Tortured Soul’s origins date back to 2001 while Urich was steering Cooly’s Hot Box, an acid jazz outfit also featuring under-the-radar indie soul vocalist Angela Johnson. After putting Cooly’s Hot Box on hiatus, Urich composed “Might Do Something Wrong,” which was quickly picked up by New York-based deep house label Central Park Recordings, and Tortured Soul was born. Thanks to the cool laidback mix provided by Osunlade, the song quickly became an underground staple at the iconic Club Shelter and helped jumpstart the development of a full-length disc generating more soulful house. With the 12-inch single in heavy rotation in the New York club circuit, Urich went into overtime to restructure the band’s line-up: The session players on “Might Do Something Wrong” were out; bassist Jason “JKriv” Kriveloff and slick, jazz-honed keyboardist Ethan White – formally Urich’s bandmates in the rhythm section of NYC acid-jazz band Topaz – were in. Together, the new trio forged a new cool sound by blending the freewheeling New York house and classic disco beats with elements of hip-hop, salsa and Roy Ayers-styled jazz-fusion.
From the very start, Urich secured himself as a power player, composing the lion’s share of material, delivering thick four-on-the-floor beats and using a smart vocal showcase fusing a Maxwell styled falsetto with Justin Timberlake-tinted lower register. But his bandmates were just as essential: White’s killer vibes on the Wurlitzer and Kriveloff’s booty-shaking bass were neatly integrated into the mix.
A succession of 12-inch singles followed “Might Do Something Wrong,” including Alix Alvarez’s mix of “How’s Your Life” and the romantic dance-pop of “Fall in Love.” Billboard dance critic Michael Paoletta lauded the latter track by calling it “a sterling, soul-slammed house jam.” Each of the singles impressed the bevy of the world’s dance halls, allowing the band to tour heavily with appearances at clubs and festivals across the US. With 2006’s Introducing Tortured Soul, the band was able to piece together their first debut album using all their earlier singles while also incorporating a few new studio additions. The follow-up album, 2009’s Did You Miss Me, released on the band’s own label, TSTC Records, ushered in a new wave of critical acclaim, climatically winning accolades from various music publications like Blues and Soul, SoulTracks and SoulBounce. “Home to You,” “In My Fantasy” and “Your Dream Is My Dream” were all given the 12” and 7” singles’ treatment. Continuing their regimen for clubland rituals, Tortured Soul implored an attractive A-list of DJs and remixers to carefully handle the mixes for their latest batch of uptempo dancefloor fillers, including Mark de Clive-Lowe, Quentin Harris, Jon Cutler, DJ Spinna, Dimitri From Paris and remix pioneer Tom Moulton.