Among the key offerings of the newly unveiled Apple Music platform is Beats 1 radio, which debuted this week with around-the-clock music and dozens of artist-programmed shows from high-profile artists including Pharrell, St. Vincent, Elton John and others.
It’s a major initiative helmed by influential DJ Zane Lowe, whose BBC show was one of the most influential drivers of new sounds in the world. The aim with Beats One? To upend old-school radio with all the star-power Apple money can buy.
Amid the marquee names, though, is an ascendant Los Angeles beat collective called Soulection, whose smooth, deep blend of hip hop, R&B, house and soul is starting connect on a mass scale.
On Wednesday night during episode No. 214 of their weekly radio show, the collective of DJs, artists and producers announced that starting with the new episode on Saturday, Soulection will air its show weekly on Beats One to a potential audience of millions spread across 100 countries.
Founded as a podcast by Long Beach producer/DJ Joe Kay in the late '00s in his grandmother’s den, Soulection has grown into an underground beat music powerhouse. As a student in Long Beach, Kay continued building as program director on a student radio station, gathering fans, kindred DJs and producers and starting a club night in Santa Ana.
It all grew quickly. Kay and company landed a satellite residency gig at the influential London underground station Rinse.FM, which prompted DJ tours and a global presence. Earlier this year, Soulection surpassed 200,000 followers on Soundcloud, where Kay and the collective upload the weekly three-hour radio show to the masses.
Soulection DJs regularly sell out the 1,000-capacity Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles with their monthly club night. It’s now a label, brand, touring DJ collective and, soon, music licensing company, all based out of a tiny attic-like office on Figueroa Street in Highland Park.
A few months ago, Lowe came calling after he was hired to oversee Beats 1. A longtime Soulection listener, he asked them to join the station. Needless to say, they said yes.
The Times will have a full profile of Soulection this weekend, but in the interim you can listen to Wednesday’s show, which features the sounds of Kay, Soulection and guest spinner Craze.
Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit