10 Years Ago, we "Surrendered" to Kindred the Family Soul

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    Soul music changed - for the better - ten years ago. On March 25, 2003, husband and wife Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon seemingly came out of nowhere  to release one of the most critically acclaimed soul albums of that year, Surrender to Love, under their moniker Kindred the Family Soul.  Blending the gutsiness of Womack and Womack with the underlying joyousness of Ashford & Simpson, the duo sang of their deep love for each other and their family, even while acknowledging the challenging, often monotonous existence of daily life.

    Soul music changed - for the better - ten years ago. On March 25, 2003, husband and wife Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon seemingly came out of nowhere  to release one of the most critically acclaimed soul albums of that year, Surrender to Love, under their moniker Kindred the Family Soul.  Blending the gutsiness of Womack and Womack with the underlying joyousness of Ashford & Simpson, the duo sang of their deep love for each other and their family, even while acknowledging the challenging, often monotonous existence of daily life.

    The sheer honesty of Surrender and the expression of love shown between husband and wife on record was unlike anything else  on radio; it was both countercultural and refreshing and was rightly embraced by soul music audiences everywhere.  It was also a validation of the vision that the couple had shared for some time. Says Fatin, "It was probably the most exciting time of our life recording that record; the energy, the anticipation, the creativity, the drive, the passion can't be duplicated although we try." But the album the couple so wanted to release was delayed by both tragedy and a blessing: "One thing that sticks out about the timing and timelessness of the record is that it was delayed nearly 2 years because of September 11th and a unplanned pregnancy yet still came out and did well. We were afraid it would sound dated...go figure."

    The record became not only a hit in 2003, it became an instant classic that is still revered now as it was then. Says Aja, "Who doesn't wanna perform ten years after music came out and people still treat it as if it were just released? For us, the long love affair our fans have had with this album speaks to exactly what we wanted from this music: timelessness. Surrender to Love was the beginning of a new philosophy for us; the beginning of our family, the beginning of a movement. We had no idea the power of just being yourself and how it can morph into a celebration of the common thread woven throughout all people. A true blessing to us."

    And ten years later, it is still a true blessing for the rest of us, too.

    By Chris Rizik

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