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Who is Bo Saris? So effortlessly does Bo Saris tap into the golden era of vintage soul that, when you first hear his voice,
it's hard not to believe he's a contemporary of legends like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Al Green and Marvin Gaye. Curtis
Mayfield and Donny Hathaway. Listen to his self-released single She's On Fire and you might even think you're
listening to a long-lost song by Marvin Gaye, or maybe that sweet falsetto is Al Green, or Smokey Robinson. Then you take
a look at the video and you'll think he looks a lot like Sam Cooke. But that is Sam Cooke, in a cleverly edited montage that
pays homage to his heroes. In fact Bo Saris is a young Dutchman with one foot in the past and the other firmly in the present.
He comes not from Harlem but 3,000 miles away in Haarlem the Dutch town that lent its name to soul music's spiritual
home in New York City. But don't let that put you off: as Michael Jackson put it, It don't matter if you're black or
white. You don't have to be American either. Plenty of contemporary soul singers can attest to that, including Amy
Winehouse and Plan B (London), Paolo Nutini and Emeli Sande (Glasgow) and the new kid on the block, John Newman (Yorkshire).
Bo Saris sits as comfortably alongside them as he does with the veterans who inspired them. He is equally at ease in the dance
world. His vocals embellish a self-penned song on Chase & Status's new album. And Bo's own career kicked off in the clubs
with Maya Jane Coles's deep house remix of She's On Fire, showcasing his remarkable falsetto. Bo's affinity with
the dance world is borne out by the fact that another of his tracks, The Addict, is now also riding high in clubland
thanks to a house remix by the great Todd Edwards. So who exactly is Bo Saris? He grew up listening to his mother's collection
of soul and funk music, and inspired by his father's career as a popular jazz singer in their native Holland. Bo made his
musical debut at school and played his first gig at 16. In his teens he converted to hip-hop, and discovered Prince, factors
which may help explain the contemporary edge to his take on classic soul. It's a balance beautifully brought out on Bo's
first UK album - TITLE - by renowned producer Dre Harris (Michael Jackson, Mary J Blige, Usher, Chris Brown) during
recording sessions in Los Angeles. I'm trying to combine a vintage soul sound with something more modern, taking bits
and pieces from different styles and eras of soul music, Bo explains. His eureka moment came in 2011 when he performed
at a televised tribute to soul great Bill Withers in Amsterdam. At the after-show party, he found himself chatting to one
of his idols. When we started talking I realised this guy was one of the most humble people maybe the most humble
person - I have met in my life. Such a pure and beautiful person. That blew me away. His musical legacy speaks for itself
but the man himself is very inspiring. The whole conversation was inspiring for me and I took very important things out of
it. One of those things was to move to London to launch his career in the UK. I realised I have to stay true
to the black music - soul, blues, jazz, funk - that is my influence and inspiration. That's what I grew up on and that is
who I am. In his video for The Addict, Bo Saris starts to reveal himself, albeit in animated form. But
he promises that he will emerge before long. People love a mystery and it's been fascinating to see how people respond
when they don't know who the singer is. But now I'm ready to step into the spotlight.