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Willie Henderson at Soundmine Studios

Anyone who knows our agency knows that music has always been a huge part of our culture. Simply put, we love music. It shows in everything, from the work we do for clients to the hand-picked playlists we put out on our social channels to the office vibe that greets anyone who walks through our doors.

Equally near to us — although perhaps not always as visible — is our love for the great city of Chicago and the amazing, diverse talent that it brings. Talent that quite honestly doesn’t always get as much attention or opportunity as it deserves. As an agency from Chicago, it’s our responsibility to celebrate this city and the combination of hustle and humanity that makes it unique.

So, when our Diversity & Inclusion team came to us with the idea of honoring Black History Month this year, we knew we wanted to do something special with an initiative that felt true to who we are as an agency. The answer, of course, was in music and Chicago. Then, tapping into our third agency principle, we brought on the perfect “agent” to partner with and bring it all to life — Slang Music Group and its incredible impresario founder, Vince Lawrence.

#312Soul is our month-long, social-driven multimedia series, celebrating Chicago’s black music history from 1955 through 1990, a period during which Chicago’s home-grown talent created simply some of the best soul, funk, disco, and house music ever made.

We purposefully chose to focus on music and artists beyond the blues — for which this town is most famous for — and put a spotlight on the untold stories and unsung heroes that are maybe not as celebrated, but every bit as interesting and influential.

As we think you’ll see as our story unfolds, the process creating it has been great and the music has been even better. Along the way, we’ve been introduced to some of the true living legends of Chicago music — and hearing them tell their stories has been the thrill of a lifetime.

While this first chapter of #312Soul will come to an end when February does, it’s our hope that this is just the beginning. In fact, the project has been subtitled “An Unfinished Retrospective.” Because the Chicago music story must continue to be told.

Ad Age’s 2018 A-List Agency to Watch. Delivering big brand creativity with the prowess of a startup. West Loop, Chicago.

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