Over the past decade or so there have been numerous artists that are clearly not R&B but somehow get labeled R&B Artists. The main reason for this is clearly due to image. Record labels will often want to label Black artist as Soul, R&B or Hip Hop when in fact the music is technically pop. It almost seems like they are afraid of place a black artist into the mainstream pop genre. However our ears don’t lie, I am hearing black people singing pop. There is nothing wrong with that but I would prefer it in the correct category.
It gets irritating when I am searching for new artists on services such as Google Music. I expect to her R&B or Neo Soul as per my search but I am being pop singing artists just because they are black. I then need to waste time listening and filtering music out.
The same goes for Hip Hop. If I do a search nowadays, I am going to get a lot of Electro type tracks with Auto tune being labeled as Hip Hop. Again, lot’s of filtering needs to be done before I can find what I want to hear.
A Good example is Emeli Sande who I must say is an awesome singer and artist but I don’t think her music belongs in the Sour or RnB Category. If she were white nobody would really think she was a soulful singer. The fact that she is black (half black) means that she is place in this category. There is also the “Urban” category which black artists tend to be placed in recently, regardless of the musical content. “Urban” doesn’t seem to be a music genre at all, rather more of an image.
We have artists like Rhianna who again is placed in the RnB category but definitely has more of a Pop singing style. Her tracks tend to have that New age soul / pop / electronic sound..
There are many awesome RnB and Neo Soul singers around but they tend to be under the radar. You ever heard of Jarrod Lawson below. Awesome pianist and jazz singer and not black. However that is some real soul there.