Tortured Soul. Picture: Peter Fulop

One of the finest creators of soulful house music, Tortured Soul, will be performing on the Bassline Live stage in Johannesburg tonight. 

The American group’s drummer and singer, John-Christian Urich, said they were excited to be in Johannesburg, performing for audiences they felt understood and appreciated their jazzy sound. 

“It’s great to be back. We love coming here and we actually have thought of moving here in the past. Who knows what the future holds,?” Urich said. 
He recalled the first time they performed in South Africa, at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2011. 

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“For us at least South Africa is indeed the house capital of the world.The first time we were here was the Cape Town Jazz Festival and we didn’t realise quite how popular we were, but it was a truly amazing feeling, and that has kept us coming back over and over again,” he said

Tortured Soul is known for their 100% live modern, deep, soulful house music that prides itself on being freed from the DJ booth.

Tortured Soul. Picture: Peter Fulop

They are one of the world’s most groove-centred acts, with a sound reminiscent of neo-soul groups like Jamiroquai or the Brand New Heavies. 

Their sound is also deeply saturated in the contemporary freshness of house purveyors like Joe Negro, Kenny Dope, Soul Clap and Disclosure. 

It’s this universal sound that leads them to be among one of the leading voices in the house music scene. Urich also spoke of the South African house scene, which they have shown appreciation for, by collaborating with some of the country’s foremost house creators, including Black Coffee. 

“I think it’s safe to say that South Africa and the South African producers have influenced the entire house scene to the extent that DJs around the world recognise that South Africa has a sound of its own,” he said. 

He added they would be collaborating in the future with more South African producers. Their current list includes Mi Casa, Black Coffee and relatively unknown Cornelius Mashilane who remixed one of their latest releases, U Live 2 far away. 


“We feel that we’ve gotten to do some really cool music with some of the best South African artists from well-known to up-and-coming. And yes, certainly, we would like to continue this trend of collaborating with South African artists. We love fusing our sound with the South African sound. It feels like two chefs in the kitchen sharing spices to come up with an amazing new dish!”.

About the remix by Mashilane, he said: “We were quite happy with how Cornelius flipped it. He’s a great talent and kind gentleman.

“This song is basically about going to the next level committing on the next level. 

“We had another recent  release called Making Me Better  as well that was released at the same time. And we have a couple more singles coming out in February so please check for them,” he said. 

Tortured Soul. Picture: Peter Fulop

Urich said one of their favourite things to do in the country was to visit Table Mountain, and meeting their fans. 

“I think getting to chat with fans after we perform at festivals to see first hand how people enjoy our music on a personal level is always one of the greatest feelings there is. On the touristy tip climbing up Table Mountain wasn’t bad either,’’ Urich said. 

With a new album, Hot For Your Love Tonight, burning up dance floors with songs like the heartfelt I’ll Be There For You and the Deep House-flavoured Don’t Lead Me On, Tortured Soul shows no signs of stopping their reign in the house world. 

* Tortured Soul will perform tonight  at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City. Tickets are available from R200 to R685 at Computicket.