Mashup Mondays: Bilal
Bilal in a pensive moment at Billboard's studio, spring 2011.

What do you get when you mix a jazzy soul rocker with a new wave classic? In this week's Mashup Monday, Philly's Bilal and his band turns Soft Cell's early 80s hit "Tainted Love" into a fully rock-and-R&B jam complete with epic guitar solo.

Photos: Bilal's Mashup Behind-The-Scenes

BILAL AT BILLBOARD
Bilal at Billboard

"I'm a jazz musician first," Bilal says, laughingly, of choosing the English band's synthy 1982 track, which spent an amazing 43 weeks on the Hot 100. "So I can pretty much do a rendition of any thing I hear."

Like Soft Cell, Bilal has been no slouch on the Billboard charts himself. Though his career took off a decade after theirs did, Bilal's 2001 single "Soul Sista" spent 23 weeks on the R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart and his 2010 album "Airtight's Revenge" rose to No. 21 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Still, the Philadelphia-native singer worked hard to make "Tainted Love" his own. "[My] band, we fashion ourselves as some type of blues rock R&B kind of vibe, so I was just jamming on ["Tainted Love"] at home and I brought it to the band," He says. "We played around with the bridge, we changed the chords... We made it real straightforward, guitar-heavy." Indeed they did.

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