Soul & Funk | Customized Background Music | Expert’s Choice
At Stingray Business, we improve your brand experience with our range of industry-leading customized music solutions. Whether you prefer country, classic hits, funk, lounge music, soul, or anything in between, we offer an extensive range of channels personalized to your business’ brand image.
In this edition of Expert’s Choice, we sat down with our new musical programmer, Julie Mondor, to learn more about her debut at Stingray Business and how her experience is an asset to channel programming.
How have your first few weeks at Stingray been?
It’s been going great. I’m lucky to have joined such a great team that is helping me develop the skills needed for the position. I still have a lot to learn.
What’s your favorite kind of music to program in your channels?
I love funk, boogie, and soul. That’s my niche. Therefore, when new artists or bands come out with soulful or funky tracks, it’s exciting because that means this genre is still relevant and in demand. A lot of pop songs these days are based on the funk tradition, like those by Bruno Mars or Lizzo. I think clients enjoy this programming because they want an alternative to radio hits that is still accessible and blends well with Top 40. It’s also playful, feel-good music that makes you want to dance.
For which business would a funk, boogie and soul channel be best suited?
Cocktail bars, smaller clothing boutiques, designer ateliers— clients who want uplifting music that isn’t necessarily house or EDM. Third-wave coffee shops might turn to programming neo-soul and R&B instead of the typical “coffee house” playlist of jazz, folk, or singer-songwriter artists. I’m thinking about small businesses that aim to create a unique vibe rather than cater to a larger, mainstream audience.
What mood does this kind of music create?
Whether a soul or funk track is sad, happy, or angry, it moves you. It makes you feel something. A rolling bassline, funky keys, ebullient horns, and a strong soulful voice that gives you goosebumps: this is what makes the genre so powerful. It is usually recorded by live musicians. You can feel the organic, collaborative spirit when you listen to this music.
I’ve heard you’re a DJ. What does your DJ experience bring to your abilities to make customized playlists for your clients?
As a DJ, one of your most important tasks is reading your audience and being receptive to them. You have your musical preferences, but you need to be receptive to how the crowd responds. It’s a fine balance weaving your favorite music into what a larger audience would like. As a DJ, I take my audience on a journey that varies in mood and energy depending on time or atmosphere. You might want to gently warm up the crowd at the beginning of the night, or it might be time to fire them up! This is similar to “dayparting” music for Stingray clients; time of day dictates the kind of music we program. I’m only three weeks into my position as a music designer, but a large part of the job is listening to the client and understanding the vision for their brand. You might make suggestions, guide them in a certain direction, but that’s a collaborative process that ends with the client being totally happy with the final product. This takes a certain amount of intuition, which every good DJ has.
If you could create a playlist for any business, which one would it be? Why?
During my training process, I got to create a station for an imaginary business. I pretended it was a Caribbean restaurant, so I programmed reggae, rocksteady, lovers rock, kompa, and American soul. A lot of Jamaican artists have covered soul tunes, so all these styles blend nicely. If it were to be open late, I could program more energetic stuff like soca, zouk, and afrobeats, which I’m less familiar with, so it would give me a chance to research these genres.
How do you put your personal touch on a client’s playlist while still creating what they want?
It’s all about finding what I call transition tracks that connect the dots. Maybe a client wants hit list pop, in which case I could suggest including some new funk-leaning pop tracks too. If a client wants classic rock, I could program some soulful, bluesy rock that can transition over to classic funk. But of course, it has to be done according to the client’s vision.