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The number seven has long had mystical and spiritual references. There are seven cosmic planes of consciousness, seven wonders of the world and the number seven represents divine abundance. Cycles of change and rebirth also tend to come in seven-year intervals. It is only fitting that Rahsaan Patterson’s seventh album as a leader, Heroes & Gods, to be released on Shanachie Entertainment May 17, 2019, is his boldest musical gift to the world yet. “This was the longest amount of time that I have ever allowed myself to make an album,” confesses Rahsaan. “This time I allowed myself the room to breathe and allow the music to tell me what I need to do.” The result is an enthralling collection of Rahsaan’s most organic, emotionally potent and sonically adventurous offering yet. It is no wonder why R&B goddess Chaka Khan has sung his praises and he has been co-billed with Earth Wind & Fire, Lalah Hathaway and Fantasia. His songs have been recorded by Brandy and Van Hunt and he has collaborated with many of the greatest female voices of his generation including Faith Evans, Ledisi and Rachelle Ferrell.
Authenticity has always been at the forefront of Rahsaan Patterson’s artistry. One need only look at the personal interactions he shares with his fans on social media to understand the deep connections he has forged with them throughout the years. From his eponymously titled debut in 1997 to his last album, bleuphoria (2011), Rahsaan Patterson’s adventurous musical palette, which fuses the worlds of R&B, funk, jazz, gospel and electronica, has continuously kept his fans on the edge of their seats. The handsome, charismatic, witty and introspective singer/songwriter returns with his highly anticipated new recording in seven years on the eve of his 35th anniversary in the entertainment industry. It has been some journey since he first landed in the national spotlight at age 10 alongside Fergie and Mario Lopez on the Disney show Kids Incorporated. Rahsaan Patterson’s Shanachie debut, Heroes & Gods, is as much an intimate sonic diary as it is a love letter to his fans. “A lot of the songs and even the title come from life and the lessons learned from what some might call failure. However, these experiences can be used as tools,” explains Rahsaan. “The wisdom gained can become a source of strength to fight against what the world has to offer, which is not always positive.”
One of the things that has endeared Rahsaan Patterson to critics and fans alike is his instantly recognizable voice that in its most natural state is flawless. His wide-ranging honey-toned and velvety smooth vocals, coupled with his unrivaled agility and his superb songwriting craftsmanship make him a standout in an era of here today-gone tomorrow artists. With the arrival of Heroes & Gods, Rahsaan Patterson makes his boldest statement. The 13-track odyssey opens with the irresistible “Catch Me When I Fall.” Rahsaan explains, “The thing we want to know in a relationship is will we be caught if and when we do fall? At a lot of times we get deep in a relationship and then contemplate, ‘will you catch me?’ This song speaks to the reassurance we often seek.” “Wonderful Star” is one of two tracks from outside producers. He shares, “When I heard this song, I thought it was a beautiful approach and the arrangement and looseness of the song felt galactic. I was so inspired by the music that it was easy to write what needed to be said.” Rahsaan collaborated with songwriter Jamey Jaz (Ledisi, Gladys Knight, Chanté Moore) for the seductive funk workout “Silly, Love Fool.” “We’ve been collaborating with one another since 1992 and when we are together it is magic. It is pure and it’s a beautiful thing. Over the course of my albums our collaborations together always resonated with people.” “Rock And Roll” is a straight up party jam that effortlessly fuses genre and feel. “I am more than classic R&B guy,” declares Rahsaan. “I have an exploratory nature in life also and that is reflected in my music.” For the track Rahsaan reunited with Trina Broussard (Babyface, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton Aretha Franklin) and for the first time welcomes LaTonya Williams (Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar). The moody, no holds barred message and undeniable flow of “Break it Down” features a live band and was co-written with Rachelle Ferrell (Quincy Jones, Lalah Hathaway, India.Arie, George Duke) and Joi (Outkast, Goodie Mobb, Organized Noize) who sings background on the track. A pleasant surprise on Heroes & Gods is Rahsaan Patterson’s take on Luther Vandross’ 1982 top ten single “Don’t You Know That,” which is a song he started covering in shows about four years ago. “Luther Vandross was one of those artists who could take a song and cover it as if you never heard it before,” states Rahsaan. “I am a fan of his not only vocally but how he could make a song his own while paying homage to it.”
The first single on Heroes & Gods is the glorious “Sent From Heaven.” The brilliant horn orchestration and tasteful arrangement perfectly frame Rahsaan Patterson’s impeccable voice as he give thanks and sings, ”My days are much brighter because you’re Sent From Heaven.” The song has all the makings of an instant classic and beautifully illustrates Rahsaan’s keen abilities as a songwriter. “I have been influenced by classic material and artists. This is something that is missing from today’s climate,” says Rahsaan. “Some songs might have a melody but how many will truly resonate with us 40 years later? As a songwriter and artist, it is important to insert that part of my creativity.”
Never one to get too comfortable, Rahsaan shifts gears on the genre-blurring and playful “Wide Awake,” while the adrenaline pumping “Soldier” takes us full steam ahead to the dance-floor. "I am a big house music lover and frequently I go out to have a house music spiritual moment,” shares the LA based singer/songwriter. With pop culture and politics all around, to have a transcendent house moment helps to make it all more palatable. It replenishes me. Sometimes, we just need to dance and get it all off." “Oxford Blues” speaks to a place where we have all been before– regret. It is a song Rahsaan started a few years ago shortly after a breakup. He explains, “It’s the should haves, would haves and could haves that we all have after everything settles in after a breakup. It’s what happens when we start to contemplate all the things you wish you could have done differently. But it is OK because the experiences inform you of what you could do next time.” The ethereal yet gritty “Sweet Memories” is about holding on and letting go simultaneously. “It is about owning what is no longer,” shares Rahsaan. “You have to hold on to the sweet memories and learn to let go while at the same time learn from the experience.” The song “I Try” finds Rahsaan channeling an alternative rock vibe steeped in soul as he explores what things we go through in an attempt to make love endure. “Sometimes we emerge better as a result of all the discord and are able to communicate better but it requires the ability to be vulnerable and honest,” confides the singer. “Often we know it is not going to work out but yet we fight because we believe that we can get through all of the hurdles that come with people and relationships.” The album’s title track closes the transformational journey. The poignant, hypnotic and trance-inducing song is an album stand out. “It is a message to my people...for the children of the sun."
Heroes & Gods is a testament to Rahsaan Patterson’s staying power as a relevant artist whose music has not only grown with him but with his evolving fan base. “I have always felt my path is my path and when everything is aligned that is when it will be my time to shine brighter.” Heroes & Gods is a confirmation to the fact that Rahsaan Patterson’s time is now.
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