what is Yacht Soul ?

Jul 19, 2023

Yacht Soul music is a genre of music that emerged in the 70s and 80s. It is a fusion of soul, R&B, jazz, and pop music. The term "yacht soul" was coined by the music journalist Rob Harvilla in 2018, and it refers to the smooth, sophisticated sound that was popular among the wealthy yacht-owning class of the time.

The Origins of Yacht Soul Music

The origins of yacht soul music can be traced back to the 70s, when artists like Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, and Michael McDonald began incorporating elements of jazz and R&B into their music. These artists were heavily influenced by the West Coast sound of the time, which was characterized by its laid-back, mellow vibe.

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As the 80s rolled around, yacht soul music became even more popular, with artists like Sade, Anita Baker, and Luther Vandross dominating the airwaves. These artists took the smooth, sophisticated sound of yacht soul and added their own unique twists, creating a sound that was both timeless and contemporary.

The Characteristics of Yacht Soul Music

Yacht soul music is characterized by its smooth, polished sound. It typically features lush arrangements, silky vocals, and intricate instrumentation. The lyrics often deal with themes of love, romance, and the good life.

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One of the defining features of yacht soul music is its use of the saxophone. This instrument is often used to create a sensual, romantic mood, and it is a key component of many yacht soul classics.

The Legacy of Yacht Soul Music

Although yacht soul music was most popular in the 70s and 80s, its influence can still be felt today. Many contemporary artists, such as Bruno Mars and Daft Punk, have incorporated elements of yacht soul into their music, creating a modern take on the classic sound.

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Yacht soul music has also been the subject of renewed interest in recent years, with many music fans rediscovering the classics of the genre. This has led to a resurgence of interest in yacht rock and other related genres, as people seek out the smooth, sophisticated sounds of the past.


Yacht soul music is a genre that has stood the test of time. Its smooth, sophisticated sound continues to captivate audiences today, and its influence can be heard in the music of many contemporary artists. Whether you're a fan of the classics or you're discovering yacht soul for the first time, there's no denying the timeless appeal of this genre.