THE ONE TO WATCH
FEATURING: RAPHAEL SAADIQ
Grammy Award winner Raphael Saadiq will release his new CD: Raphael Saadiq: All Hits At The House of Blues on Oct 14, 2003.
Lana K. Wilson-Combs
N2Entertainment.net

Raphael Saadiq, former lead singer of the enormously popular Oakland based group Tony! Toni! Tone! in the mid-1980s and the now defunct super group, Lucy Pearl, no longer wonders if going solo was the right thing to do. He says winning a Grammy earlier this year for his debut album Instant Vintage convinced him it was.

The 36-year-old musician racked up five Grammy nominations for Instant Vintage, including one for Best R&B Song and Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media for Erykah Badu and Common's track, "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)."

"When I decided to go solo I went through all sorts of emotions," said Saadiq during a recent interview from his Hollywood Hills home. "I was wondering if I was being selfish having to leave my brothers and all. And I was worried about what other people would think. I really wrestled with it and then just realized that it was something that I needed for my own personal growth."

Currently, Saadiq is on tour through the end of September. His concerts will give fans a sneak peek of his upcoming album titled, "Raphael Saadiq: "All Hits At The House of Blues." The CD was recorded live at Los Angeles' famed House of Blues on July 3, 2003. It's scheduled for release by mid-October 2003. The jam session reunited Saadiq with his Tony family members, D'Wayne Wiggins and cousin Timothy Christian. DJ Quik, D'Angelo and Joi also contributed to the mix.

"Even though I have gone solo, I don't think that I will ever be completely out of the shadow of Tony! Toni! Tone!" says Saadiq. "That's not a bad thing. I used to think it was. But you just can't walk away from the great run we all had together. I mean, we created some phenomenal music over the years."
Songs such as "Little Walter," "The Blues" "Whatever You Want," "Feels Good," "Me & You" and "Born Not To Know" where just a few of the many hits that cemented the band's status as major R&B players.

"Initially I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to step away and have my own identity as a soloist," says Saadiq. "That's not the case anymore. I realize that I can do my own thing, perform with others on stage and collaborate with other artists too. It's really turned out to be a winning combination."

In fact, once the tour is completed, Saadiq says he will head back to the studio and get to work on his next solo project. He's already putting the finishing touches on CD's for Nas, Sunshine Anderson and Nappy Roots. He's written and produced five cuts on the Nappy Roots CD and says it should be out by the end of this year.

"The Nappy Roots project is going to surprise a lot of people," says Saadiq. "It's a real deep, funky sound. It's kind of like how Tony! Toni! Tone! used to bring it back in the day in Oakland."