LHasa De Sela. Only Soul of her left now, but I'm still enjoying her voice and songs. Ask Wiki for more info.
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She is a true singer who is very highly regarded and has an excellent track record since the mid seventies. Excellent voice and vocal control. Her vocals always display her connection and emotion with the accompanying musicians/music.
She has been featured on projects with several other well know artist.
Sfar .... After rereading my question I can see the confusion . I meant the singer more than the genre .
A few responders mentioned Aretha , granted she was the queen of soul , but did her voice have that warm , stirring , willowy , soul sound . She could belt it out .
Surprised no one has mentioned Edda James .
I would say the 'soulfulness' of a singer depends on the 'soulfulness' of the listener.
The properties of the emotional response of the thought, or feeling: "that is really soulful" is in the mind of the listener.
I have to agree some singers are more likely to be able tto bring out this emotional response than others, but it is a really personal thing.
So one persons exquisite experience of a singer eliciting a 'soulful' response, can leave another person with nothing.
Ditto for goosebumps, shivers, tears, raising your hackles..
It's Aretha Franklin,
Don't believe me? Take a listen at this vintage live Youtube video of her singing "Dr Feelgood" from 1968
By the way, Lady Gaga gets overlooked and ridiculed by the audio enthusiasts here, but she is really very talented and has some soul in her voice.
Eslaudio: "four loko"?? Is that a liquid, solid or smoke?
Lithojoe: I thought I was the resident smart ass around here but evidently I have some competition.
Alright... lets get one thing straight, Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul. You can talk about nuances and emotional response all you want, but you are embarrassing yourself if you think anyone, man or woman, can sing more soulful than Aretha Franklin. So lets just talk about who's in second place.
I put Billie Holiday's vocals in the same elite class as Miles Davis' horn playing. Different styles for sure but, to me, they are kindred souls using different tools in different ways. But that's not why I'm posting. I'm listening to "The Essential Nina Simone" as I'm writing, and the only word that comes to mind is "Soulful".