3 Southern Soul Divas To Watch

Southern soul. Her little sister, neo soul is by far one of my favorite genres, mainly because it seems that neo soul is one of the last places where my generation can find true artistry in music. Watch out for these three southern girls. They'll soon be among the ranks of Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Ledisi and Lalah Hathaway. 1. Yazarah- Durham, NC

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JvssYZP5dw&w=560&h=315]

If the beats on Yazarah's latest album, The Ballad of Purple Saint James, sound familiar to you, you're probably still mourning the loss of Little Brother and you probably bump Foreign Exchange regularly to get your fix of rhymes from former Little Brother member Phonte. That's because this album was molded in part by the soul/rap duo, and the same old school samples combined with futuristic melodies shape this album into a must have for any neo soul collector. The former North Carolina Central University student sang backup for Erykah Badu before pursuing a career of her own.  Check YahZarah out on June 23 at the Beyu Caffe.

2. Avery Sunshine- Atlanta, GA

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvB1FYVDdng&w=560&h=315]

This Spelman alumna mixes the soul of jazz and neo soul with the spirit of gospel. She's been the lead keyboardist for Tyler Perry's stage plays, and she even performed for President Obama for his inauguration in 2009. Her self titled album is available now through her website, and go see her live at the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival in Mitchellville, MD.

3. Aretha Henry Jones- Jackson, MS

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ely-_S-Zc3Q&w=420&h=315]

What I love the most about Jones' music is its haunting quality that reminds me of Janet Jackson's Funny How Time Flies. Check out her latest album, The Best of Aretha Henry Jones, on iTunes.