I remember going to Bourbon Street and feeling the love.
It all started with a spark, the spark of building a community around the soul ideas of love, peace and happiness with the soulful sound that is house music in all its forms. That spark first ignited seven years ago that took Team Souleil on a journey they never expected.
Hi I’m Jinx Mirage your SDGLN/SDPIX Social Columnist and in this story/interview, I will tell you how Souleil came to be. The story of when DJ Ala, DJ Chris Herrera, Alex Macias aka Candi and DJ Mickeytown brought life to a Sunday groove we’ve all come to love. So, sit back turn on a soulful tune and let me take you on the journey that is Souleil.
You may ask what was the start of Souleil? I was told it all started with roots and that those roots are still with them today. And after hearing that response I could only tell that this journey was a team effort.
Back in 2010 Souleil wasn’t even Souleil yet.
It was just a little Sunday party at Lei Lounge for brunch. Chris Herrera started there who was brought in by the team's dear friend Javier. They then brought in Mikey and Ala, And then a few months later people started moving the tables to the side and Souleil was born.
They then did one season at Lei Lounge, and with the success of that season, Souleil moved to its new home, at Bourbon Street which was only to be temporary, since Lei Lounge was being renovated. But sadly, that was untrue: Lei Lounge closed.
But all was not lost, the success and magic of Souleil were spreading to the masses about where they could find good times and good vibes. Souleil found a new permanent home at Bourbon Street, with an already exciting Sunday crowd who embraced the sound and its followers. So, with a larger setup and more room, Souleil grew to what it is today.
But unfortunately, not all things are forever.
Souleil played for three seasons adding new and talented house DJs every year until the close of Bourbon Street. Being a baby to house music back in 2014, I remember going to a few of those at Bourbon Street and feeling the love, the good vibes and the sound of a saxophone and bongos, that funky beat brings back some amazing memories.
After the close of Bourbon Street, Souleil scrambled for a location and did a few dates at Spin Nightclub. But with there being no food and a long day of grooving they found that Spin would not be the new home of Souleil. Thankfully you can’t keep a good thing down, and with word spreading Souleil got wind that Gossip Grill was looking to have them. And just like that, the team reached out to Moe Girton, owner & GM of Gossip Grill. They found themselves embraced and having a new permanent home at Gossip Grill.
Now on their third season at Gossip Grill, Souleil has found only what they knew from the start; that the goal of Souleil was to bring everyone together and the LGBTQ community was the glue to do so. Which I have to say they aren’t wrong, I mean who parties on a Sunday afternoon better than we do? And with all this success Souleil now had a new goal of spreading the party and all its values to as many as possible. Playa Del Carmen in Mexico would be the first major venue to do just that.
Souleil in Mexico
Being a part of the Mi Casa, Su Casa Holiday, which happens in multiple cities but does its closing in Playa, Souleil now goes worldwide. Miami, Palm Springs, Mexico, Bali, Spain, Indonesia, Montreal, Hong Kong just a name a few.
“Souleil has brought deep and soulful house music back on the map for San Diego. Some may differ, but I don’t see how” said DJ MikeyTowns. And I must strongly agree, especially with events like Eden and CRSSD. I mean not all CRSSD is deep and soulful but that Palms stage -- whoa, chills ok! Chills!
And with Souleil moving toward the future the team wants to make CRSSD sure they continue to represent Souleil like how house music is: A rainbow representing everyone, with a kind of diversity in the team and in the Souleil fans and guest DJs is something I’m sure they will easily do.
With the team’s roots in spinning R&B, hip-hop and 90’s new jack swing mixed with house music you can hear those early roots of spinning different genres.
Souleil means "community"
For you to truly get Souleil you need to learn the undertone vision for it: COMMUNITY, which is what house music has always been, NO LINES! NO VIP! NO BOTTLE SERVICES; bringing all people from different walks of life and classes.
It's for the rich, the poor--any who want to praise at the church of good vibes. And for some it is like church, some believe in Jesus, Ali, The Universe. And for some of these DJ’s they see spinning as a sermon.
But what keeps the fire of Souleil going is the people and friends they have made over the years coming to get that release and close out their week with them.
I mean that’s how Alex Macias came to join this merry band of DJ’s, he now does the merch and Admin for Souleil. Alex started off as a dancer who would ride her bike all the way from Spring Valley on Sundays. That’s dedication for the game. And it’s in that humble nature and gratefulness that team Souleil has kept the journey going.
Souleil and SDPIX join up at Top of the Bay
Luckily for us, Souleil has been able to expand even more with Souleil on the Bay, Worldbeat Center and partnering with Rich's for Souleil during Pride. Now with their new partner SDPIX, Souleil is coming at you with a new spot. “Souleil On Top of the Bay” this Sunday at the Porto Vista Hotel. Expect brunch, mimosas, deep & soulful house music and the views of the marina and gorgeous downtown Little Italy. This new addition to Sunday Funday will help your Souleil fix.
Make sure you get your tickets and check the shuttle schedule from Hillcrest to Little Italy. And check out their brunch menu for the event:
Market Scramble - Three market eggs scrambled with farmer's market veggies, avocado, served with house potatoes.
Eggs Benedict - Poached market eggs, English muffin, black forest ham, house-made bearnaise sauce served with house potatoes
Berry French Toast - Citrus cinnamon dipped brioche topped with farmers market fresh Grand Marnier drunken berries, maple syrup & whip
Cali RibEye Burrito - Rib Eye steak, tater tots, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo served with a side of house-made salsa.
It has truly been an honor to bring you the story of Souleil. I hope you find this to be enlightening and inspired by the values and sense of community that is house music and Souleil.
I’m Jinx mirage and I’ll see you guys on that Sunday groove.
Pre-sale tickets are available HERE.