Caron Wheeler and Soul II Soul blazed a unique musical path spanning hip hop and soul. "Keep On Movin" and "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me) which she wrote and sang lead on still endure. These days she is still performing and continues to get requests from fans asking her to perform again with Jazzie B. She is in fact in studio again , working with long time friend and musical partner Jazzie B. on new music. At the same time she's working on her own solo release as well. With all this going on she made time to performed at the Biggasounds record label party, held at Santos Party House in Manhattan. Biggasounds was founded by vocalist/songwriter Monique Bingham who also performed with her band. As a long time admirer Ms. Bingham decided to bring something special to the label event ; "Her name came up in conversations with Ralf Gum, and I found out she lived in NYC and just reached out and begged. That's really it, she's my hero. I wanted to have a kind of eclectic night so it just seemed to make sense." It was a very electric and eclectic night, and on top of all that I had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with Caron Wheeler.
Caribbean Posh - Caron tell us about your roots, your family comes from the Caribbean right?
CW- Of course, they come from St. Ann Parish in Jamaica I think that's where I get my experience for writing songs.
Caribbean Posh- You're planning a new album, how is that going?
CW- Well I'm working on a record, it's kind of been years in the making. I've got about four or five albums that I've done without actually releasing anything, and I'm basically pulling things from there that really stick out. Things from different albums that no one's heard yet and making a new album along with some of the songs I'm writing now. I can't explain it, you need to be there. You need to listen to it, the only way I can explain it is that I write from the heart, and what I feel I do it, I put it on the music.
Caribbean Posh- When are you planning to release the new material?
CW- I'm planning on this summer, a couple tunes this summer and a couple in the fall. We want to push what we've got before we put too much out there. You don't want to saturate, you just want to get people to notice you.
Caribbean Posh- What is most important with regards to how you want to approach your new music?
CW -We just want to do our thing, go out our own indie label so we can control what happens to some degree and hopefully people are listening . We're got a lot of shows this summer which is great. Soul II Soul and Caron Wheeler, private parties and people keep booking me for stuff . I've been very very blessed to still be working at this point in my life and that I still have a career, I'm very grateful.
Caribbean Posh-I also hear you have been working with Jazzie again, that true?
CW - Yes I've been doing some things with Jazzie, but I think he's a bit chicken to put it out (laughs). Sorry babes if you hear this tuff cause I think you acting chicken mon (laughs). We've got some good stuff already there, if we release what we have I think we'll have some more hits. for some reason people love to see me and him together.
Caribbean Posh- Do you think it's because they you and Jazzie were iconic symbols of Soul II Soul?
CW - Its just that they remember the Soul II Soul hits from back in the day. A lot of people say to me "we didn't know there were any other singers to Soul II Soul but you." I'm like, no they had at least 15 since I wasn't there for a while.
Caribbean Posh- When did you rejoin Soul II Soul?
CW- I went back and started working with the regular in 2007. We did a series of concerts in Europe and we're starting our American leg getting people reconnect with us. So June 4 2011 in D. C. will be the first time we both perform together since in the U.S since the Palladium in 1989, 300 years ago .
Caribbean Posh- What are you expecting for the D. C. concert?
CW-I think its gonna be a fantastic gig. I'm doing all the leads because generally when they travel with the English band seeing as I can sing everything anyway they let me sing em all .We've got a band of like 18 people in London ... fierce. We're bringing a Ten piece band to D. C. I live here so I can go there real easy. We have mates in D. C. so we just kinda hang out after the show is over.
Caribbean Posh- The Soul II Soul sound made a huge impact here in New York in the late 80's, what stands out for you now as you look back?
CW-I think I was stunned about the 1989 phenomenon of Soul II Soul blowing up and taking over the world with a new sound. I think that we didn't get really credited for bringing a new wave of music. That being Hip Hop Soul if that's what you wanna call it, that kind of vibe. I think before there was Mary J. there was Soul II Soul. We came with that hardness but the softness at the same time, the melody, and sound system type music and killed it. People really really went nuts for that. It was an interesting time because we didn't know what we were doing and we just did what we wanted to do and it turned out to be something that people really needed.
Caribbean Posh- Do you still get a lot of people asking when you will work with Jazzie again?
CW- People are really stuck on me and Jazzy doing more music it's like; he's got the beats together she's got the singing together so why not. But he's a bit chicken, I'm gonna have to slap him up a bit when he comes to DC (laughs).
Caribbean Posh- How difficult is it to maintain the balance between parent and performer?
CW- I've got friends that help me I confess that I do have a couple of young ladies that do a rotation shift. They come stay with my baby and help get her to school for me on late nights when I'm working in clubs, they make sure she goes to bed on time. she makes sure that she has her bath gets to school on time, she's fabulous. Those kind of people help me, I'm a single mom, I didn't want to be a single mom ... anyway at the end of the day you have to do what you have to do. she's very well taken care of. She loves her mum and I love her, and we have little baby and mummy and days so its alright.
Caribbean Posh-Caron Thank you so much
CW - you're welcome
Photos: Roy Anthony Morrison/Photosoul Media