THE SOUL SEEN: Singer, songwriter and producer, Raphael Saadiq

From the original ISPYSOUL feature segment, IN FOCUS, 2003



Depending upon with whom you speak, the name RAPHAEL SAADIQ will elicit various responses. The lion’s share of folks will no doubt place him as the thin-framed, lead voice of the ultra-funky, soul trio, TONY, TONI, TONÉ that garnered much love and success from the late 80’s through the 90’s. From Oakland, CA, Saadiq (né, Wiggins) along with brother, Dwayne and cousin, Timothy Christian, made an impact on the R&B scene with an organic, live sound that meshed their love and reverence for vintage funk and soul as well as gospel with a current day gleam, churning out top-ten hits like “Little Walter”, “The Blues”, “It Never Rains (In Southern California)” and “Anniversary” to name only a few.


Others will site their connection to Saadiq as brainchild and member of the group, LUCY PEARL, that featured EN VOGUE alum, vocalist Dawn Robinson and Ali Shaheed Muhammad from standout hip-hop clique, A TRIBE CALLED QUEST. Their brief, but successful union spawned the Grammy® nominated hit, “Dance Tonight.” And still others will be familiar with his string of soundtrack efforts like the hit, “Get Involved” featuring rap luminary, Q-tip, from the PJ’s, “Ask of You” from Higher Learning or “Just Me and You” from the iconic film Boyz In The Hood. But perhaps only the more savvy music mavens will realize the enormity of Saadiq’s work as writer and producer – An impressive string of hits that have filled Billboard charts and grabbed a host of awards, but have flowed from the lips and tracks of others. Tracks from artists like D’Angelo (“Untitled”, “Lady”), Erykah Badu (“Love Of My Life” featuring Common), Angie Stone (“Brotha”), Bilal (“Soul Sista”), Calvin Richardson (“She’s Got The Love”), Macy Gray, Whitney Houston, Kelly Price, The Roots, the Isley Brothers and so many, many more. The irony in all of this is that not until the 2002 release of his debut (that’s right, debut), INSTANT VINTAGE, could Saadiq truly be recognized by the masses as a solo artist.

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THE SOUL SEEN: Singer and songwriter, Rahsaan Patterson


The enormously talented and highly regarded, singer/songwriter Rahsaan Patterson, granted ISPYSOUL two interviews early in its initial run. In fact, his first was the first full interview feature that appeared on its pages. The New York born Patterson, who got his start as a child actor as part of the cast of the popular television show, Kids Incorporated in the eighties and later went on to writing hits for artists like singer/actress Brandy (“Baby”), released his self -titled debut, RAHSAAN PATTERSON, in 1997. The widely acclaimed project with gems like “Stop By”, “Spend The Night”, and “Stay Awhile”, helped stoked the fires of a resurgent soul music movement that would be deemed, by many, as “neo-soul” and also seduced a legion of fans with cult-like obsession, eliciting sold-out shows around the country.


Patterson would later, in 1999, follow up the debut with LOVE IN STEREO, another fan favorite steered by his emotive, multi-octave ranged vocals and flaunting superlative songwriting, incredible production and infectious grooves.

We caught up with Patterson a couple years later as he was working on his next project and in retrospect, our candid conversation was perhaps prophetic as he shared his views on his career at that point, the Love In Stereo record, the industry, the label he was then on and the artist he was intent on being. The following is that interview:

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THE SOUL SEEN: Casey Benjamin and Nicole Guiland are HEAVY



Upon hearing the music of many new artists on the scene today I have repeatedly said to myself or even sometimes out loud, that the sound of the incredibly talented, super fly duo, Heavy reminds me or is reminiscent of this talented pair.  In this piece there is the suggestion that they and their sound may very well have been way ahead of its time. Hearing what’s happening on the current musical landscape as well as with the shifts and changes in the industry, it seems that could very well be the case.  And it’s true -for those of you who are not familiar with them – you would excitedly embrace them and the jewels they dropped like, “Do For You,” “Change,”  “Unbelievable,” or “Wonderlove (for Minnie),” as brand new.  For those in the know, here’s a reminder to pull your Heavy tunes from that special stash.  Without further ado,  here’s Heavy – a part of the Soul Seen.

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THE SOUL SEEN: Vocalist and songwriter, Anthony Hamilton


Just prior to his 2003, platinum – selling release, Comin’ From Where I’m From, I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the talented singer/songwriter, Anthony Hamilton. I remember right from the start feeling I’d known the soulful crooner like he was one of my homies from years back, catching up on what’s been going on in his life. It was indeed due in great part to his amiable personality, this is true, ( Upon letting him know of my looking forward to the CD’s release he enthusiastically responded, “Me and you both! You get it first you call me. We’re gonna ride in your car and listen to it.”), but it was also because of the voice that delivered his words with a wisdom-laced, down-home flow reminiscent of your favorite uncle from down south – a voice and tone that belied his years, heavy with experience, but full of life – a voice that has now captured a ton of industry respect, a legion of fans and oh yeah, a host of awards including a Grammy to boot. Its been a successful career still going strong with Billboard hits like “Charlene”, “Can’t Let Go”, “The Point of It All” and more for himself and a host of hot collabs with Jill Scott, Jadakiss, Nappy Roots, Angie Stone and 2Pac. His story is one many aspiring artists should hear and one many successful artists have themselves lived – Its about perseverance, timing, peaks and valleys, being yourself, believing in yourself, working on being the best you can be and most importantly faith. Here’s a look back.

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THE SOUL SEEN: Arranger, cellist and composer, Larry Gold

From the original I SPY SOUL feature segment, IN FOCUS, 2003

Larry Gold The Midas Touch


The story of arranger, cellist, and composer Larry Gold is one that should serve as an example to many in the music business or for that matter, in any business. Why you ask? Because his success is a result of his sincere love for what he does, a desire to grow, the recognition of talent around him, and of course, his own outstanding ability.

Check out the whole interview with Larry Gold above

His story is also one of irony because although many of you aren’t familiar with his name, you and scores of others have experienced his “touch.” Gold’s amazing body of work is punctuated by his tenure with the legendary label, Philadelphia International, as first, part of the house band MFSB that propels the treasured classic soul and R&B hits by folks like the O’Jays, Billy Paul, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, the Spinners and Patti Labelle to name only a few. And later, as string and horn arranger on hits from Teddy Pendergrass, McFadden & Whitehead, and more. That experience, while concurrently siphoning the knowledge of Sound of Philadelphia architects Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and renowned producer, Thom Bell, accounts for the prowess that has since driven both, major acts and emerging artists to engage his services. The list is both impressive and diverse, boasting such artists as Musiq Soulchild, Floetry, Jill Scott, Brandy, Jay-Z, Monica, Gerald Levert, The Roots, Kindred, Common, Vivian Green, Justin Timberlake, Erykah Badu, Boys II Men, Glen Lewis, Kelly Price, and more. It’s also impressive because it shines with the glow of platinum and yes, gold selling success the records from these artists enjoy.

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