Case Returns to Music to Stay Alive [INTERVIEW] @Case_Music @eonemusicus @erickablount

Case Returns to Music to Stay Alive  @Case_Music @eonemusicus @erickablountHeaven’s Door is the Answer by Ericka Blount Danois

The 90s were an amalgamation of hip-hop, R&B and funk, and Case slipped in the door, bringing a little bit of it all to his music. As one of the few R&B artists on Def Jam, he was one of the pioneers of the time period to smoothly mix R&B and hip-hop. Last month, after a long hiatus from music, Case dropped Heaven’s Door. As he works on putting a tour together, he talks to soulhead about his break from the industry and what reignited his love for music. 

soulhead: How have things changed for you in terms of your approach to music nowadays—what sparked your fifth album?

Case: Change is good. Once I decided I was going to do music again, it was like starting over again from scratch. I had the same initial desire that I had in the very beginning. That was a huge blessing.

soulhead: So taking so much time off helped that?

Case: Definitely.

soulhead: I read recently where you said that when your grandmother died and Michael Jackson died around the same time, that changed your musical focus. Tell me about that time.

Case: Yes, up until that time I had decided that I wasn’t going to make any more music. I had fallen out of love with it. I was doing concerts, but I decided I wasn’t going to make any new music. Then those two events made me go back and listen to the things that my grandmother introduced me to—old Jackson Five, Motown music, the feeling just sparked it back up.

soulhead: Outside of those two events, was there anything that changed your thoughts about music and the industry at the time?

Case: Before then I was just tired of dealing with the politics and the business part of the music industry.

soulhead: A lot of people don’t know you as a songwriter—how do you enjoy that process?

Case: I have always written—I wrote almost all of my albums. Writing is just a part of being an artist, especially writing for myself. It’s a lot easier than writing for others. I co-wrote for a lot of artists including Christopher Williams, Dru Hill and Sisqo. The only thing that’s a bit of a challenge is keeping in mind that it’s not me singing it. So I have to get my mindset into that of someone else and what I think they want to do and what they can do. A lot of it is guess-work, and a lot of it is talking to the artist.

soulhead: I remember the New Jack Swing era, the golden age of hip-hop, and the mixing of R&B and hip-hop—you came about during that period. What do you think about the time period?

Case: I hope things will return to that quality of music. I loved that whole era, it was so much creativity. It was all new and everyone was talented. I hope it comes back to something similar because we need that.

soulhead: The label you’re on now is called Eone.

Case: Yeah, it’s cool. They have a bunch of different artists on there and they do television too. It’s cool for me because they give you some freedom. They were like, “Here’s the date you need to turn the album in,” and then they left me alone. That works perfectly for me.

soulhead: You think that going an independent route is a way to bring good music back?

Case: It can be. You don’t have to deal with the politics. You get to do whatever it is you do.

soulhead: You’ve also worked on a bunch of soundtracks for movies.

Case: They were songs that I had done already they were going on my album, it coincided with the label doing a soundtrack. The only one I did for a movie was “The Best Man.” We did it with Ginuwine, me and Tyrese. We did it with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.  You can’t ever be mad at that. I had never worked with them. I was excited about that. You gotta think about how many years they’ve been doing this at a high level—mid 80s and just all the stuff they’ve accomplished. I learned a lot business wise, personally and musically.

soulhead: Did you start out singing background?

Case: It wasn’t really singing background, it was basically referencing songs. I was working with Al B. Sure. He taught me about songwriting and song structure, and he would have a song that he wrote and he would give it to me to sing it. That was my early start and the first time I had been in a studio. Six years later I signed with Def Jam. During that time I was doing demos and all that kind of stuff. I was still trying to get my thing off the ground. That was all I ever wanted to do. Stopping would have been like dying to me.

soulhead: Tell me how you came to the new album.

Case: My biggest thing was just to put love back into music and substance and melody. I felt like now it was more important than ever to make a for-real R&B album.

soulhead: During the period you weren’t doing music, what were you doing?

Case: Just concerts and chillin’ out at home with the kids. Songwriting and films sustained me. I remember my Dad taught me that when I was a little kid. He said make sure you write songs. That will keep you alive. So far it has.

Grade: A-

Best Tracks: Timeless, Heavy Breathing, Shook Up, Damn Girl, You Just Don’t Know

Videos:

Shook Up:

Heavy Breathing:

Happily Ever After:

Touch Me, Tease Me:

BUY Case – Heaven’s Door

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