by Josh St. Hill
Some argue that being a musician is determined by one’s inner soul; the essence or embodiment of a specific quality, and who’s to say that it isn’t? All of our legends in music had or expressed soul at some point in their careers, from Sam Cooke to Taylor Swift.
But looking past the artists who’ve already placed their careers in history, we have some soul in Monticello that’s been hiding right under our desks. The musicians at Monticello span many genres, but all have one unified message: putting their souls into their music.
“I’ve been writing music for as long as I can remember,” said student Mo’aysia Jackson, a singer and actress in the recent play “Memphis”. The play revolves around the era where segregation was alive, and diversity in music had yet to be reached. But when a radio spokesman decided to put an African-American singer on a predominantly white station, things get shaky and soul comes into play.
“I feel like this play is the perfect way to show soul because you see the difference in how each person displays their work,” said Jackson. “When one person plays their music people aren’t up and moving, they have no feeling to it. Then when another person sings, or they hear an awesome sound, they get up and move. That’s soul itself.”
“I usually have to be in a certain mode before I record, I’m putting everything I have into it because it makes me feel as if the listener can feel that with me,” said another Monticello student whose artist name is Solo.
“I call myself an emcee, not a rapper; I pay more attention to my lyrics more than anything. That’s what makes the song in my opinion,” he said. Solo is another talent at Monticello High School who believes soul comes from within, and if you’re putting your soul into it, you’re music will have a better underlying message.
This all leads to the first question of the article, “what is soul?” Not only are these artist giving an answer to that question: they’re redefining it.