The Soul Survivors Magazine established since 2006 was originally devised to keep the Soul Surviving members of the public up to date with events and to provide targeted advertisements to a captive Soul Surviving audience. Today, it is the essential Soul Survivors guide. The magazine is dedicated to being informative in providing essential information on the history of all things soulful. Soul Survivors fully support artists and are enthusiastic in our approach to explore and expose new music. As a publication Soul Survivors endeavours to continue showcasing the achievements of DJ’s, dancer’s, promoters, artists and musicians who represent the history and culture of the music, transcending beyond the indoctrinated commercial sector and remaining always the “Info provider for the Soul Survivor”.
History of The Soul Survivors Magazine.
The creation of The Soul Survivors Magazine didn’t quite evolve to its original idealistic idea and has organically progressed to what it is today. Anna Marshall and I met in 2004. We had two separate but equally viable ideas and from them we decided to produce a magazine for our fellow mature soul survivors, a healthy volume of whom frequented the clubs and events that catered for, like The Who, “Our Generation”. Anna roamed the south east coast arena going mainly to Flicks in Dartford, The Goldmine in Canvey Island and Caister. I was a Light Of The World inner “London Town” jazz funk and soul head who grew up dancing in west end Soho clubs like Cracker’s 100 Club, The Wag Club and Camden Town’s Electric Ballroom, also travelling to the midlands and north east, as well as Dj-ing in the UK and beyond.
Anna’s idea was to have something similar to her own business in Kent The Local Oracle, an A5 publication that featured the services of various commercial and industrial business, that was made available to locals having it delivered to through their front doors. In contrast the focus of our magazine was directed at a network of the amalgamated professions of those who loved the music, providing their services to each other. So if you were a hairdresser, a mechanic or an accountant by day you could do business with some of the other “Night People” like War who you have a music affiliation with. My input came from 20 years of Dj-ing at various clubs and working for many promoters. I had collated quite a large database of music fans who were always looking for somewhere to go. Regardless if I was Dj-ing or not on a given night, I would either recommend where to go or give a paying concession list to promoters as though I was some kind of oracle service like a human “Time Out” magazine. My phone would be going off with texts and phone calls like I was British Telecom’s main operator service, so providing a platform for this to transpire was another catalyst of starting the magazine.
That in theory sounded like a good plan, and we were both virgins to starting a publication in the music world so we decided it would be a free publication. In fact I’d say we were more of a fanzine to start with as opposed to an established entity like Blues & Soul. However what we did have was my background and musical contacts and Anna’s business production and organisation skills. Being “Optimistic” like Sound Of Blackness, we saw a gap in the market and decided like Kleeer to “Go For It”. We decided upon Anna’s name suggestion from a varied choice The Soul Survivors as our brand. Literally days after deciding on the name I randomly found a DVD I had about James Brown entitled “Soul Survivor”, so that for me was the conformation we had chosen the right name. Our aim from the outset was to be a people’s lifestyle magazine and not an industry biased one, so we did some research speaking with people we knew who were keen on the idea and decided to launch our first one in July 2006.
This venture almost didn’t happen when I had major car accident 26th June breaking my ankle and becoming dependant on crutches to get around. Anna suggested delaying the production but I said the show must go on. As a bi-monthly we managed with the first three to secure some adverts and classified ads with very minimal editorial and a few record reviews written by myself. The fourth issue was a game changer whereby we were due to feature an interview with Jocelyn Brown via an invitation from an old PR mate Paul “Radical” Ruiz. Just as we were about to hit the send button for print a few days later, on 25th December 2006 we learned of the passing of my spiritual godfather James Brown. I was distraught to say the least and after some comforting words from my son Jamal, I decided to write a tribute with contributions from fellow DJ fraternity friends including Paul “Trouble Anderson”, Trevor Nelson, Mark Webster and Norman Jay. We went to print with the front cover of the DVD that confirmed 6 months earlier our choice to call the magazine Soul Survivors.
That article ultimately launched my unorthodox journalist career, one I hadn’t banked on considering I got an E in my O’ Level English Language exam back in 1980! It seemed a natural progression to feature news reviews and interviews as opposed to the classified idea that was discussed, and we became the “Info provider for the Soul Survivor”, our tag line phrase that I proudly came up with. Between myself and Anna we tirelessly stood outside clubs and events up and down the country attending weekenders like Luxury Soul in Blackpool, Southport in the most horrific weather at times especially in the UK Antarctica’s Prestatyn giving out this free publication. We were met with resistance of the varying kind and realised we had to have staying power and prove ourselves worthy. However we drew from the positive energy with many stating that we reminded them of the early days of Blues & Soul. That really tickled me because, unlike most, Blues & Soul was never my bible and if I read 3 copies in its entire history that was the maximum. We did seek some advice from motivational and marketing individuals which is where we got the idea of doing the membership. Simultaneously with the interviews and adverts we were starting to formulate a concise and decent informative A5 magazine.
In In April 2010 landing an interview with Motown legend Smokey Robinson certainly gave us some kudos and negotiating with Jenny McKenzie’s Ultimate Boogie Nights promotion events at Indig02 in Greenwich, certainly helped raise our magazine profile. Jenny would secure the front cover as her main focal point of advertising for roughly three years circa 2010 to 2013. This kept the magazine going with a guaranteed steady income of an on average two to three events per issue coming from Ultimate Boogie Tonight. Many regular and established month events, weekenders and soul holidays were now advertising, and our circulation was increasing to a wider audience outside the UK as a printed or digital copy via the investment in an App for smart phones. With the advent of hosting an annual Soul Survivor Awards in order to recognise the contribution of various individuals and collectives in the music world, the magazine was certainly attracting some of the right people. We had radio shows, merchandise and were seen sponsoring many profile events.
We had, as well as the regular features, article contributions from individuals like Darrell S, Marcia Carr, Ginger Tony, Barry King and several more. The Soul Survivor Magazine was and still is, to advertisers a one-stop shop being amongst the regular features of interviews, record reviews, and other major advertising from the big corporate and the smaller independent organisations. In 2013 I curated the idea to compile the music, draw the artwork and write the sleeve notes for the Expansions CD The Sound Of Universal Love album, in conjunction with Ralph Tee. It’s not all been plain sailing with the intervention of social media and other competitive options becoming available to the huge increase of events and promoters now targeting the mature soul audience. However I believe because of all the sacrificial hard work that was put in and with a touch of good fortune, it’s why we are here to celebrate 10 years, a milestone in a digital technology driven world, doing a printed bi monthly magazine. A favourite Airto song of mine that I used to dance to from 1977 says it all.. ”The Road Is Hard But We’re Gonna Make It”.
In the main from the start it was always just the “Two Of Us” like Grover Washington running this soul surviving ship. There have been some very difficult times and we’ve experienced some casualties along the way, with one major loss of Anna Marshall, who after an agonising decision left in June 2015 after 9 years of blood sweat & plenty of tears. I now had embrace the university challenge of being responsible dealing with what Anna’s varied skills had provided, that included, production, graphics, and idea strategies in keeping the magazine fresh. This is certainly a challenge and being one I now embrace with excitement, enthusiasm and passion. So in short huge thanks to Anna Marshall who had the joint vision to start this venture, which was more of my playground having been a Dj for 20 years, than to Anna’s who previously enjoyed life as a clubber, at the point when we formulated the joint idea. Fast forward like an old TDK C90 tape, the Soul Survivors Magazine celebrates 11 years in July 2017 with some Gok Wan makeovers to our new interactive website, new logo and the return of the Soul Survivor Awards, so watch this space for updates of “What’s Going On” like Marvin with the “info provider for the soul survivor”.