Archive for December, 2009

Raheem DeVaughn

Date of Interview: 12/04/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

The music of Raheem DeVaughn serves as the perfect antidote to the standard commercial fare on contemporary R&B radio.  And by channeling the spirit of Marvin Gaye, the self-proclaimed “R&B hippie neo-soul rock star” has managed to juggle a musical catalog that focuses on the beauty of love as much as the social issues underlying the hardships of daily life.

No stranger to “conscious” music-making, Raheem DeVaughn has never been coy about his intent on educating the masses, so long as a smooth groove stirred enough sugar in his musical medicine.  Such precautions seem unnecessary, however, since his breath-taking falsetto effortlessly draws listeners to his poignant messages of community uplift and self-empowerment.

To date, Raheem DeVaughn has garnered two GRAMMY nominations. “Woman” would bring his first for “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance,” while “Customer” would garner a nod in 2009 for “Best R&B Song.”  Both tracks are represented on DeVaughn’s sophomore effort, Love Behind the Melody.  His third studio album, The Love & War MasterPeace will be released on March 2, 2010, via Jive Records.

Shortly after the digital release of “Bulletproof,” the lead single for the MasterPeace, Raheem DeVaughn managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on “the new cool,” a career-defining conversation with Stevie Wonder, and his advice for independent artists.

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Wyclef Jean

Date of Interview: 12/03/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

At the age of 37, Wyclef Jean is young enough to have his finger on the pulse of today’s hottest music trends, yet old enough to respect and acknowledge the path his forebearers blazed in front of him.  Following in the footsteps of Babyface and Quincy Jones, he has learned the value of ownership, as well as the need to hone his musical craft, even if his God-given talents have brought him thus far.  Such wisdom, undoubtedly, comes with age.

Wyclef Jean is well-aware that music shouldn’t be made just for music’s sake.  And although it has become quite customary to say that music has the power to change the world, Jean believes in this sentiment with every fiber of his being.  Having traveled the world, due to his legendary status as one-third of The Fugees, hip-hop’s eclectic pioneer group, Wyclef has not rested upon the laurels of his past success.  With the founding of Yéle Haiti, he has utilized his superstar status to bring international attention to the social and economic plight of his mother country.  Thus, in an ironic twist of fate, Wyclef Jean’s humanitarian efforts have garnered him a dose of love and respect beyond his musical ventures.

On November 10, 2009, Wyclef Jean released his sixth solo project.  Upon the release of From the Hut, To the Projects, To the Mansion, he managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on his father’s influence, the evolution of the contemporary music landscape, and the blessings reaped from Platinum Sound Studios.

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