RUBY VELLE & THE SOULPHONICS Discusses Their New Music, Favorite Touring Memories So Far and Much More!
Critically-acclaimed Atlanta-based soul ensemble, Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics’ new album, The State of All Things, has attracted tastemakers including, The Bluegrass Situation, Paste, The Bitter Southerner, and more, with its inviting and accessible bravado. Bob Edwards of Sirius XM puts it perfectly: “The Atlanta-based group has one goal in mind: to keep ‘the soul continuum’ moving for the next generation of music lover…”
Atop the band’s critical acclaim and success DIY-minded Ruby Velle and The Soulphonics sold a quarter-million downloads of their single, “My Dear” on iTunes, landing them in the top 30 on Billboard’s Heatseeker charts. Powerhouse singer Velle and her band will settle for nothing less than bringing the classic soul sounds glimmering into the now with a fresh, new contemporary sheen.
The group has graced stages across the US alongside megastars and indie press darlings alike, including The Temptations, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Larkin Poe, Gary Clark Jr., Iggy Pop, Erykah Badu, and Kendrick Lamar. Now, Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics are ready to head out on a headlining East Coast tour throughout the Summer in support of the album including a co – headline set at the Smithsonian Institutes’ America Now: Unites summer series with Oddissee.
Velle tells Paste Magazine:
“This album reaches the world, in my eyes, at a critical juncture for the collective consciousness. Do we choose to see the good within the sometimes separatist climate? Can we recognize that all this overwhelming chaos and calamity is only because there is now a true need to recognize the human condition as a loving condition?”
Often, Velle uses music as a tool for empowerment and change, full of true soul and power. In fact, the album’s message of humanity and unity is seen in Velle’s personal contribution to her community–she is on the Board of Director of Girls Rock Camp, which strives to empower youth, especially young women, through music education and performances. The band’s previous album track, “It’s About Time” was labeled as a social justice anthem for the movement towards unity for all. The song was featured on popular television shows like Ray Donovan and The Originals (Vampire Diaries Spin-off) and consequently, garnered over 1 million downloads and 1.5 million streams.
Learn more about Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics in the following All Access interview:
All Access Music is currently compiling a list of our artists favorite songs this summer so what is YOUR song of the summer?
Our song of the summer is Broken Woman! We just released a super hot video for it, which was a collab between Hales Photography and Juel Concepts. It’s a steamy visual creation to match one of the most intriguing tracks we’ve created to date. We love how refreshing this song is in it’s unintentional multi-genre approach yet somehow still rooted in soul. Enjoy it on Spotify, it’s just been added to a few playlists.
How has 2018 been treating you all? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year?
2018 has been an amazing year of growth and change for the band. We’ve emerged from the studio and have been playing up and down the Northeast US, most recently in support of an event called America Now, at the National Portrait Gallery in DC! It was an epic summer solstice celebration for the Smithsonian Museums of the DC area. It certainly was our goal to show that music is the great unifier with our album, and then on stage for this event, focused on what brings us together as a loving human condition. So very happy that it’s July and we’ve reached a major goal and milestone for our independent band and our mgmt team, it feels incredible.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Has anything surprised you about this ride so far?
I was living in Gainesville FL, and attending UF so I wasn’t really sure where anything would end up, just that I had an itch from writing so much poetry and singing for so long, to put them together. I started writing with the band and I remember thinking “ how will i ever keep up with all this sound?” but it’s now such a fleeting thought. I guess I’ve been the most surprised to play live with the Soulphonics, it’s a joy and treat since they all have such talents! Sometimes I will be lost in their playing just like our fans…. It’s a beautiful thing when the music is the source of the energy.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
We love that our roots are embedded in Georgia Music and soul now. It’s been over a decade of creating, and the vibrancy and acceptance in ATL has added fuel to our fire. It’s been a wonderful city to create, network and have fun in, so we wrote a show about it! Our friends from Resonant Pictures, Along with producer Farook Singh, let us write a segment for the PBS aired special MUSIC VOYAGER : ATLANTA. Within the episode, we were able show the world what makes ATL great – from food stalls to breweries, to fashion incubators and our own LOTTA FRUTTA ATL, there is a lot of love for creators and change makers, so we blend in well.
Most recently we’ve been a part of an early launch for ATL’s exclusive content platform, #TheA Network. It’s been wonderful that they reach into the community to find producers, musicians and artists at the local level that have national and international audiences. Atlanta is representing it’s artists and providing for them a fertile ground for musical productions and careers.
Where did your band name first come from?
Made up by Spencer and the group back in the early days.
What was it like putting together your newest album, “The State of All Things”? Did anything surprise you about the overall process of putting it together?
We set out to create something sonically different for us as a band. To follow up our first album with something more poignant from a lyrical perspective. Just to generally show our evolution with all aspects of indie music making, while having fun. I think the result is that we each pushed ourselves to grow, and that IS something that takes time. I think I was most surprised with is our willingness to try different things on this album as co-producers. We became more unified in the soundscapes and we have an equal amount of weight on arrangements, song meanings, sounds and painting vivid pictures for the listener. It’s a bit more sophisticated than I anticipated but it was fun to make and I think in some ways necessary and cathartic for me as a writer, and the collective. Having people like Binky Griptite (Daptone Records) involved and in the studio to write with was amazing. And I also was able to co-write with my husband Alex on “Broken Woman,” so that experience was surprising too, as we haven’t had any outside the band writers.
While it’s difficult, can you talk about some of your favorite songs on this album and the inspiration behind them? Generally, how do you go about writing music in this band?
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Call Out My Name,” because it seems to be the most universally appealing and that makes my soul sing! Really proud of this co-production with Scott Clayton and Spencer Garn as well as the rest of the Soulphonics. It was beautiful to hear these words encouraging “love no matter what,” melding with the amazing group vocals and twists and turns of the song’s arrangement. It’s a a clear call for us all to experience life as infinite love.
We wrote State of All Things in a variety of ways. Some as a duo on guitar, sometimes most of the arrangement came first, and then lyrics and vocal melodies and harmonies added after. On “Lost Lady Usa” we hung in the studio with Binky Griptite, formerly of the Dapkings and the tune just flowed out of me lyrically and the guys musically. We’ve always had something special with this bunch though it IS hard work at times being indie, but we press on!
You have performed alongside so many incredible artists so I am curious what experience has really stood out to this band? Who would you say that you have learned the most from over the years?
I’ve got 3 for ya!
We certainly have been blessed to join so many artists on stage and alongside in journey. I would say that Ms. Sharon Jones, rest in power, taught me the most about perseverance in the music industry, especially as a strong female vocalist and writer. Though our meet-ups were brief she always managed to remind me that this ‘life’ takes guts, grit and resilience.. Something she was made fully of. I often shed a few tears for Sharon, it’s so unexpected when it happens but so was she… she truly knew how to captivate an audience, share her infinite love with them, and leave them a better collective because of her presence.
As another fond memory, opening for the Temptations really shook us as a band. To witness a soul establishment 55 years in the making, on Father’s day weekend (while our drummer had JUST become a dad) , was truly incredible and inspiring. We were on cloud 9 to warm that stage in front of family and friends and I will never, ever forget their hand dyed full length suits, all tailored to each singer. Phenomenal moves, sounds and looks.
Lastly, Ms. Erykah Badu has blessed me/us with so many live shows over the past few years I’ve been able to gleam so much knowledge from her stage presence, her ideals, her thoughts on artistry really move and inspire me, I’m so grateful for her and this period of creation in her life as I see how much it lifts my generation and beyond. RESPECT!
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
3 places where I encounter bliss : on stage performing OF COURSE :), wherever I am if I’ve just finished a song, and at the beach/in nature
Do you have any upcoming tour dates this summer that you would like to tell our readers about?
Absolutely! Just check out rubyvelleandthesoulphonics.com for all updates and dates.
How do you think being musicians and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
Being in this band has taught me so much about all aspects of life, so I find joy in the learning. I find joy in knowing that the music matters and that we will figure the rest out. I find joy in the family, friends, team mates and band mates who truly support and understand what we are trying to build. In this cycle of the rapid consuming of music, I find joy in reviews noting us as “timeless,” “authentic,” and “poignant,” so we are taking it all in from around the world and so appreciative the support..sending joy right back to everyone out there! MUAH!
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
I do feel there is a need for more artists to be speaking up and in some sense resisting through the creation of their art. This isn’t something just delegated to the marginalized as well, we need more artists that are willing to use their platforms towards creating a more progressive culture and community. I’m certainly not saying that every musician must be an activist, but advocacy is a by-product of compassion, so I think artists do tend to be the first to support others and extend the hand.
Heck, we’re a somewhat marginalized group as well if you think about it. And to that end, there are artists out there that continue to inspire with their humanitarianism, and I’m so grateful they are giving of their abundance in support of others well being. One example is Brandon Boyd and Incubus, who run the “Make Yourself Foundation,” which empowers their fans across the globe to take part in different projects for change. I’ve always been amazed at bands that can continue to be sympathetic to the needs of their fans AND the planet.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
We have so many members so I’m sure I cannot speak for us on this, but for me I would love to work with Ty Taylor of Vintage Trouble. They are such a fun band and Ty is quite possibly one of the most captivating souls to watch on stage. Would be great to sing together. Also, as a band I would have to vote for Lee Fields and the Expressions, since they would make the best European tour buddies! Lee brings so much joy to all, and we consider him family so would be legendary to collaborate further with him.
If you guys were all going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you want to take with you and why?
I would bring a Kalimba or a mini guitar. Anything else would likely break, melt or lose charge, and maybe I could stash some things inside while not in use.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
We hope our music unifies and offers support from the separatist climate. Empowerment is in critical supply at the moment, so we seek to empower people through music that makes you think and makes you move, in an effort to move the collective closer to a state of all things we can truly all benefit from.
Where can our readers connect with you?
Online and on all social channels, which are all connected on rubyvelleandthesoulphonics.com
(Photography provided by Effective Immediately PR)