Power Of Three Shines In The Inspirational Soul/R&B Song “I Can Only Be Me”

An introduction made by a common friend in the music business, then a meeting over coffee. Three years later – after the long Covid break – “I Can Only Be Me” is gaining an audience around the world of music.

The song, on the Soulistic 360 label, features the powerful vocals of Meagan McNeal and Carla Prather and the spoken-word artistry of Janeff the Poet, who wrote the lyrics in a soul and R&B fusion.

When Janeff and Meagan met, it was because the friend who introduced them thought they should meet, “based on what she was doing, and what I do,” said Janeff.

Meagan is a singer and songwriter from Chicago who has performed around the world since beginning her career in 2008. Her signature style has grown out of her roots in soul, jazz and R&B. She calls Anita Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Chaka Kahn and Aretha Franklin her musical influences.

She has performed on “The Voice” and on “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” Her first album, Mindset, was released in 2013.

At their meeting, said Janeff, “We were talking about working together, and she was sharing some things about her life. Just from that, I went in and started crafting a song, because she is a person who, every song she sings, it is personal to her. And although it may have come from my pen, the sentiment of it really came through her.”

They laid down her vocals just before the pandemic struck, and over the break, Janeff was talking with Carla, and he was struck by the idea that her vocal style could give the song more depth.

“Sort of like if you’re cooking and you add some ingredients, and what it does is it just creates more depth in the dish,” he said.

Carla also is a singer-songwriter from Chicago. She has performed around the world both for herself and as a member of Poi Dog Pondering. Her early days of music were in church, not only singing but writing hymns and spirituals, which planted in her the desire to become a professional recording artist and performer.

She wrote six songs for Poi Dog’s In Seed Comes Fruit album: You Move Me,” “Hotel Seze,” “Hangover,” “Daytrippin,” “So Real” and “Sleepover.”

“They’re very great voices, and they complement each other,” said Janeff. “Meagan’s voice has more of an angelic, sweeter tone, and Carla is more of an R&B diva, full throttle type of singer. We thought they would work so well together, and once we heard the mix, we said that’s the best representation of what we tried to say in this song.”

Janeff’s full, self-written bio is: “Poet, writer, music producer, spoken word artist, but more importantly a renaissance man who values integrity, artistic expression, and true freedom.”

Meagan and Carla’s are much longer.

“I love the contrast between their bios and mine,” said Janeff. He said that, in his case, he hopes the brevity will prompt people to check him out, look him up and get to know him. “I just think the best fruit is high up in the tree, and it requires a little effort for you to get it.”

But another part, he said, is “their performing bio, and what they’ve done in the industry, is much longer than mine.”

“And quite frankly, I’ve been more behind the scenes than I have out front.”

He says the song is a mix of classic soul and R&B.

“When you strip it down, it has that R&B beat, and coming from Chicago, where people like to step, it has that beat they used to call ‘the hustle’ in New York, but in Chicago they call it stepping music.”

Another difference in this song, he said, is that it is not a typical love song featuring a couple. It is a song that carries “a universal message.”

The hope is that most people will find something of themselves in this song.

“And hopefully, this is something that that can inspire people, or help them make it sometimes through this mundane day to day business, knowing that they’re okay, that they’re alright, that it’s okay to be who you are and then go and live your life.”

You can find “I Can Only Be Me” featured on the Soulistic 360 website and on all the streaming platforms in this link: https://lnk.to/ICOBM22.