MIC/LINE is HYPEBEAST Radio‘s music-centric show that looks to deliver in-depth conversations with your favorite artists, digging into their origin stories and asking the questions you want answered. For this week’s episode, we sit down with Soulection co-founder, Joe Kay.
What is now a label, global community and wildly popular radio show, Soulection began in 2011 by the SoCal native, Joe Kay, who currently serves as head of A&R and host of their radio platform. Known for their eclectic roster of talent, Soulection has been a pioneer for a new sound, supporting a blend of DJ’s and producers blending genres such as hip-hop, r&b, afrobeats, neo-soul, jazz, trap and more.
Joe Kay was an avid music lover who was obsessed with finding new music. His love for J Dilla led to discovering Stones Throw Records, which eventually led to artists like Flying Lotus and the then underground scene of Low End Theory. Upon high school graduation in 2007, Joe bought a $20 mixing program and began curating music and hosting a popular podcast called Ill Vibes.
“People thought I had weird taste in music and just kinda laughed. They didn’t believe in it because it was so alternative, but I didn’t care. I just kept pushing it, even though the people around me didn’t get it.”
Soon after Joe came up with the idea of Soulection alongside Giullaume Bonte, known as “96,” and Andre Power and it was launched in January 2011. No Bandcamp or SoundCloud at the time and only a splash page and zip file of the radio show, they received 5000 downloads in their first compilation all through organic outreach.
While momentum hit speed internationally before it did in the US, the radio show became a hit on SoundCloud eventually earning a cult following. Now nearly eight years, 400 shows, a festival, world-touring concert and an Apple Beats 1 partnership later, Soulection has become a staple in today’s music industry. Most recently, they announced their Los Angeles residency along with Joe’s 4-hour set tour coming this fall. Reflecting on his career, Joe admits that despite the stress of work he always believes “there’s a bigger picture in music.”
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