In The Beginning is the debut solo album from South-Carolinian singer, composer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Teddy Bryant, released on Onra‘s NBN (Nothing But Net) Records.
Since 1998, Bryant has spent years playing local shows with his contemporary jazz outfit Urbyne, and released a neo-soul LP in 2021 as Moonlight Ora. With piano in his blood as the son of a jazz musician, Teddy self-produces his whole album.
Proudly straddling a crossroads of street soul, soul and R&B, Teddy wanted to create a “dreamy concept of sonic realness, an ode to everlasting love, paying tribute to Sade, Marvin Gaye, Prince and Quincy Jones”.
We couldn’t resist asking Teddy to dive into some street soul memories for us – enjoy this high quality selection.
1. Loose Ends – Hanging On A String
Carl McIntosh is one of my musical heroes, a genius. The first Loose Ends album, in my opinion, is the best example of street soul music (that’s just my opinion). The beat combined with the soulful singing of Jane Eugene is the perfect duo. I am heavily influenced by UK Street Soul, I hope one day to actually make music with Carl – he has told me he is a fan of what I’m doing, and I’m humbled.
2. Maxi Priest – Close To You
You already know, fam. A master of his craft, mixing the sweet sounds of the island with groove and r&b – it’s a perfect blend. Maxi had awesome vocals as well, I like everything he’s done. The swing in this track will have you feeling different kinds of ways, all in all it’s just perfect. And the message is so simple : let me get close to you, simple yet direct and to the point.
3. Soul ll Soul – Back To Life
This track is bliss pure bliss. Caron Wheeler’s voice – wow. Soul ll Soul had the privilege of having Jazzy B mixing these tracks, there is a slower groove with his music, but when you add Caron Wheeler’s almost Chaka Khan-ish voice, it just becomes a whole other groove. It is sultry yet groovy at the same time.
4. Soul II Soul – Keep On Movin’
I love this song because of the keys, the echo is perfect over those violin strings. There is a deep house feel to this song, just all the instruments are just perfect. And the swing for this song just really hits the sweet spot, at like 89 BPM it’s perfect for a slow dance with the woman of your dreams or a nice mid tempo freedom dance.
5. Princess – Say You’re My Number One
A pure gem, a classic. Princess had the hits – her album is so hard to find but it’s a classic. Her voice is so awesome. This song transports me right to my happy place. This song has all the best elements of the eighties. The synth is classic but it rides the classic soul groove, you immediately want to dance – especially seeing Princess get down. What again stands out to me, is her astonishing voice – it’s strong and pure and raw she can sang sang. I love Princess as an artist, and think I must collaborate with her. If you get a chance to peep her entire album, it’s a gem.
6. Sade – Cherish The Day
My favorite female singer of all time. Sade is perfect. This song was before it’s time, the album of course was one of the four consecutive classic albums she released. Sade is so mythical in this song. So seductive, so calming against those guitar strings. The chords used in the background really carry her voice and make you believe you are in a dream, and a woman that is so amazing so musically beautiful can’t be real. The percussion behind the song is what really makes this song street soul, it’s got a real boom bap feel to it, very mid-tempo, and again the swing is just right (she’s even swing Peter tonight in the video). I’m telling you I must work with her. All I need is 24 hours, and I promise you we will change the music back to how it was back in the good days of the eighites and some nineties all around the world. I put my life on that, fam.
7. DNA Feat. Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner
Okay, another club banger – I freedom dance to this like crazy. The quietness of the track is appealing. It’s here spoken word voice over those strings and that mid level deep house percussion. The album was very unique. It was new age, kinda like folkish but it was good because her voice was very unique. But this jam will immediately get you out your seat and groove, but also a good tune to reminisce to.
8. Soul Family Sensation – I Don’t Even Know (KC Mix)
Nobody is messing with this gem, the remix is so dope. This track has all the elements that make it a street soul classic. Dope bassline, sweet chords, the perfect boom-bap beat, very jazzy funk piano across the song and then when you add her voice – wow, what seduction. And her harmonies – wow, man this has to go down in the books as an all time classic.
9. Five Star – Let Me Be The One
The entire album is a needle-dropper. I think almost every song was a hit. This was like the Jackson 5. Not only were all the beats almost Loose End type beats, but the production was amazing. Let Me Be The One was perfect and really gets the blood pumping. I dance like a mad man when this comes on. You can feel the soul on this track. It’s almost a song good for breakdancing. And I had a crush on all the sisters. They were fwine.
10. Nu Colors – Greater Love
Just a classic groove. This is a soul groove. The vocals are the main attraction on this song. And the chords on this – c’mon, fam. Perfect use of the electric piano mixed with the strings. The harmonies on this are crazy. This is a very hard song to beat.