Afro Soul Sounds is a D.C. based group of musicians that strives to highlight the importance of community togetherness through their collective artistic efforts. Afro Soul Sounds was started by four Howard University artists, MOR, Anexis, Sefu and Precious Jewel, following the summer of 2021. After Howard was shut down due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus in 2020, each of these artists began to feel a sense of isolation while creating their separate projects. They missed the vibrant feelings of performing onstage and getting to interact with other musicians and their peers. As Howard opened back up for the Spring 2021 semester, these artists decided to come together to start a group and throw intimate shows around the city where Washington, D.C. residents and Howard University students could experience the beauty of sharing community in musical spaces again.
The name Afro Soul Sounds was chosen by the group to signify their unity as Black musicians who create soulful sounds together, which often use samples and influence from old school Soul and RnB music. Each artist in Afro Soul Sounds has a unique talent. In addition to being the lead singer of Afro Soul Sounds, Precious Jewel is also the creative director for the group who spearheads all of their social media and photo and video shoots. In addition to rapping in the group, Sefu is a skilled graphic designer who creates the flyers to promote the group’s shows. MOR is a rapper, producer and engineer with a lot of music industry knowledge. Outside of performing with Afro Soul Sounds, she works to mix and master many of their tracks, as well as to keep the group informed on ways they can expand their reach in their local communities and beyond. Anexis brought the group together. After being friends and fans of Precious Jewel, Sefu and MOR separately he started to notice a similar mood in each performer’s music that he thought would sound impactful if they all performed together.
Precious Jewel reflected on the group coming together by saying, “We’ve been drawn together by the desire to pour into our art intentionally, and with equally passionate people. We champion growth and ascension towards our freest versions of self as we make art. We are each distinctly different, and we carry our own styles with grandeur, grace and gratitude. We aim to move like family in the creative care that we extend towards each other and our supporters.”
Since starting their group, Afro Soul Sounds has thrown four sold-out shows in D.C. They have performed at some iconic D.C. locations, including Spacy Cloud. Spacy Cloud is a D.C. gem that has fostered artistic growth in the community for years, through providing healthy vegan meals to the community and providing venues where emerging artists, from musicians to skateboarders, can come to share their gifts. Afro Soul Sounds always strives to choose venues which are in support of the up-and-coming music scene in D.C. Their final show of the year sold out to 70 attendees at The Pocket D.C. During the show, each member of Afro Soul Sounds performed sets independently to showcase their individual music tastes. Toward the end of the show, they all took the stage together to perform the songs that they created as a group. Their music spoke to the importance of building united Black communities through genuine care, support and love for our other community members. Afro Soul Sounds has not only created an avenue for themselves to express their musical talents, but they also invite other up and coming musicians to join them on stage during their events. Their Dj, Dayii, was brought on during the second Afro Soul Sound’s show of the year, and they have continued to perform with the group since then. Rapper, Isaac, and singer-songwriter, Christian, were also invited on stage to perform during the December 4th show. Afro Soul Sounds is comprised of two women and two men performers, and they seek to provide space for all Black people—including women, transgender and non-binary folk—to express their musical talents.
MOR explained, “Everyone in the group is an artist, curating music as individuals and as a collective. As individual artists, we all have very distinct sounds and styles that reflect our backgrounds and environments, but our sounds somehow, when put together, flow beautifully.”
Looking forward, Afro Soul Sounds plans to host several more shows in D.C. and throughout the U.S. in 2022. They aim to continue to improve their base of supporters, while also making connections with other Black up and coming and established artists. Ultimately, by creating and sharing their music together, Afro Soul Sounds remains dedicated to expressing and admiring the intricacies of Black life, culture and identity through their community-centric, artistic ventures.
Anexis said, “Our goal is to continue our growth, not just in numbers of attendees but in quality of venue and genuine support for our efforts. Next year, we plan on doing bigger shows in D.C., as well as expanding and performing in other cities like Philly and New York.”