SIMMONS & THE SUPERSOUL SESSIONS.
I’ll be getting to the hallowed halls of the SuperSoul Sessions shortly, but first, a bit on the background of the man behind it all, DJ Paul Simmons.
First and foremost, let me establish that I believe a truly great DJ is an artist in their own right, much as the conductor to an orchestra is. From a mass of literally millions of tracks at their fingertips they select the choicest cuts to blend together in order to make a sublime set that inspires and elevates feeling and mood, or else, in the case of a remix, they add their unique touch to one particular tune in order to breathe a whole new life in it, not only extending it perhaps, but giving it it a fresh edge of rhythm, beat and – as I call it – bounce. Whether the DJ is coming to you from the radio, from a pre-recorded set or live from their ‘pulpit’ within the ‘church’ of a club, any DJ worth their salt is taking us the listener upon a journey that can be as spiritual, uplifting and memorable as any great odyssey can be.
With that in mind then, here begins my first foray into what will become a revisited topic, introducing various DJs to you. My initial guest is my friend Paul Simmons.
In the matter of being a DJ it could be said, albeit most politely, that Paul proved somewhat precocious, since he has been playing records in public since the age of 10.
“I used to play at our primary school disco’s with my friend at the time Lonnie Plunkett, those were the days. However I really started as a professional DJ in 1990 as a resident DJ of a pub on the Old Kent Rd called Webster’s, playing house and techno.”
This has led Paul on to a career that has enabled him to continually pursue his love of music, travelling worldwide to entertain the masses, including global tours with the Salvation group and a period residing in Spain with two major club residencies, leading to a highlight for him undoubtedly which was playing to a crowd of a (mere) million people at Orgullo Gay (World Pride Pride) in Madrid in 2007. As well as being known under his own name, Paul has also gone under the moniker of DJ Phaze 3, which back in 1994 saw him releasing his first 12″ record (Words Of Wisdom) on his own imprint (State Of The Art Recordings) back in 1994 at the height of the UK Jungle rhythm-as-melody style days and nights. But putting the times of clubbing to a side now, ask Paul what his dream job or gig is the answer is straightforward:
“I have always wanted to be a presenter on a radio network, playing and sharing the music I love.”
Given not only his vast seemingly never-ceasing knowledge of tunes but also the fact that Paul possess a smooth and soothing rich baritone voice this progression seems entirely as it should, he’s a natural as one would say, and it is to Sparkle Radio.net’s luck and joy perhaps that such a golden asset such as Paul has not been prime plucked by the BBC for their own gain.
Before I go on to the SuperSoul Sessions themselves, one question I always ask my interviewees is who has or continues to inspire them in life. Paul’s answer is one you hope can pour from every son’s lips:
“Simple question to that answer really, my Mother. Watching her raise my sister and I, and being the glue that holds my family together no matter what the problem, my Mother has the ability to keep calm when everyone else is loosing their heads and thus always finds the best solution. An amazing lady my love and respect for my Mother is unparalleled.”
Someone unknown once wrote: “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a while but their hearts for ever.” Certainly true in my case, and clearly so with Paul too.
So, the SuperSoul Sessions. Established in 2015 the shows are via Sparkleradio and collected at Mixcloud for future listening have been building a steady following ever since their arrival.
Amongst the ears of discerning listeners are the likes of luminaries such as Jocelyn Brown and Patrick Adams, so that alone would tell you he is doing something good. That should be GOOD in capitals, because what Paul never ceases in doing is delivering a rich feast of the finest funk, decadent disco and blissful boogie; well-established classics sandwiched between the majority which are rare cuts and glistening hidden gems that only a true aficionado and maestro could amass. It is a true treasure house of uplifting delights. What follows gives an indication of that.
I went on over our chat to ask Paul some more-or-less impossible to completely answer questions, simply due to what is an ever fluid love of music, but it brings up some colourful choices none the less. Firstly, I asked him to name just three music artists that he loves:
“James Brown, probably my favourite artist of all time simply because he invented Funk. Without him and the band he had, nothing I play in any genre would be as it is today.
Roy Ayers. Just simply a musical genius, everything he touches is sublime from his Early Jazz pieces right through to his disco and funk extravaganza, just everything on his record label Uno Melodic is a classic. This cat has so much Funk running through his veins.
Patrick Adams. He is, in my humble opinion, responsible for some of the most amazing music ever made. The disco records he has written, produced and recorded are revered by every record collector and music connoisseur for the genre, and his knowledge and talents stretch much much further than just disco. He’s a Genius, and I love him dearly.”
I then asked him to name but three tracks of any genre that he could list as all-time favourites.
“I can’t answer this question, for the simple fact there are too many pieces from too many genres that have moved me deeply for different reasons in some way. I can give you three pieces that have me hooked at present but these are not exclusive and by no means favourites of all time as that is forever changing.”
Lisa Richards: Hooked On Your Love
Sylvia Striplin: Give Me Your Love
Bo Kirkland & Ruth Davis: You’re Gonna Get Next To Me
And then just three that would make a SuperSoul Playlist:
Mr Magic: Potential 1980
Funk Deluxe: This Time
Donna McGhee: It Ain’t No Big Thing
A fine selection of tunes indeed, as any avid listener to the SuperSoul Sessions would know you’re going to discover. I heartily recommend joining him live every Tuesday from 18:00/20:00 GMT 13:00/15:00 CT on http://www.sparkleradio.net, or catching up on past sessions via Mixcloud. To paraphrase, take a music bath here once a week and you will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.