In 2009, R&B singer Case who had the 90’s hits “Touch Me Tease Me,” “Faded Pictures” and Happily Ever After”felt like music wasn’t what he wanted to do anymore.
“The business had taken away my joy of making music,” he says.
Fortunately for music fans, he’s reconsidered and is back with a new project. The first single “Shook Up” is out now and his fifth CD, Heaven’s Door, is out Tuesday, March 31.
Case says it was the death of his late grandmother that made him reconsider, along with the death of a superstar he was inspired by.
“From the time I was a little kid, she was real instrumental [in my musical career] from the time I was a kid. She introduced me to Ray Charles’ music and James Brown and she would make us do concerts for company. And then a month later, Michael Jackson passed who was the first person I really idolized in music. When they passed it made me go back and listen to that old stuff and that’s what sparked it back.”
Case, a New York City native that was the last artist on Def Jam that Russell Simmons personally signed says that he’d been ready to just do shows, collect residuals and take his four kids back and forth to school, but those death sparked a creative renaissance that got him back in the studio. The result is Heaven’s Door, which is no departure from the kinds of sultry ballads that made him a reliable hitmaker in the 90’s.
If you remember, one of Case’s career highlights was the video for his song “Happily Ever After” which features a teenage Beyonce. She and Destiny’s Child had just come out with “No, No, No” and it was one of the very few videos that would feature the future superstar that was not her own.
“They kept sending me people who had been in other videos but I wanted someone fresh. I had seen the video for ‘No, No, No’ and I was like, ‘I like her’,” Case says. “She wanted to hear the song and she liked it and said OK. Kelly was there, Solange was there. It was a three-day shoot and we talked and had fun.”
Another superstar singer encouraged him to remain in the business. He says Charlie Wilson told him not to let the business steal his joy.
“I’m not the type of person to make music just for the sake of making music,” says Case. “I have to feel the passion for it. When I didn’t have that I wasn’t going to do that because people can feel that. People know when you’re not feeling it. I make music from a very pure, honest place.”
Case is such a music fan himself that he carries around a recording of a Marvin Gaye interview that Tom Joyner did with him years ago for Ebony/Jet showcase. But he won’t be caught up in any court cases because he has too much respect for the artists who came before him.
“I think that it’s my duty as an artist to further the music. Our music has always told our story. Whether it is the Negro spirituals that get us through the work, whether it be the gospel whether it be James Brown or Ray Charles, the protest records or Marvin Gaye, I think it’s always being furthered. And I think it’s our duty to further it.”