From the moment he first sang in a church choir at age 6, Rahsaan Patterson appeared destined to serve and protect “straight-up soul.” He just didn’t know when.
“I’ve had quite a few opportunities to make an album since I was 15,” Patterson said recently from his home in Los Angeles. “But I felt I wasn’t ready then. I wasn’t comfortable with lyrics and being put out there for the world. I had to get the confidence first.”
It was worth the wait: His first brush with stardom came as a cast member of the music-oriented TV series “Kids Incorporated.” Then came commercials, demos and backup sessions. He then honed his songwriting style with friend Jamey Jaz, co-writing the platinum-selling “Baby” for Brandy and “Back to the World” for Tevin Campbell.
Now, with the release of his self-titled debut MCA album, the 23-year-old Patterson has truly arrived. He appreciates the words of critical praise heaped upon the album for its searing, soulful nod to idols such as Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan, but Patterson said he is just following his natural course.
“It was never a dream of mine as a child to make records,” he said. “This was just the next step. As a kid, I dreamed of a better place outside this world, of open fields, flowers and trees. I never had dreams of being a star. It isn’t what I’m about. There’s nothing wrong with having those dreams, but it’s just not me.”
Patterson said R&B-driven singers like D’Angelo and Maxwell have made it easier for him to be accepted, but he is tired of constant references to “old-school soul.”
“It’s not new,” he said. “Soul never went anywhere. I just want the music to speak for itself.
“I grew up on Phyllis Hyman, Tavares, Rufus, Randy Crawford and soul songs that were orchestrated with strings. I wanted to do what came out of me. It’s not about a classic ’70s soul movement. It’s back to basics. Some people are making it more complex than it is.”
BWF (before we forget): Fans can find out more about Patterson on the Web @ www.mcarecords.com.
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