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Raphael Saadiq

Raphael Saadiq

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Also Known As: Charles Ray Wiggins Died:
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Whether playing bass, producing or singing, Raphael Saadiq remained one of the most influential leaders of the R&B movement's revival in the late twentieth century. Learning the basics while a child singing in a gospel choir, he went on to collaborate with some of the greatest R&B performers of his time including Whitney Houston, Joss Stone and Stevie Wonder. As a singer he had a voice that reminded many of a young Stevie Wonder and as a producer he could inspire the best work out of a wide array of performers. The Motown sound that began in Detroit in the early 60s was to remain a lasting passion for this Oakland kid who grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods and never forgot his roots.Born Charles Ray Wiggins in Oakland in the turbulent year of 1966, he saw four of his 14 siblings and half-siblings die before he reached the age of 18. His refuge though, was music and he began playing the bass when he was only six, singing in a local gospel group a few years later. His passion for Detroit's Motown sound became quickly obvious, though it would be many years later when it would drive his musical career. His first big break came in 1984 when he answered an open audition for additional...

Whether playing bass, producing or singing, Raphael Saadiq remained one of the most influential leaders of the R&B movement's revival in the late twentieth century. Learning the basics while a child singing in a gospel choir, he went on to collaborate with some of the greatest R&B performers of his time including Whitney Houston, Joss Stone and Stevie Wonder. As a singer he had a voice that reminded many of a young Stevie Wonder and as a producer he could inspire the best work out of a wide array of performers. The Motown sound that began in Detroit in the early 60s was to remain a lasting passion for this Oakland kid who grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods and never forgot his roots.

Born Charles Ray Wiggins in Oakland in the turbulent year of 1966, he saw four of his 14 siblings and half-siblings die before he reached the age of 18. His refuge though, was music and he began playing the bass when he was only six, singing in a local gospel group a few years later. His passion for Detroit's Motown sound became quickly obvious, though it would be many years later when it would drive his musical career. His first big break came in 1984 when he answered an open audition for additional players for Prince's backup band The Revolution, headed up by Sheila E. The legend is that he didn't care for the woman who was interviewing the musicians, so he gave a false name, Raphael, and almost didn't respond when he was called up to join the tour. He went on to spend two years on the road with Prince and The Revolution.

After returning to Oakland in the late 1980s, he teamed up with his brother Dwayne and his cousin Timothy Christian to form one of the hottest R&B dance bands of the era, Tony! Toni! Toné! He kept his new first name Raphael but continued at the time to use Wiggins as his last name, keeping the connection to his brother Dwayne. By the mid 1990s, he decided to adopt the last name Saadiq, meaning "Man of his word" in Arabic, to clearly separate his identity from his brother Dwayne who was making a name for himself in the blues world. It was the beginning of his journey into redefining R&B as part of the modern music world, one that he was to lead for many years.

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw Raphael turn to collaboration as he worked alongside some of the biggest names in hip-hop, pop and R&B. He did one album as part of the supergroup Lucy Pearl with En Vogue's Dawn Robinson and A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad. He collaborated with rap star Q-Tip as well as with D'Angelo on their Grammy winning song "How Does It Feel?" But the biggest change for Raphael was his decision to start his own label in 2002, Pookie Entertainment. It unleashed a creative dynamo in the musician that resulted in five Grammy nominations for his first solo album Instant Vintage.

The next few years saw tremendous creativity as Raphael poured himself into producing and collaborating with everyone from Whitney Houston and The Isley Brothers to the Bee Gees and John Legend. He even had a chance in 2008 to play with his hero Stevie Wonder when he asked Wonder to contribute a harmonica solo to "Never Give You Up," from his critically-acclaimed solo album The Way I See It. Saadiq returned to his roots with Stone Rollin' (2011), an old-school R&B album that combined his skills as a producer with his passion as a singer and musician.

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CAST: (feature film)

1.
 45th Annual Grammy Awards, The (2003) Presenter
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