We have a soft spot for family acts and collaborations in the music world. A talented gene pool never fails to pique our curiosity and warm our hearts. And while our playlist favorites tend to come from sibling groups, we have to admit, there’s something particularly endearing about a parent-child consociation such as Syleena Johnson and her father Syl Johnson. The R&B diva is teaming with the legendary soul and blues singer/producer for Rebirth of Soul, their first collaborative project in over two decades.
The album, something Syleena has long dreamed of, will mainly feature her interpretations of classic R&B songs of the ’50s and ’60s (with a few other gems as well). But Rebirth of Soul isn’t just about bridging the generational divide, it’s something personal as Syleena explains,”The inspiration behind Rebirth of Soul is my father. I wanted to honor him and classic soul music in a time when Auto-Tune and electronic beats reign supreme.”
The songs, hand-picked by Syl Johnson, were recorded in real time with live musicians at a Chicago studio. The Chi-Town love doesn’t stop there. According to a press statement, “the sessions include musicians who played on hit R&B recordings there over the years and a majority of the album features songs associated with Chicago artists, songwriters or record labels.” One such Chicagoan is Syl himself, whose “We Did It” serves as the lead single while his Black Power anthem “Is It Because I’m Black” will surely resonate with listeners during these turbulent times.
In addition to Syl’s own songs, covers of iconic artists like Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Betty Everett are highlights in the Rebirth of Soul tracklist. With big names such as these, we were a bit surprised that Syleena chose Bettye Swann‘s “Make Me Yours” as the album’s next single. But after hearing her dazzling rendition, with sunny harmonies and buoyant strings, we can’t help but co-sign.
As our one-time health/fitness/wellness expert, we consider Syleena Johnson fam, so you best believe we’re ready to support our girl when Rebirth of Soul drops on November 10th. In the meantime, listen to “Make Me Yours” and “We Did It” below, then follow the songstress on social media and check out her talk show skills as one of the hosts on TV One’s Sister Circle.