Remember jamming to “Touch Me, Tease Me, or planning to take that walk down the aisle to “Happily Ever After”, or thinking about that one particular ex-boo while listening to “Missing You?”
After a brief hiatus, R&B singer Case is back in the studio, ready to take 2012 by storm with new music and a new sound. Soultrain.com caught up with Case in between his recording sessions to discuss his break from the music industry and what inspired his upcoming album, Heaven’s Door.
Soul Train: What have you been up to over the past few years?
Case: Well, I’m working on an album now that’s about half way finished. It’s called Heaven’s Door, and I’ll put it out top of next year. Other than that, just doing shows. I really just started recording again around the summertime and starting to put this album together. It’s all starting to come together now.
Soul Train: So why the long break?
Case: Well, I mean the last album I put out was in 2008, so it hasn’t been that long. I have kids and I’ve been on the road. I have 3 kids, so that takes a little bit of time.
Soul Train: So will Heaven’s Door still have that Case vibe to it, or are you going to give the fans something different this time around?
Case: It’s not the same actually. I’m excited about it! I think the best way to describe it [is] it has a little bit of an alternative feel to it. It’s definitely a step away from what I’ve done in the past. I actually did a song on there that has a European pop feel to it, but at the same time it has a hip-hop feel to it. It’s called “London Rain.” I’m not going too far left, like jumping out the window, but it is different from my previous albums. I’m having fun with it.
Soul Train: Will “London Rain” be released as a single?
Case: Yes, it will definitely be released as a single, perhaps the second single.
Soul Train: When is the first single coming out?
Case: We’ll wait and put that one out at the top of the year.
Soul Train: What’s behind the name Blaxl Rose? Is that part of your alter ego?
Case: Actually that name goes back to 1995 when I first signed to Def Jam. I would listen to all kinds of music and just from hanging around me and my personality people would say “You don’t act like an R&B singer, you act more like a rock star”, so they started calling me Axl Rose. And I said no, I’m black, so I’m Blaxl Rose. That name has stuck since then.
Soul Train: Ok, Blaxl Rose, are you still writing for other artists?
Case: Actually I haven’t in a while. I stopped writing for a while. I really just got back into writing. Sometimes I go through a period of time where I can write a lot of stuff and have a lot to say and then there are times when I’m just not inspired to write anything.
Soul Train: Since you just started writing again, what inspired you this time?
Case: I listen to a lot of old music, but the past year and a half I have been listening to stuff that I listened to growing up. What happened was my grandmother passed away and when she passed it had me thinking back on my whole childhood. I remember that as a kid I thought I was Michael Jackson or Marvin Gaye (laughs). So I have been listening and thinking about that stuff constantly, and it just inspired me to get back into music again. Then I read Marvin Gaye’s biography and it hit home. So I guess I really just got kind of reflective about things, my grandmother’s passing, and the music, and how it shaped me musically today.
Soul Train: With social networking like Twitter and Facebook becoming so popular, do you think that’s the best way to connect with your fans?
Case: I think it can be, and it opens up the door to communicate and find out what people like and don’t like about certain things. However, those sites can be misleading. I’ve seen artists become misled by thinking that Twitter followers add up to record sales. You might have 2000 followers say they love the song, when the world is way bigger than your Twitter followers. You find out then that the record sales may not be hitting, and then you’re sitting there wondering why. So I’ve seen it happen where it’s very misleading. At the end of the day, it brings you in touch with people that support your music, but you have to rely on your own musical sense and not let the follower count lead you down the wrong path.
Soul Train: Do you have any advice for up and coming artists?
Case: I would just say for them to have a vision of who they want to be, what kind of music they want to make, how they want to sound and be portrayed, and stick to it. A lot of people will have their own ideas about how you should be, but you have to stick to your own ideas. They have to remember that 90% of this industry is business.
Case: There are two things that stand out in my mind about Soul Train. The first one is when the Jackson 5 sang “Dancing Machine” and Michael Jackson had on the sky blue vest and did the robot. I almost died! (laughs) That was so cool to me. My son dances, so I showed it to him and it just blows him away. The second memory is when I performed on there. I just thought ‘wow, I’m actually here where the Jackson 5 performed. Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and Al Green stood on this stage’. I really enjoyed that. Don Cornelius also told me to always work hard and to stick to who I am and what it is that I do. It really made sense to me.
Soul Train: What’s next for Case–aka Blaxl Rose–besides this new album?
Case: That’s it right now. That’s all I’m focused on right now, just getting this album done and making it the best that I can possibly make it. After that I’ll focus on whatever’s next, but for now that’s all I’m working on. Just look out for Heaven’s Door. I think everyone will like it.
Follow Case on Twitter at @Casesoulmusic1.
Shameika Rene’ is a journalist of all trades. She can usually be found producing television news and writing for various websites such as Charlotte Vibe, Creative Loafing, or her own site, www.themofochronicles.com. She’s also a special guest contributor on The Social Hour on Urban Soul Radio. Follow her on Twitter @mofochronicles.