At just after 11am, the Heritage Award – a distinctive black and red plaque – was unveiled on the front façade of the Electric (which used to be known as The Fridge in the early 1990s) in Brixton, where the group fronted by the legendary Jazzie B played their first full live gig in 1991.
It was unveiled by members of Soul II Soul including Jazzie B, vocalist Caron Wheeler, Aitch B and Jazzi Q, PRS for Music Deputy Chair, Paulette Long and Shadow Business Secretary, Chukka Umunna MP for Streatham, in front of a crowd of fans and media. The unveiling was followed by an exclusive live set playing the hits Keep On Movin, Love Enuff and Get A Life at the venue.
Jazzie B commented: ‘We are really overwhelmed by this award and appreciate everyone’s support over the years. It is ironic that it’s the Jubilee year and that’s when Soul II Soul started and flourished – during a time of recession. That’s what the kids need to do today; we went from Hackney to New York and around the world. Brixton has such a special place in our story and this venue is where things really took off.’
PRS for Music Deputy Chair, Paulette Long remarked: ‘It’s been an absolute privilege to have presented the Heritage Award to Soul II Soul and to the Electric. Having grown up in the Brixton area, and born just a stones throw away from the Electric, it’s fantastic to recognise one of the area’s leading musical talents who have inspired many musicians the world over, and I know that Brixton will continue to produce more artists of this calibre for us to celebrate.’
Commenting, Streatham MP Chuka Umunna said: ‘Soul II Soul’s impact on British music was astounding. The first ever gig I went to was seeing them at Brixton Academy in the early 90’s. For such a legendary band, Soul II Soul haven’t always had the recognition they deserve. It is fantastic that we can honour a home-grown London band in this way and celebrate the fantastic local music venues and thriving scene that make our live gigs and contribution to music the envy of the rest of the UK.’
Watch M‘s exclusive interview with Jazzie B at the Electric.
Read our Picture This feature, where Jazzie B tells the story of a vintage photo of Soul II Soul in the 1980s.