Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Rahsaan Patterson: 7th Heaven

Rahsaan Patterson
Rahsaan Patterson Rahsaan Patterson Rahsaan Patterson Rahsaan Patterson

Soul connoisseur’s choice Rahsaan Patterson is back! And boy are we pleased! New “Heroes & Gods” album, his 7th to date, has all the credentials to become a career-defining release for this artist. Featuring, lucky for Patterson, 13 inspired cuts which are absolutely drenched in soul soaked quality. Certainly, a stunning return to form, but for those who have followed the artist previously, it won’t come as much surprise because artistic consistency has always been high on the agenda as far as albums and live performances are concerned. Simply, “Heroes & Gods” showcases an artist who has been honing his craft for the best part of 35 years and has now delivered on pretty much every level.

I was lucky enough to catch up with the 45-year-old Bronx born New Yorker just before he embarks on his world tour. The subjects were wide, from the artist’s distinct writing style to his admiration for soul/r&b legend Luther Vandross and from his thoughts on the advent of neo-soul at that time to his new album and subsequent singles, which are already climbing respective soul/r&b/popular music charts.

Having been in the entertainment business for most of his life, Patterson kicks off at the beginning and where it all began. “Well, I started dancing in my family's church at the age of 5 or 6. But, I began my ‘professional career’ at 10-years-old, on a television show that encompassed singing, dancing and acting. So my start was doing all of it (laughs). By the time I was 21 I got a record deal... My solo album, I began recording it around that time - it was released when I was 23”. Bringing things up-to-date, “So at this point of my career, I have had 35 years of the 'industry of entertainment' and it's been my life, for the majority of my life, so it's really all I know”. Adding to his thoughts on his relationship with the music industry, “I take it for what it is, I appreciate it. I am most grateful that I have been able to sustain a career where I am able to do what I love, be in control of my art, my productions and what I release - what I do is what I do and no one can take that away from me because no one ‘gave’ it to me. At this point, I'm grateful for being able to still have a passion for it all and that there are people who are still open to receiving what I have to bring to the table”.

Having, for the most part, penned his “first album in 8 years”, bar the cover, our conversation soon came round to Patterson’s wealth of life experiences he was able to delve into when creating “Heroes & Gods”. “It’s from the heart, as all my albums are. It is a varied type of record in terms of styles and genres. It is broad in soundscape and I had a ball making it (laughs)”. He continues, “I write based on my experience, I write based on my feelings in the moment. I don't tend to over think my lyrics, I write them and just go with it and it's important for me to channel that authentic spirit communication and not doubt it or question it. The time in between records just had all to do with living life - experiencing life and love and death and mourning and grieving. Giving myself time to feel all those things, to experience all those things. Then go in the studio when I felt inspired, not force it”. Opening up further on time Vs experience and adding the combination as lyrics and melody. “Obviously, with time and maturity and experience, you are able to make more sense of life and with that, you are able to communicate and articulate things easier and in a way that's much more receptive to other people who have experienced other things. I'm fortunate that as a songwriter and singer I've been able to tell stories and resonate with people, even when I was younger. There was a natural ability to do that but I have over time, as I get older, the more experience you have (laughs) it communicates differently…a little stronger”.

As mentioned, there’s a cover…but it’s not just any cover, it’s an outstanding version of Luther’s 1982 top 10 hit, “Don’t You Know”. Patterson explains his choice, “That's always been my favourite Luther Vandross song since I was a kid. And I just wanted to honour him. It's been tributed [sic] before by other singers in the past who contributed to his tribute album, which was released some years ago. But, he's from the Bronx originally, I'm from the Bronx originally”. Continuing with his admiration. “He was just a 'one of kind' artist and special. I started covering the song in my show about 4/5 years ago. In terms of recording it for my album, I just wanted to make sure that I made it my own and maintained the integrity of the song...that was the most important thing in honouring him. I had to make sure the arrangement I came up with was suitable for myself without having to replicate what he did. Being that he was so phenomenal at covering songs and making you forget that it was ever recorded by anyone prior to him - though I had to make sure that I did it the same”.

Singles “Sent From Heaven”, “Catch Me When I Fall” and must-have album “Heroes & Gods” are available through Shanachie Entertainment.

You can read more from B&S editor Lee Tyler's interview with soul superstar Rahsaan Patterson, including his thoughts on being a young artist releasing music at the incarnation of the neo-soul movement, what's it like retuning to the music scene after an 8 year break, what does he think about the critic's reaction to his new album, his love of touring and missing Europe...all in the current issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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