by Ben L'Oncle Soul
Yes, France has a singer who can shake it with very best R&B artists that the US has to offer and, as his name suggests, has plenty of soul. Mix Bruno Mars with Stevie Wonder, add some retro geek and you have the très cool BEN L’ONCLE SOUL.
Real name Benjamin Duterde, Ben’s onstage moniker of BEN L’ONCLE SOUL (pronounced ‘Lohnk-luh’), loosely translates into ‘Ben - The Soul Uncle’.
“Whether he’s got nieces and nephews to call his own isn’t important – what is: that he delivers on the genre element of his stage name. Sweet and smooth, his vocals are immediately impressive.” BBC
BEN L’ONCLE SOUL’s musical fate was unavoidable. Throughout his childhood his mother would soothe him to sleep with the soft sounds of Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway, and wake him to the beat of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye.
Hailing from Tours in central France, Ben has taken the music that was such an in integral part of his early life and given it his own unique twist, inevitably leading him to be signed to the home of soul, Motown Records.
After learning his trade performing in music halls in every corner of France, Ben was spotted and immediately signed. He moved on, refining his craft with leading French artists, such as Musiq Soulchild, Raphael Saadiq, and India Arie, and it was then that The Soul Uncle really began to catch the attention of the French music world.
His retro debut EP ‘Soulwash’ saw him rework classic pop into contemporary soul, tackling tracks as diverse as The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’, Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, and Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed A Girl’.
18 months ago, Motown France then released Ben’s self titled debut album to an unsuspecting mainstream public in A year later, BEN L’ONCLE SOUL has sold almost half a million albums (4 x Platinum) and over 300 tour dates over has seen Ben perform for nearly 1 million instant fans – including no less than 10 sold-out dates at Zenith in Paris.
Though recorded in a Belgian garage, the spirit of Memphis and Detroit remains strong throughout the 14 tracks, with Stax brass and Motown melodies dancing effortlessly with one another. A blend of tender lows in the track ‘Come Home’, emphatic highs with ‘Ain’t Off To The Back’, a call for help with ‘Partir’ and infectious humour with smash hit ‘Soulman’, the songs all resonated with an audience desperate to fall in love with music once again.
BEN L’ONCLE SOUL’s inevitable rise as a one-man-hit-maker may have been his fate, but none could have predicted the dizzying heights he would reach in such a short amount of time.
Following his album’s success came countless awards, groundbreaking video clips and live concert DVD and inspirational performances complete with one of the slickest big bands around. Thousands of new fans are rapidly turning into millions as Ben now continues his journey outside of France, throughout Europe and into the rest of the world.
“...a retro-soul revue that genuflects in the direction of Motown and Stax, while being richly enhanced by Ben's vocals, with their startling affinity to Stevie Wonder. Ballads and funky shuffles are originals but nigglingly familiar” - The Standard
“...a nu-soul singer of enormous charm and undoubted interpretive abilities” - The Independent
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