Sound-Savvy's Personal Conversation With Case

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 7:00 AM

In 1996, the world was introduced to the music of a man with a story to tell. Case's self-titled debut album spawned the infectious single Touch Me, Tease Me, while his sophomore followup Personal Conversation gave way to his sentimental side with Happily Ever After, Faded Pictures and Think of You. The hits kept coming on his last album Open Letter with the chart-topping Missing You and it's followup Not Your Friend. And then - just like that - Case was gone. After 7 years, R&B singer Case brings his disappearing act to a close, draws back the curtain and re-emerges onto the world's stage with a new album, a renewed confidence, and the same soulful music that earned him the adoring fanbase that eagerly awaits his return.

Sound-Savvy: So Case, you’ve been in the game for a minute. How long have you been singing?
Case: Actually I sang before I could talk. I’ve been singin’ all my life. I don’t ever remember a time not singing.
SS: Was there anyone in your family that had a history with music that convinced you to sing or was it something you just took up?
Case: Well my pops was a singer ya know all my life. He was in different groups. He was with Cameo for a minute back in the day before they got big. He didn’t really convince me to be a singer as far as a profession but there was always music in the house, we were always singing in the house. We would be in the living room performing all the time so it was kinda in the blood.
SS: Do you have anyone in your family singing nowadays?
Case: Well my daughter sings and dances… and I got a couple of cousins that rap and stuff like that.
SS: So when you were signed as a solo artist, your first major deal was with Def Jam. How did that come about for you?
Case: It was cool, I was working on demos and trying to get heard, writing songs and all. My manager at the time was Misa Hylton-Brim. She was good friends with Faith Evans and Faith wrote a song for me on my demo and Russell Simmons heard it. She took it to Russell he heard it and he loved it and said right then that he would sign me.
SS: Oh cool. Now since your last album, Open Letter it’s been 7 years. Where has Case been and what has he been doing? Any behind the scenes work?
Case: Nah, not really. Actually, it wasn’t a plan to be seven years; I moved to Atlanta, right after Open Letter to spend some time with my kids take some time to myself. When I got here, I started the new album and then I had the mishap with the gun, when I shot myself in the throat by mistake…
SS: Oh wow!
Case: Yeah that’s never fun.
SS: Right!
Case: Then I had a motorcycle accident. But throughout all this I was having problems with Def Jam and I was considering leaving. Then I decided that I did wanna leave and the problem with that was that I’m the last artist that Russell personally signed to Def Jam and they didn’t wanna let me out of my contract.
SS: Ohhh…
Case: Went back and forth with that for a while and then they finally let me go and I was looking around to see if there was another major deal I wanted to take. And then I realized that I didn’t need to. So me and my manager Blue Williams we decided to do a deal to start an independent label for the purpose of putting out this album
SS: And now your independent label is…
Case: Indigo Blue
SS: Okay, so are you considering signing other artists to that label or are you just more so focused on your own music?
Case: Right now, I’m just focusing on this album, then takin’ it a step at a time. Start with this, establish it and see what we can do with it.
SS: How would you say things are different now on an independent label instead of a major imprint like Def Jam?
Case: Well the biggest difference to me obviously is that everything you do, you gotta do it yourself... which is actually a plus to me. I don’t have to deal with the politics. All the back rubbing and all that… If you wanna do XY and Z, if that’s the move you wanna make then you just go on and make that move. If it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. Like there were times at Def Jam there would be moves made that I completely disagreed with before they were made then after the fact I had to listen to people tell me I was right! You don’t wanna have that conversation about how “I was right” but so many times. If a move was made and I’ve OK’d that move, then if it doesn’t work I don’t have anyone else to point the finger at but myself
SS: Oh I definitely feel you on that. So let’s get back to the incident with the gun. You said you accidentally shot yourself? How did that happen? Were you cleaning it?
Case: Nah actually I was moving it. There were people comin over so I was movin’ it and it had a hare trigger and it went off.
SS: And where did it hit you?
Case: Right in the throat, like right in the neck. Maybe a couple centimeters from my voice box and it came out a couple centimeters from my spine.
SS: So obviously there was no damage to your vocal cords since you’re still singing…
Case: Nah there was no damage, but for a while I had to build up the strength in them again because they were weak.
SS: You are blessed, brother… definitely!
Case: Yeah, tell me about it. Couldn’t be nothin’ but God right there.
SS: So now you’re back in the R&B world. Looking at where you’ve come from, what do you think of the current R&B scene?
Case: I think it was real bad for a while and I think now it’s starting to come back around to people writing real songs and doing real music. There’s still a lot of stuff out there that I just hate, but there’s some stuff out there that I like a lot. There was a time when there was next to nothing out, and I think we’re coming out of that phase which is good.
SS: Any particular artists that you’re feelin nowadays? Anyone on your iPod?
Case: Yeah, I love T-Pain. I definitely like his writing, his melodies and everything. I definitely like him.
SS: Any plans to work with him?
Case: If it’s possible, I would definitely like to. I’ll probably reach out some time in the near future to see if we can make that happen, definitely.
SS: Yeah his Thr33 Ringz album is off the chain! I wasn’t really feeling him at first but he’s grown on me and I really like his work.
Case: At first I didn’t either, because I enjoy real REAL singing and stuff, but when I started really listening to his melodies, that’s what got me and seeing him perform and stuff. So yeah I’m feelin dude.
SS: So let’s talk about your upcoming album The Rose Experience. Where did that title come from?
Case: The title came from an alter ego I have. I’m the Black Axel Rose, so it’s Blaxel Rose. With this album what I wanted to do was make the music lighter, have a little more fun with it and talk about the same issues that I mostly talked about but maybe from a different perspective, put a different spin on them. This is the first taste of Blaxel Rose. The other albums maybe sounded darker, the issues I talked about were more straightforward like Missin’ You and Happily Ever After. But with these songs I’m approaching these issues from a different perspective.
SS: Any collaborations on the album? Producers or writers?
Case: Yeah Mario Winans did a song with me. Tim and Bob, Jazz Nixon, The Architechs. I did some production for the first time. And Dave Hollister wrote a song for me so it’s a few people on there with me.
SS: Nowadays, it’s like everyone’s gotta have a club banger to make their record “official”. Do you have any for the listeners to look forward to?
Case: I got a few that may jump off in a club but I don’t like to approach an album where I’m like “Okay I gotta think of a club song”. I get the music and I listen to it and whatever it tells me to do, that’s what I do. The song with Mario is definitely a song that could really bump in a club, but I never really go into it like that. I didn’t go into Happily Ever After like “I’m gonna make a wedding song”. It shouldn’t be forced in my opinion.
SS: Anybody else in the game that you didn’t get to work with on this album that you’d like to?
Case: Nobody in particular, at this point it’s just whoever comes with something that moves me, that’s who I’m goin’ wit. Whether it be the biggest producer out there or a kid in his basement playing around with some equipment. To me, it’s all about the music as opposed to the name.
SS: Right, I agree. Now one of your joints I STILL keep in rotation to this day was Sex Games (Case laughs)… any baby making tracks like that on The Rose Experience?
Case: Definitely, definitely got one of those. I got a song Can I Be and I actually have two versions of it. One of them we couldn’t use on the album because we couldn’t get the sample cleared. But I’m thinking about leakin that one out, either after the album comes out or right before, but there’s definitely a version of it on the album. We can make the population spike a little bit…
SS: Yeah, exactly! (laughs shared) I wanna talk for a minute about the blogger scene. You stay pretty active on Twitter, which is primarily used by bloggers. A lot of artists lately have discussed controversy with the blog scene like Kanye West and T.I. How do you feel about the blog scene?
Case: It depends. It’s just another way for people to express their opinions and point of view on things. I don’t have a problem with it. As long as it’s nothing negative I don’t have a problem with it. I do have somewhat of a problem with people who just sit around and are bored and put negative things out there, whether they be true or untrue, I have a problem with that
SS: Do you have any favorite blogs that you read on a regular?
Case: I actually don’t really read blogs. I don’t think I’ve ever read one.
SS: Really? Not even Sound-Savvy?
Case: Nah, I don’t really mess with computers too much. I just learned how to check my e-mail not too long ago, don’t tell nobody that!!
SS: Wow!! I’ll try not to publish that!
Case: Hahaha… I was in the Flintstone age for a while…
SS: Well In light of the fact that you’re active on Twitter, some of the bloggers in my network had some questions to throw you. The folks at Mindstream Radio did a show about hip-hop and health, and from your Twitter updates I can tell that you stay pretty active in the gym. Mindstream would like to know what your gym regimen consists of and how you stay in shape.
Case: Well, I have a personal trainer and I go to the gym anywhere from 3-4 times a week. He actually trains NFL players so he kicks my ass. I think the most important thing is what you eat. It’s just as, if not more important than working out. You can work out all day everyday, but if you’re not eating the way you’re supposed to it’s not really gonna help you out too much.
SS: BJ from Hip Hop Universe asks: After you’ve been gone so long, do you feel that your music is still relevant?
Case: Yeah, the reason I think it is is because that same audience has grown with me. They’ve gotten older with me and I haven’t changed what I’m making. It’s not like I’m coming out making something so radically different from what I was doing before. I think that as long as I stay true to myself and the people that liked the music before they’ll like it again.
SS: True. Fashion Citizen from FashionWithASideofLife wants to know how your personal style has evolved since the start of your career?
Case: It’s definitely evolved a lot actually. When I first came out, I was fresh off the streets. You couldn’t get me to wear nothing but some jeans and some Timbs, a t-shirt or a football jersey and a baseball hat. I had a photo shoot the other day and I had on different stuff, A different kinda hat with some suspenders, a shirt with French cuffs, the shoes and the slacks. I’m more willing to try things now as opposed to before I was like “Nah I ain’t doin that”. I’ll try it out and if I don’t like it then I don’t like it, but at least I’ll give it a shot now.”
SS: So your style got more grown man
Case: Definitely!
SS: Sane from WordIzz says her personal favorite album is Open Letter and she wants to know if this album is gonna be similar or, if not, how much different?
Case: It won’t be that much different. I try to stay true to what I like and what I feel like people wanna hear. So the sensibilities of it will always be the same because it will always be me. But it’s not too much different. If you liked Open Letter you’ll definitely like this
SS: And finally, Odara from GimmeTheGoodies wants to know if she comes to a live Case show what classics can she expect to hear?
Case: She gon’ hear all of em. Happily Ever After, Faded Pictures, Touch Me Tease Me, Missin You, Think of You… She’s definitely gonna hear all the hits and maybe some of the new stuff.
SS: If there's any you can give the new generation of R&B talent, what would it be?
Case: I would tell them to have a vision of what they wanna make and who they wanna be and what they wanna put out there to represent themselves and stay true to it. There’s gonna be a lot of people that try to change that and put their spin on it. You can be open to other things but you still have to keep focsed on what your goal is and what you’re going for. Don’t get caught up in “so and so did this so that’s what I need to do.” That’s the wrong way to approach it. Everyone should do what they do.
SS: Well thanks a lot Case; I really appreciate you taking your time to talk to the Sound-Savvy audience. I encourage you to go online and check out Sound-Savvy, I’m sure you can appreciate it.
Case: I’mma do that… definitely gonna check it out.

Related Post:
New Music from Case - Lovely

6 comments and counting...

  1. Great interview Mack and thanks for including your fellow bloggers.

    Posted on December 5, 2008 at 9:18 AM

  2. A.Smith Said,

    Case is underrated, but I think he missed his boat. His style is straight mid-90s and if you look around, we're ANYWHERE but the mid-90s.

    Posted on December 5, 2008 at 11:51 AM

  3. Sane Said,

    Awwwwww!!! Thanks for incorporating my question to him, Mack!!! You did your thing with the interview! I'll definately cop the album!

    Posted on December 5, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  4. bshepjr Said,

    good interview! but how can he say he dont know how to work a computer then be on TWITTER?!


    Posted on December 5, 2008 at 9:43 PM

  5. ODARA Said,

    "How Bout A Round of Applause...Standing Ovation"

    GREAT JOB MACK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    & thx for my question...

    Posted on December 6, 2008 at 1:03 AM

  6. Kimesha Said,

    Great interview! Like a previous poster said, I believe that Case missed his boat. He is very underrated but I think it will def be a challenge for him to make it now. You have people with no talent becoming superstars. And vice versa. The music business just isnt the same. You dont need talent to sell or make it. You just need the "the look" or "the sound" (whatever that is).

    But Thank God everything is okay with him and that incident with the gun.

    Posted on December 9, 2008 at 8:54 AM


Post a Comment