Born Case Woodard, R&B star Case inherited his musical gifts from his father who was once a member of 70’s funk band Cameo. The oldest sibling of 3, the New York native grew up in a strict household and although music was the bond that tied him and his father together, it would also tear them apart.
While the family struggled financially, they often found solace in music. Crediting his grandmother with introducing him to his first love of music, at the age of 5, he would perform constantly for family and friends in his living room. However, growing up in a religious household made perusing secular music difficult. His desire to become a professional musician was met with harsh resistance from his parents resulting in mounting family tension. “I wanted to sing so badly. I was willing to leave everything behind” remembers Case.
Armed with the spirit of his greatest influence, Michael Jackson, Case’s love affair with music revealed itself through his writing and after stints with R&B group “Future” and a duo called “Black”, Case got work co-writing and singing background for artist including Usher, Christopher Williams and Al B. Sure. It was a song written by Faith Evans which would be his professional career catalyst and lead to Russell Simmons signing him to Def Jam Records. “Everything changed with this deal,” says Case, “I was in heaven, on cloud nine because all of the faith and hard work was finally paying off.”
Case’s solo career took off in 1996 with the release of “Touch Me, Tease Me” (with rapper Foxy Brown and R&B singer Mary J. Blige) from The Nutty Professor soundtrack, going gold and reaching #4 on the R&B charts and #63 on the Hot 100. His self-titled debut Case soon followed along with the minor R&B hit singles “More to Love” and “I Gotcha.” Case followed the success of his first album with the release of Personal Conversation in 1999. The album featured the hits “Happily Ever After” (which reached #3 on the R&B charts and #15 on the Hot 100) and “Faded Pictures,” (released April 20, 1999), which featured R&B singer Joe and reached #3 on the R&B charts and #10 on the Hot 100. “Happily Ever After” featured Beyoncé in the video as Case’s love interest. The album’s third single, “Think Of You” managed to only reach #50 on the R&B charts and Personal Conversation achieved platinum status.
In 2001, as the first artist on the new Def Soul imprint, Case released his third album Open Letter and topped the charts with the Tim & Bob produced hit song “Missing You.” Open Letter, Case’s most well-known album went gold. “Missing You” is Case’s only #1 single to date as it topped the R&B charts and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later that year, Case also appeared on rapper Ja Rule’s hit “Livin’ It Up,” as well as releasing one more single from his album, “Not Your Friend.”
After the success of Open Letter, Case moved to Atlanta to be closer to his children, and fell into life as a father. In 2002 a miraculous tragedy would strike and threaten not only his life but his career when he was moving his cousin’s registered handgun, and it accidentally discharged striking him in the throat nearly missing his spine by a half inch. Case suffered no vocal damage and to the further dismay of family and friends, was released from the hospital 4 hours later. In 2004 Case due to artistic differences asked to be released from his Def Soul label and took some time away from music.
After a few years away from the music industry, Case reappeared in 2008 on the track “Face to Face” (a duet with singer Coko) which was included the soundtrack of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns (film). His fourth studio album, The Rose Experience which had undergone various title changes and a label shift (from Def Jam to his own indie imprint, Indigo Blue) was released on March 24, 2009. It was preceded by a single, “Lovely” which reached #72 on the R&B chart.
He has since worked through the challenges of a changing music industry and 5 years of not feeling like making music largely in part to two life changing events. The Summer of 09 his Grandmother passed away in May and then Michael Jackson passed in June. “Michael Jackson was my idol and was the biggest influence for me musically and my grandma always forced the best out of us growing up and their passing took me back to that place and lit the fire under me again.”
With a new creative approach and the universe in alignment his latest project “Heaven’s Door” reveals his maturity, growth and renewed love affair with his craft. “If I knew then what I know now I wouldn’t have made my music so dark, but this time around I’m at peace. I got my son through high school and my daughters in line and “Heaven’s Door” is my gratitude that my life is finally in alignment.” With production from producer’s Flossy (Kandi Burress) Mike Snodi(?) Carvin Hagen, and TL Cross “Heaven’s Door” promises to delve into a refined reflection of the authentic soul music Case fan’s are used to and sure to captivate the hearts of new fans. “Heaven’s Door” drops spring 2014.
Check out his new teaser single “Damn Girl.”
On Valentine’s Day, smart decided to help spread the love around New York City by dolling out personal serenades from R&B stars Case and Ruben Studdard that people could request via Twitter. It’s a day many will never forget, all thanks to a compact car with one big heart.
Watch Case serenade people in NYC