Article - Rahsaan Patterson’s higher soul power

‘The Kid’ from Disney channels his own vibe

When Rahsaan Patterson unleashes his soul, it sounds like Prince and Al Green sharing a set of vocal chords. Patterson says he’s just a conduit for his gospel-drenched mix of funk and soul, “an open vessel musically and spiritually.” Raised in the Pentecostal church, Patterson’s spirituality manifests itself in an out-of-body experience when performing. “My goal is to disconnect from my person and tap into that spiritual realm where the voices are able to come through,” he says. “It’s not until I’m done with the song I realize I even traveled that far.”

Patterson’s journey began in 1984 at the age of 10 when he began starring as “the Kid” in the Disney Channel program “Kids Incorporated,” about a fantasy band that also featured such future stars as Fergie (Stacy Ferguson) of Black Eyed Peas and actress Jennifer Love Hewitt. Of course, the price for childhood stardom is typically paid for in loss of innocence, often ending in disaster. “I wouldn’t say I escaped it, but I was able to make it through,” Patterson says. “I never robbed any dry cleaners or beat people up in public.”

Nevertheless, the rigid scripted constraints of his TV band experience still affected Patterson. “I didn’t want it to be so staged and choreographed,” he says of his performing style. “I wanted it to be more intimate and personal so people could get a sense of who I am, and not just some staged persona.”

Patterson’s not afraid to reveal a glimpse of his dark side, either. On “Pitch Black” from his fourth solo album, ‘07’s Wines & Spirits, he questions whether God is toying with his mind for fun, “‘Cuz if it’s simply a game, I’m done.” But Patterson has played the entertainment game pretty well. After writing the triple-platinum hit “Baby” for Brandy in ’94, he contributed songs to such film soundtracks as the Eddie Murphy vehicle Dr. Doolittle, Hoodlum, and Love and Basketball. His sixth solo album, Bleuphoria, is scheduled for an end of year release.

Until then, Patterson says, his spirituality will see him through. “As long as I maintain my belief in self and the belief of the power of human beings, which are all reflections of God as well, then all will be eventually OK.”