Genre: R&B, Soul
Country of Origin: New Zealand
Opensouls have been steadily rising through the ranks of the New Zealand music scene since beginning their musical journey in 2001. Comprised of two vocalists, MC Bjorn and singer Tyra Hammond, and a live band including Jeremey Toy a.k.a Ota (guitar/MPC), Julien Dyne (drums), Chip Mathews (bass), Stephine Brown (keys), Scott Towers (saxophone), Issac Aesili (trumpet/vocals) and Harlin Davey a.k.a Buttafingers (turntables/mpc), the collective possesses an abundance of musical flair and experience which they have used to great effect on their critically acclaimed debut album.
While hip hop and soul are undoubtedly the backbone of Opensouls' sound, their music isn't all strictly beats and rhymes. The group have drawn flourishes of inspiration from a wide range of genres including funk, reggae, jazz and blues, all of which they have staked their growing reputation. Released in 2006 through their own label, From The Crate Records, Kaleidoscope mixes the aforementioned genres to create a warm, emotive slice of Aotearoa soul music; a piece of art that is greater then the sum of its individual parts - a kaleidoscope of sound.
The group's live set is also turning heads; when Opensouls' hit the stage, the funk is pushed to the forefront in order to bring the party to the people - a recipe that has made them a fan favourite throughout New Zealand and Australia, where they have entertained large crowds at the Big Day Out, Rhythm & Vines, Parihaka Peace Festival, Soundsplash, Rippon, and the I Love NZ Too series.
Opensouls' music is also making waves internationally. First single 'In Your Hands' appeared on renowned German label Compost's Soulsearching compilation. Second single 'Turn It Up!' received both worldwide DJ support from the likes of Quantic and Dom Servini, and glowing reviews from respected international music sources including influential magazine Straight No Chaser. 'Opensouls' latest 7" release 'Rise Up', has also received stellar reviews from international press and fans alike.
The reaction to Opensouls' music from New Zealand critics has been impressive. The Sunday Star Times' Grant Smithies deemed 'Turn It Up',"as good as any of the recordings on world fucnk labels such as Stone Throw, Daptone or Now Again, and well worth buying a turntable for." The Kaleidoscope album has been equally well received; according to the New Zealand Herald, Kaleidoscope "unfolds with the savoured satafaction of a honeyed crumpet on a Sunday morning". The judges at the New Zealand Music Awards slearly agreed, with Kaleidoscope being nominated for Best Urban/Hip-Hop Album for 2006. 'What Do You Do' claimed best Hip-Hop Song at the 2006 B Net Awards.