Written By Tamiko Hope
J.Soul (Christmas 1986)
Carl "Sonny Soul" Burroughs (Christmas 1986)
Born with the gift of music in his DNA, singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, J.Soul artfully curates sounds that feel more like an art object than a record. His music creates a mood that incorporates both cosmic concoction and soulful harmonies reminiscent of the 70s artists and bands he grew up listening to. There are nods to Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations and the O’ Jays, as well as 80s funk (Cameo) and pop (Michael Jackson), that reflect his spiritual and soulful sensibilities.
J.Soul was birthed and raised in Augusta, Georgia, the notable birthplace of James Brown. Coincidentally, the elder Burroughs was the operations manager and a radio personality for WRDW, a station owned by the Godfather of Soul. A young J.Soul was constantly surrounded by the business of music growing up. His dad co-founded the radio station, WKIM in Augusta, as well as DJ’ed at local events and hosted his on TV show where he interviewed prominent local entrepreneurs. In 1994 when J.Soul was 9, the elder Burroughs passed away leaving his son a rich legacy that continues to deepen with time.
Soul was 2 years old when he began his important career journey, receiving a red keyboard for Christmas that played various holiday tunes and nursery rhymes. By the time the youngster reached middle school, he had developed a healthy obsession with music. He discovered producer Timbaland and his hit song “Are You That Somebody,” which became his sole source of inspiration. As a result, he began building a small home studio in order to make beats. His parent’s house soon became the go-to hub for aspiring creatives. In addition to composing records, J.Soul was also singing in the church choir and was a member of his school’s chorus. In the 6th grade, he joined the band playing the alto saxophone and did so until he graduated. J.Soul was eventually recruited to play sax at his church after an impromptu performance during a Black History Month program. The house of worship is where he was anointed with the soul, as well as the improvisational skills to play by listening and feeling. Those experiences led him to master the keys, a talent that turned into a side gig, performing at weddings and special events. The producer-singer-lyricist was part of a music group in high school called Future, releasing a 22-song project that sold over 150 CDs.
J.Soul attended Augusta State University and got hired at the local station FOXIE 103 where he met a rising DJ and producer named DJ Spinz. While the two friends would reconnect later in their careers, J.Soul went on to do on-air broadcasting, as well as work at WPRW in Augusta. Prior to graduating college, packing up his studio and moving to Atlanta, the ambitious hustler became a father. He took odd jobs to make ends meet and networked during his downtime. The persistence paid off in the form of engineering classic mixtapes for DJ Scream, in addition to the popular Southern Swagger and Space Invaders series. At this time, J.Soul took on the role of manager to Grand Hustle artist Baby Boy, even producing the track “Stuntin’” that featured Yung LA. While that relationship dissolved amicably, the go-getter worked with NBA baller-turned-artist Amar’e Stoudemire and also did freelance production for numerous independent artists. In 2012, J.Soul experienced one financial disaster after another, causing him to abandon his musical aspirations and settle into a corporate job. Being that pain often breeds passion and stimulates great art, the talented musician returned to the game by interning at Twelve Music. He quickly moved up the ranks to studio manager followed by chief engineer and ultimately earned the title of audio engineer at Atlantic Records. With a new mindset and position, J.Soul worked with Polow Da Don, Kap G, OT Genasis, Young Thug and K. Michelle, to name a few.
My Brother, Carl "DJ C-Blendz" Burroughs (iheart radio)