Chasing the Dream: The Case Story

Case Returns

Consistency is a hard thing to come by in the R&B industry. While artists will put out a hot track every now and then, what defines a strong singer is the ability to put out hit after hit. And in that regard, Case has proven to have the midas touch.

From his self-titled debut album with the hit single "Touch Me, Tease Me" reaching #4 on the R&B charts, to his sophomore efforts success with "Faded Pictures" and "Happily Ever After," both of which reached #3 on the R&B charts, Case has been a regular on the radios and the R&B charts. However, after his third album, Open Letter, scored Case's biggest hit with the #1 R&B hit "Missing You," Case went quiet, leaving Def Jam and releasing little to no new music in the last 8 years.

That's all about to change as Case is back in a big way. He's released the first single "Lovely" off of his upcoming album The Rose Experience, which comes out March 24th. Case is independent now, putting a personal touch on his music and expressing it in a big way.

Case recently sat down with R&B Haven for a two-part interview on his career to date and his plans for the future. Here in part 1 of the interview, Case talks about how he got into the R&B industry and about his past collaborations with artists like Joe, Foxy Brown, and Ginuwine.

Interview with Case

This is Matt Fyffe, R&B Guru of RNB Haven DOT Com. With me today, is R&B singer Case. Case is best known for his hit singles including "Touch Me, Tease Me," "Faded Pictures," and "Missing You." After a seven year hiatus, Case is back with a new album, The Rose Experience, and a new single, "Lovely." Case, it's great to have you with us and what's more, it's great to have you back in the game.

Thank you Matt, I appreciate that.

In this first part of our interview, I thought it would be great to look back at the career that brought you here today. I understand that when you were 17, you decided to leave home in pursuit of a music career and even were homeless for a time. How did this experience help define who you are today?

In a lot of ways what it showed me was that a lot of times, you have to go through a lot to gain a lot. It showed me that if I really want something, it's going to take a lot of sacrifice, a lot of hard work. Nothing's going to come easy. Cause during that time, I mean, there aren't many situations that could be more hopeless than not having a place to sleep.

Now during that time, did your musical aspirations change at all?

No not at all because actually, that was my very reason for leaving home. All that did was strengthen it. Because I knew why I was doing it, I looked at it kinda like maybe this was something that I was supposed to go through on the road to get me where I was supposed to get to.

Now a lot of artists bring their own personal experiences into their music, did any of these struggles show up in any of your songs?

I don't think they showed up in any of my songs until the new album [The Rose Experience]. What it did do is help me with my work ethic, it helped me appreciate just life in general, how much effort it takes to achieve something.

During that time I read that you did some work with a group called "Future" and then a duo called "Black." What made you try out the group scene?

I had a manager and he had a group and myself as a solo artist and another guy that was a friend of mine named Brian, he was a solo artist. And it was just taking a long time, and we were just mixing and matching trying different things.

The group that I did Future with, I mean that was a really long time ago. That was just something I wanted to try. I was still getting my feet wet as to what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do music, I didn't know if it was going to be a group, cause I'd always been a big fan of like The Gap Band and Guy and groups like that. So that's what really made me try the group thing back then.

In his pursuit of the music dream, Case risked everything, to the point of being homeless for a period.
So how's working in a group compare to being a solo artist?

For one of course, you don't have to deal with the different personalities. But the biggest thing is that when you're on stage or in the studio and something goes wrong, you messed up. You can't look over at the guy next to you and point the finger. It's all on you. If you make it happen, a lot of times it's your idea and your vision and you executed it. But at the same time, if you mess up, you don't have anyone to blame but yourself. I like that accountability.

Now switching tune here, in today's marketplace, you don't really see a lot of those groups. Back in the 90s, they were all over the place. What do you think has caused this shift away from groups to solo artists?

I honestly don't know what caused it but I'm pretty sure it'll be back. Because I think music just goes around in a big circle. So I'm pretty sure it'll be back around to where it was. I just think that the time for groups, like you said there were so many groups back then, and then it changed back to the solo artist and I figure it'll be back.

Bringing it back to your own career, I understand you went on to start working as a writer and background singer doing work with Usher, Christopher Williams and Al B. Sure. How did you get lined up to work as a writer there?

Actually what happened was, Al was like a big brother to me, he always has been. He was the first person to put me into the studio and taught me how to write songs and how to arrange songs. Taught me the basics of it.

And how it actually happened was one day, we were hanging out in the studio and he was writing lyrics for a song on his second album called "You and I."

So he hands me the paper with the lyrics and was like "Okay, go ahead and sing it."

So I'm like "Okay, how's it go?"

He's like "I don't know, I'm just going to play the music and you just sing the words as they come out."

That was my first time being in the studio recording and I basically arranged the song on the fly. So at that time, Al was working on Usher's first album. I did some writing on that album, I sang background on one of the songs. At the same time, I was taking meetings with my manager and he had a lot of connections at Uptown Records at the time.

So Christopher Williams was working on his project and we got in. That's how I got to write on that project.

So how did you get to know Al B Sure? How did he become a big brother to you?

Well we're both from Mount Vernon in New York. He went to the same high school as me, I think Al left like a year before me. We had mutual friends and the friends that I had, they were on the business side of the music business. They knew that I was trying to be an artist and it was basically through mutual friends.