Saturday, March 13, 2021

Rahsaan Patterson

A new artist for “music night” this evening at The Wild Reed: Rahsaan Patterson.

You know, something I sometimes do to unwind is to stop at the Cheapo Discs store in Blaine on my home from work. I find in relaxing to just flip through the CD and LP racks, seeing what captures my attention. I’ve discovered that I have a pretty good knack at finding good though often obscure music, simply by trusting my feelings about a given album’s cover artwork and/or song titles. Yeah, I know, it totally goes against the old “You can’t judge a book by its cover” adage. But then, these aren’t books!

Anyway, it was at the Blaine Cheapo Discs that I discovered Rahsaan Patterson, along with a number of other artists over the last two years: Daby Touré, Habib Koité, Youssou N'Dour, Baaba Maal, Kimi Djabaté, Trey Lorenz, Jesse Powell, Femi Kuti, Glenn Lewis, Wasis Diop, Whycliffe, Lorenzo Smith, and Tashan.

Although often classified as an R&B singer, Rahsaan Patterson is actually much more diverse – delivering (and often mixing) neo-soul, hip-hop, and funk. His commercial successes, however, have been logged in the R&B/hip-hop charts.

Writes Gail Mitchell:

Patterson’s relationship with Billboard’s R&B/hip-hop charts began in 1997 with his self-titled debut album featuring the top 25 singles “Where You Are” and “Stop By.” Patterson, whose songwriting credits include Brandy’s platinum “Baby,” has placed 13 tracks on the R&B Songs chart, among them the top 10 “Treat You Like a Queen.” Trivia fans will recall that Patterson initially attracted national attention at the tender age of 10 when he began the first of four seasons playing “The Kid” on the 1980’s television show Kids Incorporated. Among his fellow co-stars: Fergie and Mario Lopez.

Rahsaan’s most recent album is 2019’s Heroes and Gods, but tonight at The Wild Reed I share a track from his 1999 album, Love in Stereo – “It’s Alright Now,” the lyrics of which very much resonate with me just now!

I used to be your love fool
Believing every lie you told
Running to you when you’d call
There to catch you when you’d fall

But then it became clear to me
You never really cared for me at all

It’s alright
I’m gonna make it on my own
Baby, it’s alright now
It’s alright
I’m gonna make it on my own
Baby, it’s alright
It’s alright, now

Lying eyes, deceiving smile
Hypnotized me every time
Until the day that I was awakened
To the fact that you were never mine, no

Your heart’s no more a mystery
I gave up on you loving me at all

It’s alright
I’m gonna make it on my own
Baby, it's alright now
It’s alright
I’m gonna make it on my own
Baby, it’s alright
It’s alright, now

Following is an excerpt from a 2012 article in which Rahsaan reflects on being gay in the world of R&B and hip-hop.

Rahsaan Patterson, the veteran R&B singer – who scored a top 50 Billboard album and strong radio airplay in 1997 with his self-titled debut – was one of the first African-American soul artists to come out officially as gay during a 2007 interview with

Historically, African-American musicians have rarely been upfront about their sexuality. For every Sylvester (the flamboyant disco icon never tried to hide the fact that he was gay) there is a Luther Vandross (the legendary vocalist reportedly kept his homosexuality a secret until his 2005 death). And in the overtly masculine world of hip-hop, homosexuality is viewed as a death knell; the sort of news that can literally derail a career. On the flipside, white pop and rock acts like David Bowie, Elton John, and Melissa Etheridge have experienced a more positive acceptance after coming out. It’s a dichotomy that bothers Patterson.

“Look at that compared to white music artists or even white actors who come out,” he says. “When they come out [as gay] they are applauded, not that they don’t suffer a bit in terms of press and people who may have an issue with their sexuality. But ultimately, them stepping into who they really are propels them in positive ways. It opens up their lives. I think a lot of times we are all so insecure with our personal things as black folks that we deny ourselves that right to be who we are. We forget that when you stand within your true light the world opens up for you.”

Musicians previously spotlighted at The Wild Reed:
Dusty Springfield | David Bowie | Kate Bush | Maxwell | Buffy Sainte-Marie | Prince | Frank Ocean | Maria Callas | Loreena McKennitt | Rosanne Cash | Petula Clark | Wendy Matthews | Darren Hayes | Jenny Morris | Gil Scott-Heron | Shirley Bassey | Rufus Wainwright | Kiki Dee | Suede | Marianne Faithfull | Dionne Warwick | Seal | Sam Sparro | Wanda Jackson | Engelbert Humperdinck | Pink Floyd | Carl Anderson | The Church | Enrique Iglesias | Yvonne Elliman | Lenny Kravitz | Helen Reddy | Stephen Gately | Judith Durham | Nat King Cole | Emmylou Harris | Bobbie Gentry | Russell Elliot | BØRNS | Hozier | Enigma | Moby (featuring the Banks Brothers) | Cat Stevens | Chrissy Amphlett | Jon Stevens | Nada Surf | Tom Goss (featuring Matt Alber) | Autoheart | Scissor Sisters | Mavis Staples | Claude Chalhoub | Cass Elliot | Duffy | The Cruel Sea | Wall of Voodoo | Loretta Lynn and Jack White | Foo Fighters | 1927 | Kate Ceberano | Tee Set | Joan Baez | Wet, Wet, Wet | Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy | Fleetwood Mac | Jane Clifton | Australian Crawl | Pet Shop Boys | Marty Rhone | Josef Salvat | Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri | Aquilo | The Breeders | Tony Enos | Tupac Shakur | Nakhane Touré | Al Green | Donald Glover/Childish Gambino | Josh Garrels | Stromae | Damiyr Shuford | Vaudou Game | Yotha Yindi and The Treaty Project | Lil Nas X | Daby Touré | Sheku Kanneh-Mason | Susan Boyle | D’Angelo | Little Richard | Black Pumas | Mbemba Diebaté | Judie Tzuke | Black | Seckou Keita

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