Music Interview: Raheem DeVaughn – Signed but Hustles Like He’s Not

By: Melody Charles

(c) Jive Records

I wanted to recount, for my esteemed readers, the intriguing quickie I had with the self-proclaimed “R&B-Hippie-Neo Soul-Rock Star,” Raheem DeVaughn.  Okay, it wasn’t that type of encounter, but this artist’s hustle, ambition and focus might leave you just as breathless as if it had been.

DeVaughn is currently enjoying an unexpected wave of mainstream exposure and success.  As part of the “Art of Love Tour” with Chrisette Michele and Solange Knowles, he earned stellar reviews and extended his chivalrous nature to the other performers “As the man, I make it my duty to check in on the ladies and make sure things is tight,” he explains.

He won the BET J Award and received his first Grammy nod for the lady-loving hit “Woman”. Among other recent career firsts, he has a newly-completed McDonald’s campaign and a movie cameo as the singer Andrew Tibbs for the film “Cadillac Records,” which also features Chi McBride and Beyonce Knowles.

When asked to explain his popularity, he confesses to being in-tune to what the ladies need and being a voice for their significant others. “Sometimes cats don’t know the words to use,” he laughs. “So that’s where what I do comes in handy.”

And just as much as he’s known for his buttery tenor and soothing, mesmerizing melodies, DeVaughn has developed another trademark– an R&B mixtapes series called “The Street Experience” which along with 4 independent albums he releases whenever he’s inspired to do so. “If I’m thinking about Marvin Gaye, I may go in and cut a mixtape of whatever I’m in the mood to sing,” he says.

His advice for aspiring artists: “Try and have your game as tight as possible, because there’s really no such thing anymore as artist development. Robin Thicke is probably the last of the Mohicans as far as that goes—they simply don’t have the time or the resources to develop artists anymore; you’ve got to be the whole package already and make them come to you for a deal, because it rarely happens anymore the other way around. Be the best you that you can, and take your own path.”

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