R&B/Soul NPR Music stories that feature R&B and soul music.

R&B/Soul

Percy Sledge never matched the height of his first hit, but Lauren Onkey frames it as less of a failure than an act of coming back down to size. Rick Diamond/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Synonymous With Soul, Percy Sledge Transcended The Muscle Shoals Sound

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/807344091/807665183" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Roberta Flack in 1975. Flack's impact as a performer in the pop music space in the 1970s was sudden and massive. Over the next four decades, Flack built a legacy on a quiet belief in limitlessness. David Redfern/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
David Redfern/Getty Images

Justin Bieber, photographed during the 2018 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 16, 2018. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Marlena Shaw's music combines the devotional passion, the harmonic inventiveness and the spirit-led improvisation that we hear in both the gospel and jazz idioms. David D. Spitzer/Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture hide caption

toggle caption
David D. Spitzer/Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Overlooked Activist Power Of Marlena Shaw

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/800422775/802904201" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Jessie Reyez On The Power Of Sad Songs

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/801697008/801832872" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Son Little performing live at WXPN's Free At Noon Concert in November 2019, recorded live for World Cafe Jamie Stow/WXPN hide caption

toggle caption
Jamie Stow/WXPN

Son Little On World Cafe

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/796244929/796258836" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Michael Kiwanuka went to music school, but he thinks technical knowledge is less important than passion and free expression. Olivia Rose/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Olivia Rose/Courtesy of the artist

Michael Kiwanuka On World Cafe

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/789744957/790142396" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">