June is Black Music Month and the perfect time to present to you a soul band that is cutting edge and quite frankly “off the chain!” This band is so cold, so funky and so “Retro Futuristic.” I am referring to none other than Aniba Hotep & The Sol Collective!
This Chicago-based band is comprised of seven members, led by the beautiful songwriter and vocal powerhouse, Aniba Hotep. Her melodic voice is harmonized and supported by two equally beautiful queens, Neri Ma’at and Caress Sahura. These songbirds are accompanied by the rich and soulful sounds of one of the baddest bands you’ll ever hear, The Sol Collective. The band features William Baggett on bass guitar, Aum Mu Ra El on lead guitar, Nathional Warren on keyboards and Anthony Stevens on drums. Their rendition of Chaka Khan’s classic “Stay” is breathtaking, as well as their bangin’ version of her hit “Sweet Thang.” The band prides itself on producing music that has a soulful overtone, a hip-hop undertone and a futuristic progression, hence the title for their new CD, Retrofuturistic Sol (Sol Genetics). Aniba Hotep & TSC views itself as the natural progression of soul music. They also pride themselves as being one of the longest working independent bands coming out of Chicago. Aniba Hotep & TSC would like to show young children that playing an instrument, singing with strong vocals, power and harmonies is beyond cool. They also want to prove to the music industry that bands are not dead. Their ultimate goal is to preserve the genre of soul music. They see themselves as a movement, not just a band. They pattern a lot of what they do as a band, after Earth, Wind & Fire and they plan to be just as big. Their secret to staying together is not just the love for the music, but love for each other.
Aniba Hotep is a singer/songwriter whose name translates as “messenger of peace.” Born in a small town in Virginia, Aniba’s career started at the early age of 8 years old. She would travel all throughout Virginia performing in churches. She became known as “little Mahalia” amongst her church peers. Her powerful southern voice, even as a child, would help her to win contest after contest. It also brought her to the famed Apollo Theater. She remained popular, as the quiet girl with the big voice, throughout high school and college. After college, she made the decision to move to Chicago where she performed at local open mics, quickly becoming respected as a vocal powerhouse. She then began to make recordings with a local hip-hop producer. Her voice gelled so well with hard hitting hip hop tracks that she decided to release the songs as an EP entitled Etheric Child. The EP gained much respect from her peers and audiences. Though she is a closeted hip-hop fanatic, it came to a point when the tracks where no longer enough to showcase all of her vocal ability. She then began to seek out a band that had the movement and fluidity that she felt on the songs she wrote. Aniba’s voice was so respected that it was not hard finding a band. Aniba is classic in every way, from moving from the country to the big city, to having roots in the church and influences like Otis Redding, Al Green, Shirley Brown, Betty Wright, Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson. She is a musical chameleon, able to morph into any style, from gospel to hip hop to acoustic. She also writes and performs alternative rock and country. She has an acoustic CD that she is currently working on, and she implements soulful tones that haven’t been heard since the 60s and 70s. Aniba is what many call the natural progression of soul. She has lead her band, The Sol Collective, to many heights, from performing at venues such as House Of Blues, Steppenwolf Theater, NAACP Gala, Real Men Cook, Mayne Stage Theater, The McCormick Place, The African Festival of The Arts, Majestic Star Casino, a Nelson Mandel tribute with Congressman Bobby Rush, and more. She has headlined and performed with many greats such as Gerald Alston of The Manhattans, The Drifters, Mint Condition, Chaka Khan and Carl Thomas. Aniba recently released an EP through CD Baby entitled The SOLution, which features five singles and reached the top ten on the soul and neo-soul charts. The EP showcases her writing ability, as well as her ability to make modern soul hits that touch both the young and the old, regardless of gender or race. In March 2013, she received national recognition as the winner of TV One’s Are You Unsung? vocal competition and was featured on the TV show Unsung. With Aniba’s amazing vocal and writing skills, you can look to her to become the modern day Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle or Tina Turner.
The band’s style of dress is influenced by the 1970s through 2014. This fly appearance is achieved by vocalist Caress Sahura, who also serves as the group’s stylist, hair dresser and make-up artist. Her artistry transforms the ladies into divas, retro party girls or futuristic temptresses. Bass player William Baggett is the music director. His leadership takes you on a journey that you never want to end. Vocalists Neri Ma’at and Caress Sahura also serve as choreographers for the group. The band doubles as its own production team, and is completely self-contained. They have successfully become their own promoter, booking agent, marketer and more, single-handedly bringing thousands to their shows.
Managing Aniba for 10 years and the band since its inception, Ishmael White says, “Aniba said, ‘If you really want to see what I can do, I would need a full band.’ So, I began seeking out a band for her and that’s how The Sol Collective began. I’m just happy it has worked out the way it has, because each person in the band is amazing on their own.” In reference to the band, he explains, “I push the band as hard as I do because I believe they are the answer. They are the answer for the older generation that misses real music, real musicians being dressed to the nines, care, concern and versatility. They are the answer for younger people who are into rap/hip-hop sounds, samples, flair and attitude. I believe Aniba Hotep & TSC have the perfect mix of both. That’s an actual quote that George Daniels said about them at one of their concerts. My life’s mission at this time is to bring the generations together through music and Aniba Hotep & TSC is the answer, the glue, the truth, the bridge, the future!” Aniba Hotep & The Sol Collective bring powerful vocals, a powerful band and a powerful presence.
Aniba Hotep has also created a Health & Beauty line, Hotep Essentials, which is specially formulated shea butter creams that help with poor circulation, eczema, rashes, burns, arthritis and more. The line also carries organic, aluminum-free deodorant and organic lip balms. Supporting vocalist Caress Sahura has a natural hair and make-up collection, Love by Caress. The line enhances natural beauty that radiates from within, while providing product knowledge and beauty awareness. You can learn more about Love by Caress on Facebook or Instagram at @lovedbyCaress. Lastly, lead guitar player Aum Mu Ra El is also a gifted artist and painter. I own a beautiful mural that he painted. You can follow him on Facebook.
Aniba Hotep & TSC guarantee that anything they release will be an instant classic, giving the music industry the much needed boost the world has been waiting for. Using the sales from The SOLution, the band recorded and produced their new full length CD, Retro Futuristic Sol. In addition, the band is working on an instrumental CD and an acoustic album that will showcase even more Aniba’s vocal power and range. All three CDs will include a wide range of genres, from jazz to folk music. The band has captured the attention of several sponsors, including Electra Guitars. In addition, they are currently being scouted by several record labels. With vocal comparisons to Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill and Lalah Hathaway and musical comparisons to Rose Royce, Earth, Wind & Fire, Mint Condition and Maze; all packaged with millennium flavor, Aniba Hotep & TSC’s aspirations are more than assured! Interscope Records executive Don Clemons described Aniba Hotep & TSC as the most soulful and musically talented band out of Chicago since Earth, Wind & Fire; former Soul Train Holdings LLC Partner Kenard Gibbs deemed them “superstars. “
I have witnessed them perform live several times and their performance not only moves your booty, it moves your soul. The band’s chemistry is fluid and the leading ladies have a sisterhood that is remarkable, as displayed in Caress Sahura’s comment, “Neri Ma’at and I are ‘supporting vocalists.’ We don’t use the words ‘background singers.’” Together, the band is a cohesive family, filled with love, unity and flyness, and that’s why they have been together for seven years.
For more information, you can log onto their Reverbnation page Facebook page. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @anibahotep_tsc.
—Pierre A. Evans
Freelance Writer – SoulTrain.com Contributing Writer, Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Model, Poet, DJ and Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. You can follow me on Facebook on Twitter @Playerre, or log onto my website at http://www.pinnacleentertainmentprod.com/. LOVE, PEACE AND SOOOUUULLL!!!!!