Soul music originates from the United States, combining gospel, rhythm and blues, doo-wop and other black musical traditions. Much of soul music uses the strong vocal tradition of black gospel (including choral call and response and spirited improvisation), combined with a funky pop beat and secular subject matter.
Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, and The Supremes are prime exemplars of the early tradition in soul. Popular contemporary soul artists include Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, Mary J. Blige, Maxwell, Lauryn Hill, D'Angelo, Jill Scott, Destiny's Child, India.Arie and Raphael Saddiq. Widely-acknowledged soul subgenres include Detroit soul (a sound associated with Motown Records), Deep soul/Southern soul (associated with Stax Records), Memphis soul, Chicago soul, New Orleans soul, Psychedelic soul, Philadelphia soul and the contemporary Neo soul (aka. nu-soul), although the latter is often rejected as a term used by marketers and the media rather than soul artists and fans.
Although soul music originates in black America, it is neither the exclusive preserve of black artists or Americans: blue-eyed soul refers to soul music by white performers, and the United Kingdom has a particular soul tradition starting with Northern soul (just as years earlier, Britain developed a culture of British blues).