It may have been nearly a decade since singer/songwriter Raheem DeVaughn dropped his debut album The Love Experience in the summer of 2005, but the Jersey-born, DMV-raised “Love King” has only gained steam with audiences around the world since then. Now embarking upon a new journey with his fifth studio album entitled Love Sex Passion, DeVaughn is self-assured as he brings a powerful sound that is resonating with fans, both old and new.
In addition to making music almost non-stop, Raheem launched the non-profit LoveLife Foundation in 2014, which raises funds for a variety of worthy causes like autism, domestic violence, cancer, mental illness, youth programs and much more.
Of course you can’t release a sexy project around Valentine’s Day without some obvious questions about the lovers’ holiday, so we spoke with Raheem DeVaughn to find out more about his idea of a perfect date, and if it’s really appropriate to buy a gift for someone when you are still in the “getting to know” stage. We also learn more about how Raheem maintains longevity in such a chaotic business… read on!
If you were to put together the perfect Valentine’s Day night out for you and your significant other, what would that involve?
Raheem DeVaughn: The perfect situation: the island, the sand, the beach, dope restaurant, dope view.
What would your island pick be?
RD: The Bahamas, [Nassau] I think it was. There’s this dope restaurant called The [Graycliff]. It sits on a cliff and that’s the move.
Do you think someone who is taking a date out for the first time on Valentine’s Day should go all out?
RD: I think whatever you’re doing when it comes to dating, you should set the best impression you can. You have only one time to make a first impression. What you did to get that person in the beginning is what you have to do to maintain them – a lot of the time to spark the flame back up. So just know to prepare to constantly go all out.
How do you feel about gift giving when the relationship is new?
RD: Gift giving is cool. For me it’s different, because me being who I am, people always assume I have everything I want and need in life and I don’t get nothing! [laughs]Treat them how you want to be treated. I think that’s what’s important. Do what’s in your heart, but be creative though. Don’t be corny.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received from someone?
RD: Little trinkets…thoughtful stuff you know what I’m saying? Like going into the living room, finding sticky notes and on each one is a reason why they like me for every year I’ve been on this earth. That’s kind of a birthday thang. Just creative, thoughtful things.
What is it about this new album that makes it special to you?
RD: It’s a great album, it a great body of work, and I think it’s some of my best work to date. It’s special to me because this is my fifth promo run I’m doing for my fifth album. A lot of artists don’t have the opportunity to put out music and get to a fifth album; or don’t know how to get to a fifth album or get discouraged from it.
To be able to still make great music, and people take to it… and to go to different bloggers’ offices and publications and still see the fire in the staff’s eyes, and the fact that they’re excited that I’m there is a great thing.
What do you attribute your longevity to? Aside from artistry, what are some things about yourself that you feel have helped you stay good in this game?
RD: My ambition, my drive, my humility and consistency with the music.
What are some of your favorite places that you like to perform?
RD: South Africa, New York, Japan, DC and New Orleans. I’ve been doing Essence [Festival] in New Orleans for the last four or five years. That’s always dope.
What would you saw is special about your fans in South Africa and Japan?
RD: I guess it’s special because you’re all the way at the other end of the Earth… the importance of technology and how music transcends space and time. Take Japan, for example, where they may not even speak your language, but taking the time [to know the words]with imported CDs. It’s dope.
What do you have planned for your LoveLife Foundation for this year?
RD: I just want to raise a lot of money and make a lot of change immediately in the community. Whether that be in the arts, for the arts, for the youth. Arts and education are a big focus for me, as well as the homeless situation. There’s a lot of homeless youth in southeast DC in particular, and throughout the country.
Nobody knows your story until you’re able to tell it. I hope we can be able to document some stuff and let the story be told, and figure out how we can eradicate some of the issues.
What do you want people to know about you as a man and an artist at this stage of your life?
RD: I’m a gentle giant, I love people. I still believe in the culture of R&B and Soul music, and fight for that every day. When you buy my music, it’s bigger than just me. Buying my music is supporting D’Angelo, buying D’Angelo’s music is supporting me; buying both of our albums is supporting Jazmine Sullivan. And it goes on and on down the list. Great artists who have these messages they want to get out through the music.
Watch “Queen” from Love Sex Passion, showing love to women everywhere!