Their first North London sound system, Jah Rico, played mainly reggae, but after three years changed the vibe to more soul and funk and Soul II Soul was born. "We came up with the name not just because of the music we played, it also stood for Daddae and myself - two souls moving together. We've always had that kind of relationship – there are not many words exchanged between us, but everything that’s happened has been very much in tandem."
Soul II Soul quickly achieved a name in their community, but were in no position to give up the day jobs, and at age 18, Jazzie was working for cockney pop legend Tommy Steele, as a tape operator. He found himself one of the few black people working in London’s recording studio and recalls how this shaped his attitude: "It made me vexed in one way, but it made me see that there are parts of the industry that we're not taking care of because we always want to be so upfront." As Soul II Soul grew, Jazzie was determined to create a dancefloor environment that would appeal across the board.
Soul II Soul’s dances had been reflecting what was occurring naturally in London; kids of all races had grown up together and were now raving together. By the mid-1980s the warehouse scene was in full swing, vibrant and underground, removed from the constraints of the mainstream – a natural fit for Soul II Soul’s creativity: "We were very arty as an early sound. We never had conventional speakers, we used pyrotechnics in a dance, we had banners and strobes in a house party!"
To date Soul II Soul have sold over 10 million albums in over 35 territories worldwide and have product on over 200 compilation CDs while Jazzie has accreditation on over 35 million albums in over 100 territories. They’ve performed in over 20 countries, and appeared at some of the most famous venues in the world including Wembley and New York's Universal Ample Theatre. America embraced Soul II Soul to such a degree, in 1990 they picked up two Grammy's. Jazzie was given the keys to seven cities in the US, including LA and New York, and the NAACP has honoured him. There's even a Soul II Soul day over there.