Musiq Soulchild enchants at City Winery Philadelphia - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

As the year wound down, City Winery Philadelphia hosted a soulful evening featuring local R&B star Musiq Soulchild. With his live band and backup singers doubling as dancers, Musiq Soulchild delivered a memorable performance that harked back to Philly’s neo-soul scene in the early aughts.

Musiq Soulchild | photo by Melissa Simpson for WXPN

Born Taalib Johnson in Philadelphia, Musiq Soulchild rose to prominence in the late 1990s with his soulful sound and heartfelt lyrics. His debut album, Aijuswanaseing, established him as a notable soul artist, drawing inspiration from Philadelphia’s rich musical heritage, including legends like Delfonics and Teddy Pendergrass.

The concert began with an emotionally charged rendition of “Deja Vu” which transported the audience back in time. Musiq Soulchild’s stage presence and charm, along with the phenomenal live band, set an upbeat tone that prompted the audience to dance in their seats. The cherry on top may have come from Soulchild’s Backup singers who not only displayed amazing technical vocal skills, but their dance moves amplified the energy of Musiq Soulchild’s performance.

Musiq Soulchild | photo by Melissa Simpson for WXPN

In recent years, Musiq Soulchild has been a little removed from the limelight, though he was still quietly working on new music that spanned both hip-hop and R&B genres. While the peak of his career may have hit long before this writer was of legal drinking age, I was quickly reminded by the number of familiar hits that were performed. In a set that was more than an hour long, I found myself being unfamiliar with only two to three songs. There is no way around it, Musiq Soulchild is a neo-soul icon and has been for the duration of his career.

Musiq Soulchild | photo by Melissa Simpson for WXPN

Throughout the night, Soulchild performed classics like, “teachme,” “sobeautiful,” “Just Friends,” and “halfcrazy.” The latter two songs have seen a second life in the modern R&B era with the likes of Lucky Daye and Wale sampling and referencing each song respectively.

Musiq Soulchild capped off an enchanting performance at City Winery with his most upbeat song, “Buddy.” This audience danced and sang along to every catchy word and melody. This was a testament to his remarkable career and deep connection to Philadelphia. Through soulful melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and dynamic showmanship, Musiq Soulchild left an indelible impression, highlighting the enduring power of Philly’s role in the neo-soul genre and R&B as a whole.

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