Ben L’Oncle Soul is aptly named for his tenderly expressed lyrics and blend of the blues, gospel, and a bit of sweet-sounding rhythms. No doubt, his touring days with the Fitiavana Gospel Choir may have had something to do with it. L’Oncle Soul (aka Benjamin Duterde) shot out of the landlocked city of Tours, France with a musical vigor to succeed. After taking part in the tradition of choir singing, Duterde established himself as a French singer and first captured popularity by way of a home platform of support with his 2009 EP, Soul Wash. One other element of popularity-boosting stemmed from his EP’s cover base including songs by Gnarls Barkley, Spice Girls, Katy Perry, and The White Stripes, lending the short album a touch a familiarity.
His tender vocals and yesteryear style caught the eye of French division of Motown Records, and rightfully so. The label signed him on for the recording of his first solo EP, comprised of mostly covers. This year, after gaining much prominence, Mr. Soul released some originals–and loved “Seven Nation Army” cover–which made their way to the Top 5 of French album charts. His primarily English-sung and self-titled 2010 album is headed abroad with another Motown stamp of approval.”Soulman” is but one gem of the bunch.
Music gurus may have to reconsider the birthplace of soul music. The Blues Brothers better watch out, la France is moving in. In addition to Soulman, be sure to check out his retro music video, “Spy,” a 60’s James Bond film-inspired spectacle and collaboration with rapper Beat Assailant. Enjoy your new-found soul.