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The SoulBounce Q&A: Rahsaan Patterson Opens Up About ‘Heroes & Gods,’ His Sex Symbol Status & Discovering New Passions

SoulBounce: So, it’s been about eight years since you last put out an album. Why the long wait between projects?

Rahsaan Patterson: [laughs] Of course. This is the first question everybody always asks and the answer is the same. It’s never thought out that I take this long before I come back with another record. It just happens to be that time frame of allowing myself to experience life. But also allowing myself whatever time it takes to be creative. I’m not the type to feel the pressure of “oh let me make another record because it’s been this long and people will hate me.” I want to be able to have something that feels genuine. I want to be able to take the time to live life so that I have something to say and express when I come back. I don’t want to be reductive and I don’t want to just put out bulls**t just to be putting it out. Not that I would create bulls**t. The other thing is, over the last five or six years I've lost close family members. So, over the course of being creative and making this record, I’ve also had to take time to grieve and mourn the loss of people in my family.

SB: Sorry to hear that.

RP: Appreciate that.

SB: What was the process like this time around? Was it different for you? How did the concept of the album come to be this time?

RP: Conceptually, it just created itself. I always start out with an album title and then the rest falls into place. Or I’ll start out with a song and that will inspire the next batch of songs and that will create a theme for the record. This time around the process was different in that I didn’t go into the studio like I had in the past, knowing that whatever time I’m spending in there, when I leave I’m going to have a completed song in terms of lyrics, the melody and I was singing. Even if the music isn’t produced or developed yet, I will leave with a complete song. I didn’t do that this time. I allowed myself the time to just let the music and the energy of the space in the studio to dictate when something else needed to be added. I go to the studio and pulled up the track that I had started or a track that was laid down by producers and then maybe, if I hadn’t written anything yet, I’d come up with the hook and then I’d take the hook and then I’d leave the studio and I wouldn’t come back for another two weeks, three weeks.

SB: Oh wow.

RP: Then I’d come back in and take the next step. I just allowed myself time and space not to rush and let the music speak to me.

SB: Listening to the album, I feel like there were moments where you were channeling certain artists. Where there any particular influences?

RP: [laughs] What artists did you hear me channel?

SB: Definitely on some of the songs I got a bit of a Prince vibe. I definitely got some Chaka [Khan], but I always feel like there’s a little bit of Chaka with you. I also got some ‘70s soul, like Al Green, in there and, of course, there’s some Luther [Vandross], but we’ll get to that part. I feel like it was very much so rooted in an old-school soul sound.

RP: There for certain are tracks that lent themselves to that idea of paying homage to not only the artists and those songs that have influenced my life and music as an artist but also paying my respect to my recording career at this stage, hearkening back to my first album consciously so that people could relate not only to the new stuff but be reminded of how they were introduced to me and see that who that guy was that they were introduced to still exists and is still capable. So it was definitely a conscious effort to look through my own catalog and find those highlighted points and give back to people those moments that they loved and just give it to them in 2019 but also be progressive as well.

As far as the channeling goes, absolutely over the course of making this record over the timetable of which it has taken, the deaths of Whitney [Houston] and George Michael and Prince absolutely affected my creative output and my love and respect for them and the energy that I felt from their passing and indeed passing on to me even more that level of artistry and creativity that they possessed. It was almost like because I put myself in that mind frame, which is always the case when I create, them leaving just intensified that. So in making this record, their energies were definitely in the building.

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