Raheem DeVaughn Biography
Jersey-born, Maryland-raised singer Raheem DeVaughn had an epiphany early in his college career at Coppin State University, when he saw a group of street corner singers and began harmonizing with them. It turned his life focus to that of becoming a professional singer, and he attained relatively quick success, winning local awards and successfully releasing some independent work in the D.C. area over the next few years. He ultimately gained the attention of veteran producers D.J. Jazzy Jeff and Kenny Dope and signed a recording contract with Jive Records in 2002.
DeVaughn's first single, "Guess Who Loves You More," hit urban radio in early 2005 and won for him an immediate following. It also set up the release of his major label debut album, The Love Experience. DeVaughn grew up listening to his mother's classic soul albums, and on The Love Experience he wears the influences of 70s and 80s soul greats on his sleeve. Even a cursory listening to the disc reveals liberal doses of Earth Wind & Fire ("Guess Who Loves You More"), Curtis Mayfield ("The Love Experience"), the Isley Brothers ("Until"), Marvin Gaye ("Breathe"), and, most notably, Prince ("Who," "Ask Yourself," "Cadillac"). However, while Raheem's strong leanings toward these artists make the album a bit derivative musically, it is nonetheless quite enjoyable -- to his credit, DeVaughn was influenced by the best.
Radio jumped on "Guess Who Loves You More" for good reason. It is an excellent midtempo and DeVaughn nails it vocally. And his Prince-influenced rocker "Cadillac" and the nearly a cappella "What If" are just as good. Perhaps the album's highlight, though, is "Who," an infectious uptempo number in which DeVaughn challenges the next generation of leaders. It is indicative of the generally strong lyrical content on the album - especially on the disc's socially conscious songs that follow in the tradition of classic artists from Mayfield to Gaye. It also provides a microcosm of what is best about Raheem DeVaughn on The Love Experience: he may may rely a bit too much on his musical elders, but he appears to have learned very well.
In late 2007, DeVaughn released "Woman," the first single from his upcoming album Love Behind the Melody.
by Chris Rizik
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