*In the same amount of time it took God to create the universe – a week – the Soul Seekers said let there be music and there was music.
“We started rehearsing with a clean slate. Just seven days before we didn’t have not [sic] one song,” Warryn Campbell (Luther, Brandy, Kanye) one of the lead singers said about their microwave fast turn-around time.
That effort, Soul Seekers II, is soon to be released on My Block/Sovereign Music.
The Soul Seekers are a group of hip, award-winning mainstream LA music producers on a mission to spread the good news “and help advance quartet music,” a genre that Campbell says is an often overlooked dying breed. Many gospel quartet pioneers have passed away in recent years and Campbell, a master bassist, says he feels obligated to continue the music that helped shaped his craft.
(Sidebar: Technically, with this ensemble, “quartet” refers to their affinity to that style of music because there are actually eight of them.
The Soul Seekers’ accelerated creative process comes from symmetry the group developed while playing together at their fathers’ churches (several of their dads are pastors) when they were growing up, but says Campbell, now an ordained preacher, “The main thing is we’re all friends.”
While Campbell and his colleagues entered this relationship for love not for money, he hopes that their attempts to revitalize quartet music translates into greater recognition and profitability for the genre as a whole.
“I would love to see quartet music reach higher heights. We’d love to sell 100,000 units …”
Currently, the top selling quartet group is Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s of Mississippi. Two of their albums have exceeded 250,000 units of sale: “Good Times” released in 2000 got over 250,000 Soundscans according to Malaco music executive D.A. Johnson and “Love WIll Go All the Way” which had the hit “Learn to Lean” sold over 270,000 units. These results are uncommon Johnson said adding one of the biggest obstacles for quartets is lack of radio airplay on major stations.
Malaco is doing everything it can to keep gospel quartet music alive, which includes starting an new quartet label and inking a distribution deal with the Soul Seekers.
Individually the Soul Seekers have worked with some of the top names in the business from J-Lo and Beyonce to Frankie Beverly and Maze. Campbell produced “Can I Take You Out” by Luther Vandross, which was one of the late balladeer’s last hits and also produces one of the hottest acts in Gospel, Mary Mary.
Campbell said all of the gents co-produced Soul Seekers II, recorded live in 2007 at Love and Unity Church in Compton, CA. The first single, “It’s all God” features one of his mentors, Marvin Winans. Appealing to all ages, the album offers up-tempo cuts, along with some R&B flavored ballads and even expands their quartet base with the addition of a country number.
I spoke to Campbell about what makes the Soul Seekers click, why working in mainstream and gospel is not a conflict and overcoming kidney cancer. To listen to the testimony of Campbell’s supernatural recovery fast forward to 23:00. The interview concludes with Campbell compelling the unsaved to invite Christ into their hearts.
Watch Warryn Campbell and the Soul Seekers (with Marvin Winans) perform “It’s All God”: