Blue-eyed soul (also known as white soul or pop soul) is a media term that was used to describe rhythm and blues and soul music performed by white artists, with a strong pop music influence. The term was first used in the mid-1960s to describe white artists who performed soul and R&B that was similar to the music of the Motown and Stax record labels. The somewhat controversial term was coined during racial segregation in 1960s America at the time of the music genre's emergence in popular music culture.
The term continued to be used in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly by the British music press, to describe a new generation of white singers who adopted elements of classic soul music. To a lesser extent, the term has been applied to singers in other music genres that are influenced by soul music, such as urban music and hip-hop soul.
Blue-eyed soul began when white musicians remade African American music for mass audiences. Often there was a perception that the music was diluted for its new audience, a move that angered some African Americans as cultural appropriation, but pleased others who felt the growth of their music genre was positive.
Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s, combining elements of African American gospel music and rhythm and blues.
According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying." Catchy rhythms, stressed by handclaps and extemporaneous body moves, are an important feature of soul music. Other characteristics are a call and response between the soloist and the chorus, and an especially tense vocal sound. The style also occasionally uses improvisational additions, twirls and auxiliary sounds.
Brown-eyed soul is a subgenre of soul music or rhythm and blues created in the United States mainly by Latinos in Southern California during the 1960s, continuing through to the early 1980s. The genre of soul music occasionally draws from Latin, and often contains rock music influences. Brown-eyed soul is a term used to describe rhythm and blues and soul music performed by Latin-Americans, as opposed to the term blue-eyed soul, which refers to soul music performed by non-Hispanic white artists.