Recently, EM’s Pamilla Hiner was able to catch up with 3-time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter, Father, and philanthropist, Raheem DeVaughn aka “The Love King;” a well-deserved title. During a very engaging chat over the phone, Raheem shared the following about his sensually seductive 5th album, “Love, Sex, Passion,” his highly anticipated nationwide tour, the current state of R&B, and oh yes…what The Love King looks for in his ideal woman.
So let’s talk about your 5th album, “Love, Sex, Passion”, what was the inspiration behind this album?
Ya’ know it’s my 5th album and I definitely wanted to make something that was consistent with what I’ve done in the past. I felt that would be a great thing for now. At the time when I dropped the album, I planned on it coming out around Valentine’s Day. Initially, it was supposed to come out the weekend before Valentine’s. We winded up pushing it back because we had such a great response as far as shipping and things of that nature. So we had to make sure we could supply the demand of the people that would be hitting the stores. Even though it was an independent artist or whatever. So it was kinda’ like the timing of it, knowing when it would drop.
Tell me what’s unique about this album, oppose to your previous albums such as, “A Place Called Loveland” and “The Love & War MasterPeace”?
“The Love & War MasterPeace” was an album that was politically charged. “Love, Sex, Passion” is a love album. “The Love Experience” was socially, politically charged. So I try to get into that like every other album. So it’s definitely a big difference between the two. I think what makes them consistent, is all the albums you can play from beginning to end. Whether it’s politically or socially charged music or love songs.
You hear it, you read about it…do you think R&B is on a decline, or it’s dead, so to speak? What are your thoughts on that?
I think R&B, soul music is coming back actually. I think it was on a decline for the last 10 years, and now for the next 10, 15 years, it’s probably gonna’ be a strong reoccurrence of R&B and soul music. Ya’ know history repeats itself, know what I mean. So things go on a decline, then they go on an incline.
Do you think the music industry is going in a direction where they are using artist such as Sam Smith, or Adele…Whites as the face of R&B, in hopes that it will appeal to more of the masses?
I feel like the artists personally, they’re influenced by artists, and they genuinely are fans of the Black culture. So in defense of the artists, I feel they just gravitate to music that they grew up on and that’s what they like. That’s what they tend to go out there and make. Now I also feel there’s a machine, that exist out there also, that could care less, whether ya’ know, Black artists make money for music or the culture survives, and if they had it their way, they’d be totally erased from history. I think there is a machine out there that’s just like that. I don’t necessarily put faith in the machine and I’m not saying that that’s something necessarily influenced by White people…like no. I think at the end of the day, music is colorblind. It’s a lot of great music out there and it’s a lot of different genres of music. And it really boils down to why you’re doing, what you’re doing. Some people do music clearly as a means of survival, they may not write a word, and they may not connect to their music like that. Personally, I’m more connected to my music.
I won’t call any names, you of course are an amazing artist, but do you feel like the artists that are a representation of R&B right now, even compare to say an R.Kelly or Ginuwine?
Yeah, Ginuwine has always been on the level, he was like one of the pioneers that did it big…R. Kelly too. So I think he just goes through phases of experimenting and reinventing himself and some things he throws to the waters and some things he doesn’t. But it don’t matter because he got a catalogue and a legacy that he has created, he can tour for the rest of his life. His catalogue is crazy. Just like Snoop, I know your talking R&B, but talk about an artist like Snoop, he’s so prolific. How many times has he recreated or reinvented himself. And whether it sticks or not or people buy into it, he always stays one hit away. And I think, although I haven’t had the major success or exposure like an R. Kelly, it doesn’t mean any less…like I’m on that level. Like I’m definitely one of the greatest of my generation…I know that. So with me knowing that, I don’t have to seek validation or know what anybody else is doing. I only stay on my path. I have this theory, like the last man standing theory. I think to this day, I’m going to be one of the names you mention with the greats. I’m gonna’ be around…I’m gonna’ be the last man standing. (Laughs) So really it’s like the difference between running a sprint and a distance race…in that sense, ya’ know, you pace yourself.
On that note do you think that the R&B artists right now even live up to artist such as yourself or like R. Kelly?
Yeah it’s some cats out there fooling each other, fooling people. But I mean…ain’t nothing I can do about it. Like sometimes it can be an artist out there and it’s not about how dope they are, but how much exposure they have. Like how much money they can throw into marketing to promote their album. I make not have access to those same funds. So it’s just really about at the end of the day, I’m gonna’ give you what I’m gonna’ give you without the fireworks. Cats used to just sell you music, like now, it’s attached to your album, show, it’s about that look outside of the music. It kinda’ got away from the culture.
Also, the Love n’ Soul Experience concert is touring across the country, can you tell us more about that?
It’s over 25 cities, touring with Lela James, V. Bozeman, and it’s gonna’ be great. The co-headline I’m doing with Lela, I’m excited about it. A lot of dates are already selling out across the country. I’m excited about the venues I’m playing, we handpicked certain venues to create a certain ambience, to create a certain look. Moving forward, I want my brand to be associated with and recognized for it.
Since we’re talking about venues, what are some of your favorite cities to perform in and why?
I mean I just like to keep it moving, like every city is different, has it’s unique structure, has a unique slang, culture…all that. So none in particular, I like the fact that I’m able to move around. The way the music business is, they say people don’t buy music anymore…I’m able to sell tickets.
You have The Love Life Foundation, how can the public or community get involved in this?
It’s been going on for two years now, I made the initiative, fighting domestic violence against women, nationally and globally. Feeding the homeless which kinda’ goes under health and wellness, also education is a big part of that. We just gave out four scholarships this year, back in June for freshman that will be attending college. So those are the three major components, and really The Love Life Foundation is an opportunity for me to give back to the community. It started out in my area, D.C., Northern Virginia, it’s putting back into a place that has invested in me. On a regular I’m out at the high schools, the junior high schools, in the area lecturing. I’ve been to schools in Chicago, speaking out on the violence in the past. Those are three major initiatives, and definitely people can get involved. It doesn’t run itself, so I’m constantly raising money to put it back into the community. The goal is to follow in the footsteps of say like a Tom Joyner…we gotta’ be a village.
This is something for the ladies, what would it be like to go on a date with the Love King, how would you set the mood?
I’m pretty simple…I like to cook, I like movies, I like to have a conversation that last longer than 5 minutes.
Okay so let’s say you have a situation, your cooking, conversation is great…if you could pick one song off of “Love, Sex, Passion,” what would be playing in the background?
I’m like the artist, if you’re looking for one or two songs…like, don’t buy my album, cause it ain’t for you. It’s an experience. If, like one or two songs is creating the ambience, then you’re dealing with somebody that’s probably gonna’ give you like two to seven minutes of…of a moment you might regret. Ya’ know what I’m sayin’. It’s sixty to eighty minutes’ worth of soundtrack and band to create the ambience of whatever is going on or whatever the goal.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me. Please continue to do what you do, putting your heart and soul into your music.
If you would like to donate or be a part of The Love Life Foundation movement you can click on…
Follow their official Twitter and Instagram page @lovelifedmv
Houston – Raheem DeVaughn is coming to you!
Date: November 6Th 7pm at the House of Blues
Before the concert, support The Love Life Foundation on November 6th, as they continue to fight domestic violence against women.
“Queen for A Day”