One to Watch: Souljahz

Band 411:  Sibling trio Joshúa (23), Jékob (21) and Rachael (18) Washington.   All three supply vocals, while Jékob plays guitar and Rachael occasionally tap dances.


Current Digs:   San Diego, California


New Album:    Released Aug. 20 and produced by the group along with Tonéx and Chris Rodriguez, The Fault Is History (Warner Bros.) fuses urban pop, hip-hop, R&B, acoustic rock and spoken word.   “Hip-hop is the foundation, but our music is an eclectic hybrid of many different genres,” says Joshúa.


Influences:  Joshúa cites All Together Separate, Kirk Franklin, Rachael Lampa, and Nicole C. Mullen as Christian artists who have inspired Souljahz.   Other creative sources vary from Lauryn Hill and Prince to Michael Jackson and Björk.


Favorite Cut:   “Overall, my favorite is ‘Let It Go,’” Joshúa says.   “It’s a song about how everyone has problems and needs God to take over and deal with them.   Musically, it’s one of our most diverse tracks, encompassing everything from folk to funk.”


Back story:    Several years ago, the siblings met a German music producer at church, eventually leading to an overseas trip to record a demo.   A few days after their return, several record labels approached Souljahz.   “We wanted to get in with a label that had real crossover potential,” Joshúa explains.   The group later signed with Warner Bros.   Since then, they have been featured internationally on MTV and on the Project Gotham Racing CD, which accompanied the rollout of the Xbox.


Lesson Learned:   “Patience,” Joshúa admits.   “Everything in the music industry moves so fast, but we’ve had to learn how to wait on God and not rush things to happen before He’s ready to act.”


Goal:   A key purpose of Souljahz’ music is to tackle the real-life issues today’s youth encounter.   “The songs we write cover subjects like drug abuse, racism and premarital sex,” Joshúa says.   “We want to encourage young people to live wisely and realize that their actions definitely have consequences.”