Pandora’s Box: Raphael Saadiq Talks Love & Music


Tray Hova / September 28, 2010

In our mental catalogue of music, every one of us has that special song that takes us back in time to a very unique place in our past. A song that has the unfailing ability to strike the same emotion it did the very first time we heard it. That song for me is one that I first heard while watching, John Singletonʼs 1995 hit movie, Higher Learning. The soulful and alluring voice was familiar, but for the first time it stood alone without the other “Tonyʼs.” Surprisingly, his birth name had been changed, and not only was his first, solo hit born, but “Ask of You” was the official rebirth of a musical legend: Raphael Saadiq.



Born in Oakland, CA, Saadiq says that music was all around him since he was a young boy. He started his professional career in 1986 and has been going strong since then. Record after record, hit after hit, he has tapped into the emotions of many of us in love, or trying to get over love. Producing records for major artist such as Joss Stone, DʼAngelo, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, John Legend and many more, Saadiq seems to have no problem with consistently contributing to the world of classic R&B. Listen to his lyrics, just feel that passion in his voice. I believe everything he is saying. He understands this thing called love, and the way he expresses it is truly a gift for all of us to hear.

Mashonda: At what age did you know that music was going to be a serious part of your life? What made you realize this?
Raphael: I was probably like ten years old and everywhere I would go, whether it was at my uncles’ house, fathers’ house or even just being around my brothers, I was always surrounded by music. So I just knew it was going to be a major part of my life.

How many instruments do you play? What’s your favorite instrument?
I play five different instruments, my favorite is the bass guitar, but I also love to play the piano.

Do you fall in love easily? Are any of your records inspired by your romantic relationships?
I don’t fall in love real easy, but yes some of my songs are from my life experiences.

For instance?
A record on my latest album called “Falling in Love.” It was written by my ex girlfriend.

Was it a bad breakup?
No, not at all, we are real cool, still really tight. A line from the record is “falling in love is easy, staying in love is tricky.”

What is the sexiest thing about a woman?
Her neck and her feet.

You like to kiss feet and necks?
Of course I do! And I’ll call you later. (Saadiq recites my phone number from memory.)

[Laughs] Am I making you blush?

Are you the marrying type, have you ever been engaged?
I’ve never been engaged, and I don’t know if I’m the marrying type, but I am definitely the chivalry type. I’m definitely marriage material, I’ll say that.