Georgia Anne Muldrow Is the Most Soulful Woman in the Western States
To invoke Bobby Byrd, Rakim and Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, soul is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it. It can't be calculated, borrowed or bought. The idea is more ancient than Scripture, and its effects are equally ineffable. "Soul" is pure cliché and an unavoidable ascription. So I asked Georgia Anne Muldrow what it meant to her -- because there may be no more soulful woman in the Western states than this L.A.-raised 29-year-old.
Her main residence is in the Mojave, but Muldrow frequently returns home, and she remains one of the city's most celebrated astral travelers. She's worked closely with Sa-Ra and J*DaVeY, and her latest greatest record is March's Seeds, produced entirely by the enigmatic Madlib, L.A.'s reigning jazz beats and blunts baron.
"Soul is a real and beautiful thing," Muldrow says from the home in Las Vegas that she shares with her children and "husfriend," Dudley Perkins, a funkdafied rapper-crooner who has released several albums on Stones Throw.
"When Curtis Mayfield sings, it's soulful because it comes from his soul, not the sounds that he makes. I think Neil Young is soulful but he doesn't make 'soul' music. It's about singing from your life experiences -- the difference between singing from the spirit in your body versus only your body."
In Muldrow's case, soul is birthright. Her father was renowned local jazz guitarist Ronald Muldrow. Her mother is Rickie Byars-Beckwith, musical director of the Agape Spiritual Center in Culver City. Her stepdad is the center's founder, Rev. Michael Beckwith, famed for his role as one of the teachers in The Secret. Raised in the Mid-City area around Little Ethiopia, Muldrow grew up singing in the church. But her intellectual epicenter was Leimert Park, the bohemian enclave in South Central that nurtured her love of poetry, politics and social concern.