Isiah Mitchell – Lead & Background Vocals Simply put, Isiah is one of the best vocalists in the U.S. A world class showman with superb charisma, undaunting persona, unbelievable range & a stage presence that is unrivaled in the music & entertainment business today. Isiah’s experience spans over 35 years. A former drummer turned vocalist he has performed worldwide in over 15 countries & 35 states. Isiah IS Chicago’s best kept secret. With incredible range, he has one of those voices that filled with emotion & spirit, every note & every word is straight from the heart, pure as heaven, & cooler than the other side of the pillow!
Vanessa Valtierra – Lead & Background Vocals A soulful vocalist, Vanessa has been singing since the tender age of 6 years old & has worked as a model for various respected companies during her career. Her sultry voice & sensational stage presence is evident from the moment she storms the stage. The singing styles of Vanessa Valtierra, born and raised on the south side of Chicago, have been warmly accepted by a wide range of audiences. Coming from a family of musicians and with the love for music, Vanessa makes any song come to life with her vocal talent. Her professional career began with a record contract with a Chicago-based independent label at the age of 16 as a free-style artist under the stage name of “Fantasia” (different from today’s R&B artist Fantasia). Vanessa attributes her full-bodied vocal ability to her experience as a vocalist within various groups such as a collegiate youth Gospel choir, and continuing her singing career with local Chicago bands Movin’ On, Groov-Ness, Catfight, and currently the Souled Out band, and has shared the stage with numerous talented and well-know musical artists. Vanessa has performed for a variety of audiences, for professional and charitable purposes, gaining her success on live radio and television broadcasts, and other major public events. Vanessa continues to ignite stages throughout the country with passionate performances of some of the most chart-topping songs originating in the 1950’s to current hits within Rock, R&B, Disco, Soul, and Pop music, singing in English and Spanish. As a member of her local church, Vanessa has shared her God-given talent as a vocalist within the New Life Community Church Worship Team, and believes that music is a gift and a source for hope, healing, and joy for everyone. With her musical influences including the likes of Patsy Cline, Linda Rondstant, Aretha Franklin, Tina Marie, Roberta Flack, Gloria Estefan, Sade and many more, Vanessa is diverse in her vocal style and range. She sings the songs that return her to her roots & back to the sounds that made her fall in love with music & will be sure to capture your soul. Her voice becomes a place where all her divergent influences coexist harmoniously in one place. While sometimes rough, and sometimes sweet, every performance comes from the heart. Seeing Vanessa perform live is something audiences thoroughly enjoy!
Samotta Acklin – Lead & Background Vocals Samotta Acklin is a renowned Chicago vocalist from a musical family, which includes her famous mother Barbara Acklin, who had numerous hits as a pop and R&B vocalist in the 1960’s and 70’s. Music is Samotta’s first language. She has toured throughout the U.S. and internationally with such artists as R Kelly, India Arie, The Chi-Lites and Destiny’s Child. She has also choreographed and toured for Bernie Mac’s “Who Ya Wit” tour and has been featured on over 40 recordings. Samotta has performed with countless bands and musical productions and she recently won Best Lead Actress from the Black Theater Alliance Awards for her role in “The Divine One, Sarah Vaughn.” Samotta is the notorious emcee at The Checker Board Club, where Chicago’s best musicians jam every Monday night. Samotta and Stephanie started working together six years ago, when they were regular vocalists with The Eddie Harrison Jumpstars.
Sasha Brusin – Guitar – A guitarist’s guitarist, Sasha Brusins fretboard pyrotechnics & melodic expression are known throughout the country & Europe. Originally from Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, Sasha Brusin’s musical education and performance experience spans Europe and the United States. He is comfortable and proficient in several styles of music, from jazz, rock, blues to ethnic blends, adding decades of experience in performing, instructing, recording, and audio production. Sasha used to co-own Highland Park Recording Studio, Highland Park, IL. He has received both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degrees at Tesla Institute in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia as well as a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is proficient in guitar, bass, mandolin, ukelele, acoustic guitar as well as guitar synth. Famed for his incredible technique and his scorching guitar solos he has been playing guitar and bass for 36 years and has been teaching for the past 26. His education includes private studies in Europe and in Chicago at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University Jazz Studies Program, majoring in Jazz Performance – guitar. Sasha’s credits include international jazz festivals, network and local TV performances in Europe and the USA. Sasha is currently working with a variety of Chicago based ensembles whose recordings have been featured on WXRT, WBEZ, and WNUA.
Craig Sunken – Trombone Craig Sunken is easily one of the most prolific trombone players in the Midwest region. A true showman & entertainer, Craig Sunken is a Chicago-area freelance trombonist and music educator. He received his bachelor of music education degree from the University of Northern Iowa, where he also studied trombone performance. After graduating, he enlisted in the Air Force Band where he performed and toured extensively. Craig moved to Chicago after his enlistment ended and completed a master’s degree in Jazz Studies at DePaul University. His playing experiences include work with Tony Bennett, Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin, Grupo Niche and Tito Gomez. He is and has been a regular performer with many area bands, some of which include Souled Out (currently), The Chicago Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble, Angel Melendez’ 911 Mambo Orchestra, Sumo, Orquesta Latira and Blue Son En Clave Negra. Craig is also passionate about his teaching position at a local jr. high school & enjoys watching his students hone their skills & perfecting their craft as they delve into their musical journey as young musicians.
Mark Roller – Lead Trumpet A professional as well as a world class trumpet soloist, Mark received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Stetson University in Florida and a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Northern Illinois University. He has been the guest soloist and clinician on several occaisions. While at NIU, he founded and directed the jazz band for the NIU Community School of the Arts and was a member of the acclaimed NIU Jazz Ensemble and was named best soloist in 2004 for the Skyway Jazz Festival. Mark has toured Europe and continues to play in several groups in the Chicagoland area and surrounding states & currently plays 1st & 2nd trumpet as well as arranger for the band Souled Out. Marks an inspiration to everyone that he plays for. His polished performing & leaping, sometimes searing high notes isnpire others to play better.
Mahmoud Khan – Keyboards/Composer of Original Music – has served as musician, conductor, composer, and engineer in the arts for over a decade. Some of his theatrical production credits include: A Fool Such as I (ETA Creative Arts Foundation) for which he won the 2010 Black Theatre Alliance Award for Sound Design, Crowns (Arizona Theater Company/Assistant Music Director), Dreamgirls (Alhambra Dinner Theatre/Music Director), Crowns (Asolo Conservatory at Florida State University/Accompanist), Eyes (ETA Creative Arts/Accompanist), and Black Nativity (Congo Square at Goodman Theater/Assistant Music Director and Accompanist). Some of the recording artists and organizations with whom he has worked include Micah Stampley, Mavis Staples, United Airlines, The Barret Sisters, Wayne Baker Brooks, Walt Whitman and Soul Children of Chicago, Souled Out, The Chicago Public Schools, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, The United Way, The Wooten Choral Ensemble. In the summer of 2011 Mahmoud joined the Las Vegas show Hitzville at Planet Hollywood and The B.B. King Allstars at the Monte Carlo Las Vegas. Mahmoud is currently the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of University Park as well as keyboardist for Souled Out. Mahmouds exceptional skill on the keys exponentially increases the sweet sounds of Souled Out’s rhythm section. Adding to the background vocalists harmonies to strings where needed & certain sound effects throughout. During any 1 of his intriguing solos you can be witness to his lightning quick fingers as he provides intricate solos while playing to the audience.
Natalie Lande – Saxaphone Natalie possesses an effortless flow of ideas. An amazing improviser, Natalie plays with passion & power. Her solos are impeccable & has a deft juxtaposition of the different colors & sounds of the notes & solos she plays. As a freelance saxophonist, woodwind specialist, composer and educator all over Chicago and the Chicagoland area she holds bachelors degrees in General Chemistry and Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and a Masters in Jazz Composition from DePaul University. Aside from playing all types of jazz, Natalie can also be seen playing R&B, soul, blues, rock, pop, salsa, and cumbia music on the scene with various bands. She has had the wonderful opportunities to share a stage with Buddy Guy, John Faddis, Rufus Reed and Jeff Coffin. Natalie also plays with and composes for her own sextet, The Natalie Lande Sextet, and released her debut album Learning How To Fly with the group in August, 2015. At 26 years old she holds a Fellowship title from the prestigious Luminarts Cultural Foundation. She also was second-place winner in the 2014 Civic and Arts Jazz Improvisation Competition (Chicago).
Dakota – Band Leader – Trumpet – Vocals