Soul originated in the 1950s in the southern united states. Parented by R&B and gospel, these two genres both tie into Soul music. Soul keeps the R&B relation due to its link to physical desire in the lyrics of soul music. On the other hand Soul keeps the gospel relation due to its spiritual connection in the music. During the late 1950s and early 1960s due to the struggles african american people faced, Soul music entered its prime during the civil rights movement. The record labels who produced hit classics such as Motown, Atlantic, and Stax were pioneers in the civil rights era. Artists such as Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye personified what it means to just want peace in a hard time for the african american people. Catchy lyrics, smooth dance moves, and hand claps all make up important characteristics of soul. Another gospel like characteristic of Soul is the call-and-response aspect between the main singer and the background vocalists of the music. A blues like characteristic of the Soul genre is improvisation of the singers in the compositions they make.

With the creation of soul music, there were also stems of sub genres that were influenced by soul. For example Memphis Soul, Detroit (Motown) soul , and Neo-Soul all derived from the classic soul mix of gospel and blues. Memphis soul, which peaked in the 1970s was filled with glam as it featured Staxs records and produced singers like Al Green and Booker T. Motown Soul, which was the forefront of hit makers made a stride in putting artist on the record boards. Lead by Barry Gordy, Motown soul is gospel oriented with hard hitting bass lines, bells, and hand clapping. Neo-Soul which conforms to the newer generation is filled with a mixture of R&B, hip-hop, and 70s Soul. Some characteristics of Neo-Soul feature poetic lines, signing runs, and more technological beats versus real life instrumentation.

Examples of soul music are linked below;