Soul Sister, known worldwide as the “queen of rare groove,” has been a crate digger and vinyl collector ever since she was six years old. As a veteran radio programmer on WWOZ FM for 25 years (as of 2020), she is the host and founder of the popular “Soul Power,” the longest-running rare groove radio show in the U.S. As an opinion leader, sought out for interviews, articles, lectures, film presentations and panel discussions, she hosted “Lost and Found” on Red Bull Radio, and appeared in Nelson George’s documentary Finding the Funk, as well as the book Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, and spots on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM.
And as Melissa A. Weber, she has embraced her other love of education and lifelong learning as a writer and scholar within popular music studies. As such, she is on the path to completion towards her M.A. in musicology from Tulane University. She has also presented papers at the Pop Conference at MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle), and at conferences for the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, the Society for Ethnomusicology Southeast and Caribbean Chapter, the National Council for Black Studies, and the Dayton Funk Symposium, among others.
As a live DJ artist who self-produced her first event in 1997, her infamous sets and parties (such as the HUSTLE! party) led to her tenure as one of the longest-running live DJ artists in her hometown of New Orleans. Notably, her sets only featured the music she loved, as she improvisationally and skillfully mixed, blended, and beat-matched vinyl-only selections of 1970s – mid-1980s funk, soul, rare groove, underground disco, jazz fusion, true school hip hop, and more. She was the first DJ to ever win a Big Easy Entertainment Award (2010 and 2017), and has won OffBeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat Award in 2018 and in each year from 2010 through 2016. (New award rules, which give others a chance, prevented her from being nominated in 2017 since she won 3+ years in a row.) She also performed everywhere from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Voodoo Music Experience, Essence Music Festival, BUKU Music & Art Project, Jam Cruise, Boiler Room, and Electric Forest; to opening for her favorite artists like George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, The Roots, Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker, DaM-FunK, Average White Band, George Duke, Teena Marie, Doug E. Fresh, ConFunkShun, the funky Meters, Dumpstaphunk, Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers, Soul Rebels, Lettuce, Tower of Power, and more; to features on MTV UK and VH1 and in Spin, Wax Poetics, URB, OffBeat, and New Orleans magazines. She has also performed alongside DJ artist/producers such as Questlove, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Mannie Fresh, KON, Maseo (De La Soul), Low Down Loretta Brown (Erykah Badu), Rich Medina, Biz Markie, and many others. She was even personally invited by George Clinton to DJ his 71st birthday party. Music artist Solange called her “wonderful” and “life given,” and dj artist King Britt said she was “the best…top 3 DJs for me.”
She recently announced (in 2020) that, after nearly 25 years of throwing parties, she will retire from live DJ performances in 2021. However, she plans to continue hosting her WWOZ program and spreading the word about the music, musicians, and recordings she loves via writing, teaching, participating in public programs, and producing other education-based events.