Syleena Johnson has teamed up with her legendary father, soul singer Syl Johnson on the collaborative album, Rebirth of Soul, due out November 10 via Shanachie Entertainment.
The album consists of Syleena’s searing interpretations of classic R&B songs, mainly from the ’50s and ’60s, recorded with live musicians from their hometown of Chicago.
“The inspiration behind Rebirth of Soul is my father,” says Syleena. “I wanted to honor him and classic soul music in a time when auto tune and electronic beats reign supreme. While I am not against this kind of creative musicianship, there is so much more to the real thing. True soul music tells stories…stories that can heal a nation.”
The songs on Rebirth of Soul, hand-picked by Syl Johnson, run the gamut from such landmark hits as “Chain of Fools” and “I’d Rather Go Blind,” done definitively by Aretha Franklin and Etta James respectively, to lesser-known gems such as Betty Everett’s “There’ll Come A Time” and Bettye Swann’s “Make Me Yours.”
Syleena manifests an uncanny ability to get inside each song, digging deep to deliver passionate performances that bring a fresh spark to even the best known selections. “For each song I channeled the emotions of the record,” Syleena confides. “I put myself in the mind of each storyteller and in doing this I was able to merge myself into the story of each record. This is how I was able to put my own personal stamp on each record.”
“The process of creating music with my father is not a difficult one. It’s actually the only space we get along perfectly,” confides Syleena. “Music is our strongest tie, and no matter what, he has always respected that particular bond inside of studio walls. He is very creative as an artist and he loves music with his true heart.”
Take a listen to Syleena’s remake of “Make Me Yours” below.