Raphael Saadiq

Raphael Saadiq

BandR&BWorld

a blend of soul, R&B, hip-hop, rock, jazz, doo-wop, gospel, psychedelic, and funkadelic rich with inventive bass lines, intricate harmonizing, and colorful strings.

Biography

He is a standard bearer for what folks call ‘old school’ music, a contemporary artist continuing a time-honored tradition that goes back to the ‘60s and ‘70s. From his early days as a member of the groundbreaking ‘80s group Tony! Toni! Toné! through his work as an award-winning producer of such artists as Joss Stone, The Roots, Snoop Dogg, John Legend among many others and his own solo albums, the multi-talented Raphael Saadiq has kept the faith. “Every record I’ve ever made has had those influences…The Temptations, Al Green, The Four Tops and so on,” Raphael explains from the L.A. studio where he recorded his latest illustrious work. This album is the culmination of a life time of experiences informed by the music i grew up on."

Indeed. Listening to The Way I See It, it’s immediately obvious that it could have been recorded thirty years ago. Musically cohesive in the same way that soul music albums were recorded back in the day, Raphael’s third solo album and first for Sony BMG is not merely a throwback: it is as close to the kind of record made in Detroit, Chicago, Memphis, Miami or New York by any number of super R&B hit makers to anything recorded since. While other contemporary artists may attempt to emulate the sound and flavor of ‘70s soul music, Raphael Saadiq brings real emotion, real feeling and production values that are simply (to borrow a popular phrase from back then), right on.

The inspiration for singer/songwriter/musician/producer and arranger Raphael’s follow up to 2004’s critically-acclaimed “Ray Ray” set came from an unlikely destination. “I was out of the country, cooling out, in Costa Rica and The Bahamas. I was surfing and ran into people from all kinds of places…and I noticed everybody was listening to this classic soul music and when I came back home and the music for this album flowed organically, naturally. Since I have my own studio, I was able to perfect it, take my time to make it right. I was able to live with it, day after day and I think that had a lot to do with how the album turned out. In all, it took about four months to put it all together.”

The result is that The Way I See It has the kind of smooth musical flow associated with great records made by pioneering producers at famous R&B companies like Motown, Invictus and Brunswick. From the foot-tapping opening track, “Sure Hope You Mean It” to the head-shaking reflective closer “Sometimes,” Raphael delivers a present day potent ode to a bygone era. Talking about the songs, he notes, “The first track shows my deep connection to The Temptations. The vocal has a David Ruffin ‘feel’: I pictured how it was when Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and the guys in the Temps were first introduced to the world. I looked at a lot of their album covers so I could immerse myself in the characters. I think of the track as vintage Motown with a Stax guitar line factored in…it’s like a melting pot of the two sounds…”

Loyal Tony! Toni! Toné! fans will particularly appreciate “100 Yard Dash,” which Raphael describes as “a juke joint, Booker T.-type groove. I reflected back to my first T!T!T! albums when I was singing in a high tenor voice.” British R&B fans – specifically ‘Northern Soul’ lovers – will dig “Keep Marching” with its insistent driving beat and Raphael notes, “That’s the kind of song that can drive people crazy at my live shows…it’s a performance piece.” Cognizant of the strong respect and appreciation that UK audiences have for authentic soul music, Raphael adds, “I can’t wait to get to Europe to perform the songs on this album!”

Speaking of the love Brits have for old school R&B, Grammy-winning Joss Stone (with whom Raphael worked on the best-selling 2007 set “Introducing Joss Stone”) is a special guest on the Smokey Robinson-inspired “Just One Kiss,” which also invokes memories of The Temps’ “Just My Imagination.” Says Raphael, “The track reminds me of early ‘70s soul songs and getting Joss to sing on it wasn’t hard because she has a profound appreciation for great classic music.”

That same love for real music is exactly what has created a solid and loyal audience for traditional soul sounds among a whole generation of Latino concert-goers and record buyers: “Callin,’” with its Spanish language lines and pronounced doo-wop flavor is, Raphael notes, “a jump back to the music of the ‘50s. I wanted to make a track that would get the low riders. People talk about the division between Latinos and blacks but we all grew up together loving the same music. This song is a reminder of how we do when we get together…”

Hearkening back to the Hot Wax and Invictus records made in Detroit by Holland-Dozier-Holland (soul music buffs, think Freda Payne and The Honeycone), “Staying In Love” is a nifty dance floor gem: “It reminds me of a Jackson 5 record, with that James Jamerson bass line, the kind of energy folks love from those Motown tracks.” And the lyrics? “I wrote it with my ex in mind…some of

Lyrics

100 Yard Dash

Written By: Raphael Saadiq

(Verse 1)
I tried to run but couldn't get too far
my heart is pumping but still I’m running in place
no matter how hard I try to ditch your touch
when you’re away too long, oh girl it's too much
but every time I run I need it, oh so bad
but I’m trying to spare my heart from beating so fast

(Chorus)
I heard that you can make a man change his plans
that's why I’m running fast, I’m running the hundred yard dash

(Verse 2)
I ran for the hills, and girl there you were
how you appeared, you see, I'll never know
I told the bartender to pour me a double fast
then light me a smoke, so I can sing some jazz
now here comes them legs, here come those eyes
and neither one, I can never deny
I’m trying to be smooth as I can
but I guess I need another plan
I need your love baby oh so bad
but kind of scared my heart is beating so fast

(Chorus)
I heard that you can make a man change his plans
that's when I’m running fast, I’m running the hundred yard dash

(Bridge)
your love gets stronger, and it feels like everyday is getting longer
I feel your love like a monkey on my back
girl your heart is so big, see I can feel the attack
oh..oh.. I need your lovin

Discography

Discography
Instant Vintage (2002)
All Hits at the House of Blues (2003)
Ray Ray (2004)
The Way I See It (2008)

Singles
1995: "Ask of You" (US #19)
1999: "Get Involved" (featuring Q-Tip)
2002: "Be Here" (featuring D'Angelo)
2002: "Still Ray"
2004: "Rifle Love" (featuring Lucy Pearl & Tony! Toni! Toné!)
2004: "Chic Like You" (featuring Alliebaba)
2005: "I Want You Back" (featuring Teedra Moses)

Set List

Typically 10 to 12 songs including:
100 Yard Dash
Keep Marching
I Want You Back
Love That Girl
Staying in Love
Big Easy
Oh Girl
Let's Take A Walk
Just One Kiss
Sure Hope You Mean It