Traxsource Top 100 Soulful House Artists of 2017

Vivacious vocals and bouncing beats were everywhere this year, with the more soulful end of the house spectrum finding a new generation of adoring fans in the UK, across Europe to festivals in Croatia, and in Africa as well as traditional heartlands in the USA. A strong channel back to the original New York house scene, the sound has really been going from strength to strength over past few years; it refuses to fade away.

Home to some of the most revered and respected DJs and producers in house music, the soulful scene is also the place that sees many internationally recognized singers crossover. From Jill Scott to Adeva via Faith Evans, the strength is in its funk-fuelled flavors and instrumental brilliance that draws people on the floor.

No matter what the current ‘on trend’ sound may be, the cream always rises to the top.

100: Monodeluxe
99: Shino Blackk
98: Soulbridge
97: Distant People
96: Thomas Blondet
95: Alton Miller
94: DJ Oji
93: Nikos Diamantopoulos
92: FCL
91: Larry Espinosa
90: DjPope
89: Bobby D’Ambrosio
88: Kyle Kim
86: Kelvin Sylvester
85: Sterling Ensemble
84: David Bailey
83: Rightside
82: Prefix One
81: Johan S
80: DJ Romain
79: Wipe the Needle
78: Terrence Parker
77: Vick Lavender
76: DJ Beloved
75: Demarkus Lewis
74: Steven Stone
73: Ron Trent
72: Muzikman Edition
71: Brian Power
70: Lem Springsteen
69: The Journey Men
68: Emmaculate
67: Jayclectic
66: Sean Ali
65: Rapson
64: Ross Couch
63: M. Caporale
62: Timmy Regisford
61: Neapolitan Soul
60: Ashley Beedle
59: The Rhythm Sessions
58: Peppe Citarella
57: Cafe 432
56: Aldo Bergamasco
55: Shane D
54: Stacy Kidd
53: Michele Chiavarini
52: Ziggy Funk
51: Kenny Carpenter
50: Soulfuledge
49: The Layabouts
48: Booker T
47: Soul Clap
46: Mike Dunn
45: Glenn Underground
44: Ralf GUM
43: Mark Francis
42: Sir LSG
41: Kai Alce
40: Jihad Muhammad
39: Groove Junkies
38: Adam Rios
37: Micky More & Andy Tee
36: Gary Hudgins
35: Souldynamic
34: Ian Friday
33: Zepherin Saint
32: Mr. V
31: Hallex M
30: MdCL
29: Mark Di Meo
28: John Khan & Earl Tutu
27: Marc Cotterell
26: Dave Anthony
25: Josh Milan
24: Thommy Davis
23: DJ Fudge
22: Eric Kupper
21: Kiko Navarro

20: David Morales

Another great year for the legendary David Morales, with the super-producer pushing out his contemporary soulful sound alongside a number of sublime Afro-inspired tracks. ‘Hela’ with Toshi on MoDef hit all the right notes on the world’s dancefloors this year, alongside ‘Esperanza’ with Luciano on Cadenza and his old school inspired re-rub of Robert Clivilles’ ‘Set Me Free’ on Nervous.

19: Jamie Lewis

The Purple Music boss enjoyed a fantastic 12 months, with a series of sublime releases alongside the launch of his new sub-label – Purple Disco Records. Big tracks this year included his innovative disco slant on the Snap classic ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’, the superb ‘You Change My World’ featuring Marc Evans and the super-funky ‘It’s Alright’ with vocals from Lisa Millett, whilst his re-rub of Papik ‘Figli Delle Stelle’ was our favorite of his many remixes in 2017.

18: Richard Earnshaw

The Liberace of the soulful house scene had another spectacular year with non-stop hits over the last 12 months. His remix of ‘So Long Gone’ by Brian Power and Rebecca Scales started 2017 with a bang, and his reworkings of ‘Back 2 Love’ by Newman & Stephanie Cooke and ‘Perception’ by Groove Junkies – plus further output under his Spiritcatcher and One51 guises – maintained this high standard all year long.

17: Crackazat

UK musician Crackazat is one of the most intricate producers in the house music scene and he didn’t disappoint over the last 12 months. Big releases all year long on Local Talk, Z Records, Plastik People and Ovum cemented his place as the musician’s producers, with big tracks like ‘Proton Blue’, ‘Latican Boogie’ and ‘Sundial’ ending up in the boxes of Hot Toddy, Saison, Terry Hunter, Husky and many more. Big in the game.

16: Kenny Dope

Big tracks all year long from the Dope Man with epic releases throughout the past year. His label Dopewax went from strength to strength, pushing out heavyweight joints like ‘Piano Groove’ and ‘In Need’, but don’t sleep on his gold-standard remixes of Mike City & Faith Evans’ ‘When I Luv’ and Purple Disco Machine’s ‘Love For Day’. Kenny even had the honor of being Strictly Rhythm 900th release this year. The governor.

15: Opolopo

One of the most talented musicians in the house scene with his blend of keys and vocoder creating a truly unique soulful sound. A great year for the Swedish was topped with huge releases on Defected, Papa, Z and TR Records, like his remixes of Crystal Water’s ‘Testify’, Urban Sound Lab’s ‘Karma’ and Woody Bianchi’s ‘Keep Doin’ It’. Impeccable.

14: Reel People

The soulful house connoisseur always knows to look out for Reel People releases, and this year was no exception. Their re-interpretation of the Sunshine Anderson classic ‘Heard It All Before’ was a huge hit, whilst ‘Purple Funk’ and their recent remix of David Federmann’s ‘Cherry Tree’ opened the hearts and minds of dancefloors across the globe.

13: Sandy Rivera / Kings Of Tomorrow

Another sterling year for Sandy Rivera with a plethora of big tracks under his own name and the Kings of Tomorrow moniker. Standouts included the deep and moody ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ on Defected, his superb remix of Sonny Fodera’s ‘Caught Up’ on Soul Heaven Records and the 2017 update of his classic ‘Changes’ on deepvisionz.

12: DJ Spinna

One of the scene’s most legendary producers, DJ Spinna continued releasing serious heat over the past 12 months. His remix work was as sublime as ever, with his reworkings of Hallex M’s ‘Feeling’ on Groove Odyssey, The Foreign Exchange’s ‘Body on Makin Moves’ and Tony Momrelle’s ‘Love Me Again’ on Reel People Music scorching the dancefloors this year.

11: Moon Rocket

New York producer and keyboard whizz Raffa Scoccia aka Moon Rocket had a fantastic year with his superb tracks spanning various genres on Traxsource over the past 12 months. Big tracks included ‘Go’, ‘Situationship’ and ‘Another Dimension’ on Doomusic, plus a whole host of other firing releases on Soul Deluxe, MONOSIDE, MoBlack and Cut Rec Promos.

10: David Harness

Oakland-based DJ/Producer David Harness enjoyed a string of big productions over the past 12 months with releases on Blaze Imprints, Makin Moves, Moulton Music, Nervous and Papa Records. His remix of Kevin Hedge’s ‘My Beat’ was a huge crossover hit with support from Karizma, Ralf Gum, Roger Sanchez and Joeski, while the recent Barry White influenced ’We Got It’ is a great way to end the year. Big album in the pipeline for next year too!

9: Groove Assassin

Straight Outta Sheffield and into our Top Ten is Nick Moss aka Groove Assassin. The Things May Change label boss and veteran UK producer enjoyed a prolific year, with big tracks on his own label like ‘No Drama’, ‘Baby Baby’, ‘Lonely’, ‘The Mothership’ and ‘Carried Away’. Non-stop floorfillers. Always on point.

8: Terry Hunter

Soulful house legend Terry Hunter needs no introduction, so let’s get straight down to business on another outstanding year for Chi-Town’s finest. With a consistent stream of huge releases on his own T’s Box label like ‘I Found Love’ ft. Kadesh, ‘Queen’ ft. Angie Fisher and ‘Circle of Life’ ft. Mya hitting all the right notes, it was his sublime remix of The Late Night Affair’s Luther-inspired ‘Still In Love’ that saw the likes of thatmanmonkz, Mr.V, Todd Terry and DJ Spen pay special homage to one of the great house music producers.

7: Sean McCabe

The classy British producer and DJ enjoyed a fantastic year, with his label Good Vibrations Music going from strength to strength. Big tracks on the imprint included ‘New World’ with Pete Simpson and Lem Springsteen, ‘Grow (After The Storm)’ with Dawn Williams and ‘It Can Be’ with Mr. V. Plus don’t sleep on his superb piano remix of Louie Vega & Vikter Duplaix’s ‘Gimme Some More’ on Vega Records.

6: Rhemi

The super-funky duo of Neil Pierce and Ziggy Funk make up Rhemi, who had a great year both in the studio and with their label Rhemi Music. The London based partnership enjoyed success with ‘Live Life Free’, ‘Beat Within’ and ‘Feel Me’, whilst their remixes of Louie Vega and Adeva’s ‘In The Morning’ saw big support from Joey Negro, DJ Spen and Terry Hunter to name just a few.

5: Karizma

Baltimore bad-boy Karizma has got more hits under his belt than Omar Little from ‘The Wire’, and this year was no exception to the rule. Big tracks included ‘Work It Out’ on Lumberjacks In Hell – which ended up in front rooms throughout North America courtesy of a major TV advert – his remix of Shimza’s ‘Destino’, and the jazzy soulful goodness of ‘The Power’ which crossed over into the sets of Man Without a Clue, Kiko Navarro, Mark Di Meo and more. Always big in the game.

4: Reelsoul

A big year for William Rodriquez III aka Reelsoul, with a string of big releases and the launch of his new label – Reelsoul Musik. His work with DJ Spen on ‘Heaven’ for Soul Heaven garnered support from Kenny Dope, DJ Spinna and Sean McCabe, with other prominent tracks including ‘Get Myself Together’ with Mr. V, ‘Found A Way’ with Sheila Ford and amazing remix of Rob Haye’s ‘To Be With You’ on Soulstice Music.

3: Joey Negro

British DJ and producer Joey Negro has been a champion of the soulful house sound for decades, and it’s great to see him still at the top of his game in 2017. The Z Records label boss enjoyed great success this year with ‘You Know How to Love Me’, the new update of the classic ‘Must Be The Music’, ‘Won’t Let You Go’ and his reinterpretation of Atlantic Starr’s ‘Circles’, all on his own label Z Records. Legendary status unlocked.

2: Louie Vega

Last year’s Soulful House Artist of the Year has enjoyed another superb 12 months with a slew of releases and remixes that really set the soulful scene on fire. ‘Set Me Free’ with Eric Kupper on Hysteria destroyed dancefloors across the globe, whilst ‘Can’t Let You Go’ with Loleatta Holloway secured Louie his sixth (!) Grammy nomination. With further highlights including re-rubs of the Sylvester classic ‘Dance (Disco Heat)’ and John Davis & The Monster Orchestra’s ‘Up Jumped The Devil’, we enjoyed another Master-ful year from one of the scene’s true pioneers.

1: DJ Spen

One of the hardest-working DJ and producers on the house music scene showed no signs of slowing down over the past 12 months. With a plethora of releases over the last 12 months from his two labels, Quantize and Unquantize, plus scores of remixes under his belt, it’s safe to say DJ Spen was a man in demand this year.

Spen started his production career at the tender age of 13. A little known fact is that in 1986 he wrote and recorded a unknown track called ‘Girl You Know It’s True’, which ended up being an international Number 1 for Milli Vanilla (even though they didn’t actually sing it!). Not a bad introduction to the songwriting game, we’re sure you’ll agree. From here, Spen joined Basement Boys Records, where he formed the Jasper Street Company, and later joined forces with Karizma to create one of the most enduring duos in house music history.

But let’s look more at the here and now, as we could spend hours going over Spen’s contribution to contemporary house music. This year alone sees a massive TWENTY DJ Spen tunes in our Top 200 Soulful House Tracks of 2017, with big personal tracks this year like ‘Heaven’ with Reelsoul on Groove Odyssey, ‘Think (About It)’ with Barbara Tucker and ‘I Feel’ with Ann Nesby. Spen’s remix roster has been nothing short of prolific, with huge re-rubs on the likes of Black Motion’s ‘Rainbow’ on Defected, Ali Tennent Brian Power Ronnie Herel ‘I Wanted Your Love’ DJ Fudge’s ‘Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ and Groove Assassin’s ‘Fireflyin’.

It’s producers like DJ Spen that keep the soulful house fire burning bright. With a career that’s spanned decades now, it’s great to see the same enthusiasm today as what first propelled him into the international arena almost 30 years ago. It’s this unbridled work ethic, intertwined with a unique talent, that sees DJ Spen rightfully at the top of the pile this year as our Number One Soulful House Artist of 2017.

Releases on Traxsource.