Interview Series: Rahsaan Patterson Speaks to UB on New Album, Working With R&B Divas & More
Mack Avenue recording artist and soul innovator Rahsaan Patterson continues to push the boundaries of soul music with the release of his latest project, bleuphoria, that will coincide with intimate, cross-country promotional performances this summer. After receiving the 2008 BETJ Virtual Award and being honored as Soul Tracks Artist of the Year, Rahsaan’s musical talents have touched more than 10 million CDs sold to date and continues to capture a whole new legion of fans with his electrifying, soul-stirring ballads. The latest single from bleuphoria, 6 AM gained momentum with urban radio stations across the country as the number one most added record in its release week according to both Billboard and Mediabase.
His latest effort, bleuphoria, takes listeners on a sonic ride showcasing Rahsaan’s diversity in music genres from gospel to classic R&B soul to new age funk but also dissects the transcendence of an artist who conquers personal fears and artistic growth unfolding-beautifully through every song. Filled with signature Rahsaan infinite octave-ranging ballads (Goodbye and Miss You), hypnotic mid-tempo tracks (Stay With Me, 6 AM and first single Easier Said Than Done), funk-drenched club grooves (Ghost featuring Jody Watley) and genre-bending studio experiments (Crazy [Baby] and Mountain Top), bleuphoria is yet another testament of why Rahsaan decided to move in front of the microphone after years of being a successful songwriter.
Rahsaan Patterson recently spoke to Tishelle of UrbanBridgez.com for our “Interview Series” and talked to him about his new album “bleuphoria,” working with Jody Watley, Faith Evans, Shanice and Lalah Hathaway, his songwriting, his top essential albums and more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell our readers about your sixth album “bleuphoria” and why they should pick it up?
Rahsaan Patterson: The album “bleuphoria” is an album that was inspired by love! The revelations of love, the growth that comes from love. Being in relationships and relating to other people. And over coming fears and triumphing over blockages that hold us back from being our fullest selves. They should buy it maybe because I think they will enjoy it (laughs). And maybe, there are good songs on there, if they like good music!
UrbanBridgez.com: Your album cover for “bleuphoria” is different from most current album covers. Why did you choose art oppose to the standard image of yourself?
Rahsaan Patterson: Because what I make musically, is art. What I do is I go and create art. I make audible paintings! So I wanted the cover to represent and be impactful enough to pull people into that concept. Before they even put the record on.
UrbanBridgez.com: “6 AM” is incredible and creating alot of buzz for this release, where do you come up with tracks like that, what’s the inspiration?
Rahsaan Patterson: Thank you! The inspiration for this record sonically was to be able to incorporate more of the technological advances that we all utilize. But incorporate that into the music. Hints like the electronic sound, auto-tune and vocal effects. I feel that all of my previous albums have been leading me up to this point. And the people who have been with me from the first one to this one I think will agree that it’s been a progressive journey to where I’m further going and what I’m evolving into. Not only as an artist, but as a spiritual being.
UrbanBridgez.com: What made you decide to cover Frank Sinatra’s “I Only Have Eyes For You”?
Rahsaan Patterson: Well I covered, in my mind The Flamingos version, which is my favorite version (laughs)! I believe the production on that version is gorgeous and I wanted to maintain that aspect of that recording. The intimacy, the profound statement of love for someone! That they captured in that song. Even though sonically and arrangement wise it’s different from their version, I believed I maintained that intimacy of the song.
UrbanBridgez.com: How did the collaborations with Jody Watley, Faith Evans, Shanice and Lalah Hathaway on this release come about?
Rahsaan Patterson: I’m cool with all of them! Jody, Lalah and Shanice are my homies! Shanice has been since we were both 10 years old. Me and Faith have seen each other over the years. At industry events and around particularly in Cali. We both love and respect each others gifts. On my second album, there was a song I had called “Get Here,” when I was writing that song in Chicago back in 98. She was always in the back of my head, so on that particular song I had her as a reference in my head. It was kind of with me, when I was creating that song. And when I was writing and singing it. So she’s pretty much been with me (laughs) in a certain way, all the way up to this record. So I thought it was important to show her love and to show her how she’s been such a big part of my musical fiber and journey. Give her some shine as well and to share my space with her and Jody, Lalah, Shanice and Tata & Andre because they have influenced me. And I love and respect them!
UrbanBridgez.com: Speaking of Shanice, she’s one of our favorites and you’ve worked with her in the past as well as this release. Will you be working with her for her new album and what’s something about her that you think people should know if they don’t?
Rahsaan Patterson: I would love to work with Shanice all the time! She is one of my favorite singers as well. She was one of the few, for our generation that put a record out at a really early age. Like she was 12 when she got signed and put the record out when she was 14. That hadn’t been done since Stacey Lattisaw. And when young people are put into the music world at such an young age, they really stand out! Amongst all of the older people, and meaning older people who are over 17 years old. So she has a tremendous gift and I love her to death. I’d love to work with her anytime. One thing about Shanice, is her spirit is really beautiful and pure! She has been consistent in who she is in that way every since I’ve known her. She has a big heart, her song “I Love Your Smile” is a true representation of who she is. And that’s hard to find, for a person who’s been in the industry for as long as she has been and I. With the ups and downs of the industry, with what happens with careers sometimes, she has always maintained that spirit! I so love her for that!
UrbanBridgez.com: Yeah we love her here at UBG! Alot of people don’t realize you were on Kids Incorporated as a teen, along with Shanice. How was that experience?
Rahsaan Patterson: It was a great experience! That’s where I met Shanice, she was actually suppose to have my role. But they had already had three leading women & they didn’t want a forth one. So they wanted another boy and I got the call to come audition. When I got there and I met Shanice, we were the only two colored folk, in terms of African American’s who represented on the show! So that was nice, we bonded instantly. Overall it was a situation that prepared me for all of what I do today! Forced me to learn the industry and how to be professional very early. By 12 I had it, but at 10 I was fresh out and had no idea what I was doing. It’s influenced my songwriting, how I approach making records in terms of diversity.
UrbanBridgez.com: You’re an incredible songwriter, when did you discover your talent to write?
Rahsaan Patterson: Thank you! Maybe, like own it, get it and see it like wow…til like my third album! That’s when it really clicked! I always knew I could write a song and I had melodies. I knew I could write lyrics as well, but it sunk in for me, when recording my third album.
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some recording artist you would like to write for that you haven’t already?
Rahsaan Patterson: I would love to collaborate with Sade, love to work with Whitney Houston and love to work with Madonna!
UrbanBridgez.com: You were recently apart of Centric’s “The Hot 10″ tell us about that?
Rahsaan Patterson: During BET Awards weekend, I did some promotion for the record. I got lost with my schedule and things after, so I knew I was doing a show for BET Centric, but it was only a few days ago I realized it was the Top Hot 10 (laughs)! I was like well dang who’s next? So I finally got it, that I’m apart of that list, I just knew I was working before (laughs). So I am very honored and proud to be apart of it.
UrbanBridgez.com: Off the top of your head, what are your top 3 essential albums you think everybody should own?
Rahsaan Patterson: “Intervision” by Stevie Wonder
“Parade” by Prince and The Revolution and
“Naughty” by Chaka Khan!
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s next for you?
Rahsaan Patterson: Next for me is to continue to promote this record, to continue to talk to people like yourself! To continue to spread the word and spirit of love and music and conversation and understanding. Travel the world some more and that will be great!
UrbanBridgez.com: Anything else you want to leave with your fans?
Rahsaan Patterson: Just a deep-rooted thank you! Thank you very much! Hit me on My Facebook and Twitter and they can also go to FB Not of This World Fan Club on Facebook or my YouTube or my personal YouTube is IBRP!