Flashback Soul: Jill Scott takes us on "A Long Walk"

Was there a bigger surprise in the world of Soul Music in the first decade of the twentieth century than Jill Scott? As the new Millennium began, when both the soul and self-respect of modern urban radio were in question, Scott, along with artists such as Alicia Keys and India.Arie, captured audiences with a style of music that recalled the hopefulness of early 70s Soul music but with a modern sensibility. While each was important in opening doors to a new generation of female Soul singers, Scott, with her insightful, positive lyrics put to retro grooves, was perhaps the most important in demonstrating that intelligent, gentle prose - rather than simply a strong beat - could serve as a viable underpinning for modern Soul Music.

Was there a bigger surprise in the world of Soul Music in the first decade of the twentieth century than Jill Scott? As the new Millennium began, when both the soul and self-respect of modern urban radio were in question, Scott, along with artists such as Alicia Keys and India.Arie, captured audiences with a style of music that recalled the hopefulness of early 70s Soul music but with a modern sensibility. While each was important in opening doors to a new generation of female Soul singers, Scott, with her insightful, positive lyrics put to retro grooves, was perhaps the most important in demonstrating that intelligent, gentle prose - rather than simply a strong beat - could serve as a viable underpinning for modern Soul Music.

Philadelphia native Scott is a poet who also happens to be a great singer, and her lyrics came to the attention of a number of artists in the late 90s, resulting in her work being recorded by the Roots and Eric Benet, among others. She was signed to the fledgling adult Soul label, Hidden Beach Records, in 2000. Her debut album, the aptly titled Words and Sounds Vol. 1, climbed the Soul and Pop album charts on the strength of the single, "A Long Walk." If the Neo-Soul movement had a rap against it, it was that it was perceived as largely "man-hating." Scott turned this stereotype on its ear, creating positive, intelligent songs that spoke sometimes candidly but often touchingly about love, with a element of appreciation and faith often absent from the material of many of her peers.

We fell in love with the very first big hit from Jilly, 2001's fantastic "A Long Walk." Check it out below and fall in love all over again.  It may not truly be lost, but it is great to find it...

Photo Jill Scott performing live as part of "Jazz in the Gardens", taken March 17, 2012

photograph by Alphonse Photography, distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license

 

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