El Michels Affair

Founded in Brooklyn, New York in 2001, the El Michels Affair is a soul band founded by songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Leon Michels (born in New York, New York in 1982). Their sound, which is classified as cinematic soul, incorporates soul and rock arrangements with orchestral instruments. Leon Michels’ musical journey began in the late 1990s when he was a member of funk band The Mighty Imperials, which formed when the members were still in high school. When he was 16, he joined The Soul Providers and undertook an international tour backing soul / R&B singer Sharon Jones. The Soul Providers would eventually evolve into Jones’ full-time backing band The Dap-Kings. Leon Michels also became a member of several other Daptone Records-related artists including the Menahan Street Band and Lee Fields & The Expressions. During this period, Michels began producing several soul, hip hop, and funk artists including Lee Fields, Aloe Blacc, Texas, Chicano Batman, Liam Bailey, and others. Leon Michels formed his own group, El Michels Affair, in 2001, which featured a revolving cast of players including keyboardist Marco Benevento, trumpeters Michael Leonhart and Dave Guy, guitarist Thomas Brenneck, and many others. After setting up his own label, Truth & Soul, the El Michels Affair issued their debut album, Sounding Out the City, in 2005. The group toured with rapper Raekwon and several other Wu-Tang Clan members before recording the tribute releases Enter the 37th Chamber (2009), Walk on By (A Tribute to Isaac Hayes) (2010), and Return to the 37th Chamber (2017). The El Michels Affair’s next album of original material, Adult Themes, was released in 2020, and was followed by Yeti Season (2021). In 2023, the group returned with the album Glorious Game, which was a collaboration with The Roots’ emcee Black Thought.

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Stations Featuring El Michels Affair

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