Rashaan Patterson Besides writing some of the biggest hits in the 80’s & 90’s, Rashaan has consistently dropped incredible solo project through out his career. His soulful sound combined with his neo-vibe and his powerful voice makes him on of the most recognizable singers in R&B music today. Rashaan chills with WHO?MAG for a minute and discusses his new album “Wine & Spirits”, his songwriting secrets, and more!
By William Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the new album “Wine & Spirits”? RASHAAN PATTERSON: “Wine & Spirits” is my newest album in three years. It’s pretty eclectic brew of music, sounds, and emotions. It’s quite ambient in some places and a full expression of who I am today.
WHO?MAG: What is behind the title “Wind and Spirits”? RASHAAN PATTERSON: It has all to do with the spiritual versus secular realm and trying to balance those out where I could live harmoniously with both.
WHO?MAG: Who do you have on the album as far as producers and cameo appearances? RASHAAN PATTERSON: No cameo from any popular artists of the moment. I worked with King Croch. I hadn’t worked with him since my first album in 1997. We hooked up for a ten year reunion and so it was cool to see how much we had progressed and grown. Also to see what would come out of working together again. I worked with Jamie Jazz, whom I’ve worked with in all my albums so far and a couple of new cats. One named Timothy Bailey out of L.A., and two cats out of Australia, one named Jared Rogers and the other one Audius.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with the legendary house music producer Steve “Silk” Hurley? RASHAAN PATTERSON: I worked with Steve on “Love In Stereo” which came out in 1999 on MCA Records, as well as “After Hours”, which was the first artistry music album. I hooked up with Steve because Steve had done a remix to one of my songs from my first album. After I heard what he did with that. I flew to Chicago to work with him for my second record. We started a friendship and continued to work together still. I love house music and I’m familiar with his legacy within that area of music which is one of reasons I went to work with him. Also one of the reasons why what we recorded on my albums was not necessarily house music. We have recorded some house songs together. Actually like four or five that are house. They’ve yet to be released other than the remix that he did for my song “Where You Are” which I re-sung to that groove. He’s the man!
WHO?MAG: How is he as a producer in the studio? RASHAAN PATTERSON: He’s cool! I really enjoy working with him because he has a great mind and a specific way that he does his thing which I appreciate. At the same time, we give each other room to do what we need to do. At one point, I want to do a whole house album, so he’ll definitely be on that.
WHO?MAG: Who are your influences as an artist? RASHAAN PATTERSON: Prince, Donnie Hathaway, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan. Those are the main ones that are R&B I guess.
WHO?MAG: I read you wrote songs for Tevin Campbell, Brandy, Chico Debarge, and Jody Watley. How did that come about? RASHAAN PATTERSON: While I was recording my first album, I had met Tevin Campbell and his A&R person at the time. He heard some of the material I was working on for my own record. That A&R person wanted a few of the songs I was recording for my album. I ended up letting him have 2 of those songs that they requested. With Brandy, I was able to work with her through King Crouch, who at the time was starting to work on tracks for her album and he asked me to write with him. With Chico Debarge, I had done the song on my second album with Soul Shocking Carlin and he was working with them also. He heard the song that I did with them and he asked me to write for the track he did with them. Jody Watley heard a demo I did with Dwayne Wiggins from Tony! Toni! Tone! that I was going to use on my first album and it never evolved to that. He heard it and liked it. She recorded it on one of her albums as well as this other song that was taken from my first album that she heard and then loved. She actually recorded two of my songs.
WHO?MAG: How does it work as far as writing for artists? RASHAAN PATTERSON: It all depends on who you know, your songwriting abilities, and if people are admirers of your songwriting style. Really, they just reach out to you. If they’re an artist on a label or an A&R person, they’ll request your services, or in my case, it’s been producers that I work with whom started to work with other artists. Then they hear the stuff that I’ve done with those producers. Then they want to incorporate me into their thing, depending on who I’m working with. If the producer is guaranteed songs on a certain artist’s album, I’ll write a song. Like in Brandy’s case, it ended up there on the album. Of course if the song was good. At that point, she came to the studio and heard the song. She liked it and sang it. It was what it was.