Rolling out recently caught up with Rahsaan Patterson at the International Soul Summit in Atlanta. Check out what the independent soul singer had to say about music — past and present, and his latest album, Bleuphoria. –candy shields
How would you describe your album?
It’s soul music, a bit more progressive in that it has an electronic atmosphere. It’s ambient, but still has hard beats and soulful influences. It’s very reflective of where I am now, mentally and spiritually.
Who are some of your musical influences?
They range from Billie Holiday to Chaka Khan, Sarah Vaughn, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Prince — you know, the legends. The Prince influence, musically, is all throughout my album. And it’s not intentional; it just comes out. But, I’m gonna give back any great art that inspires me. It’s my way of paying homage to them, because I’ve been a student of theirs.
Would you say you’re taking the baton from those influences to help influence the next generation?
I believe so. There’s no one doing what I’m doing. I do what I’m doing the way I do … it’s naturally who I am.
What is your biggest challenge as an entertainer?
My biggest challenge has been getting people to reach a level of comfort with how I sing, being that I don’t sing like most males. I am majorly influenced by female singers. I don’t care for male singers too much, and female singers largely influenced the ones I do like Michael [Jackson], Prince and Luther [Vandross]. They were free with wherever they were going. Nowadays, there’s so much bravado happening — to be masculine and all that kind of stuff.
How do you stay in your lane as an artist when the trend is to try to become more pop?
I just do it. I don’t think about what everybody else is doing. I’m aware. All you have to do is listen to the radio for five minutes and you can hear what everyone is doing. I can appreciate some of the stuff, how certain music really reflects technology with the use of futuristic sounds, auto-tune and all that. I dig that because it reflects how we’ve advanced with technology and represents where we are as a society. It brings us into the future and I’m very interested in where we’re going and how we got here.