short of astounding throughout the year, with big tracks on Z Records, Quantize Recordings and his very own Good Vibrations Music. His bumping remix of ‘Let Me’ by Kenya picked up heavy support globally, whilst his re-rub of Blaze’s ‘We Are One’ was one of the stand out productions on King Street’s huge ‘Finest NY House’ compilation.

6: Kai Alce

One of the classiest producers in the scene today, Atlanta’s Kai Alce had his fingerprints all over some of the finest soulful releases of 2016. His remix work was as in demand as ever, with his re-rubs of The DangerFeel Newbies ‘What Am I Here For?’ and Infinity Ink’s ‘How Do I Love You’ blowing up internationally on Defected and Different Recordings respectfully. A classic, unique sound that always stands out from the crowd.

5: Joey Negro

Z Records boss Joey Negro enjoyed a hugely successful 2016. His imprint continued to fire out some of the finest disco-infused soulful sounds on the planet, culminating with the release of his ‘Remixed With Love Vol.2’. This 20-track compilation saw Mr. Lee breathe new life into music from some of the biggest artists of all time, with re-rubs of classics from Patti LeBelle, Grace Jones and George Benson. Just another normal day at the office from this true House master!

4: Rhemi

The London based duo of Neil Pierce & Ziggy Funk absolutely killed it in 2016 with a cascade of high quality releases on their very own Rhemi Music. With a trademark soulful sound that is always guaranteed to moves dance floors across the globe, their output throughout the year was nothing short of spectacular, with ‘Shake Your Body Down’, ‘Back to the One’ and ‘Mask Off’ on heavy rotation with the scene’s biggest DJs. Everything they touch simply oozes class.

3: DJ Spen

A name that has been synonymous with the soulful scene since it’s very conception, DJ Spen just does what he does best, year in, year out. His imprints, Unquantize and Quantize Recordings, continued to be at the very forefront of the scene in 2016, with barely a month passing without an influx of new releases. ‘Warriors Dance’ alongside David Anthony and his re-rub of Spencer Morales and Randy Roberts ‘Without Your Love’ were particular standouts in yet another stellar year of musical perfection.

2: Sandy Rivera

2016 will certainly go down in Sandy Rivera’s career as one of his most prolific, with heavy hitting releases throughout on his very own deepvisionz label, including his collaboration with Random Soul, the super-smooth ‘Please’. Other stand out moments? Where do we start?! ‘Closer’ with Alex Mills has to go down as one of the finest pieces of deep, piano-led vocal goodness of the year, whilst ‘You Work Hard for your Enemy’ showed a really interesting side to his undoubted production prowess.

1: Louie Vega

Guess who?! That’s right, Louie Vega ruled the roost again in 2016, with his career defining long player ‘Starring… XXVIII’ picking up a Grammy Nomination for Best Dance/Electronic album. The release featured one of the world’s most esteemed list of collaborators ever produced, with Kendrick Lamar, Funkadelic & George Clinton, Jocelyn Brown, Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul, Byron Stingily, Adeva, The Clark Sisters, Josh Milan and Soul Clap all taking part in a collection of tracks that cover Afro, House, Funk, Latin, Jazz, Soul and Gospel.

Alongside this once in a lifetime release on his own Vega Records imprint, Louie still found time to fire out more funk-fuelled flavors and his re-rub of John Davis & The Monster Orchestra’s ‘Bourgie Bourgie’ on Nurvous Records was a particular stand out that was hammered by every major player on the planet.

With a career that spans over 30 years, it’s a testament to the man himself that 2016 will go down as one of his most successful to date. Louie Vega’s tireless work ethic to keep creating music of the highest quality is the benchmark that others aspire to, and he shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. A living legend and a true Master at Work.

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