Of course the easy thing for an artist who is clearly cresting and in-demand—when I interviewed him a few days after the Clift event, our conversation was interrupted by a call from Mick Jagger!
—would be to offer audiences more of the same sound they love.
Mike Heyliger spends most of his time staring longingly at the Michael Jackson circa '83 glossy photo he has right above his desk.
On the rare occasion that he's not doing that, he's written for various blogs/sites over the years, including Popmatters.com, and
They had one moderately successful album before internal conflict reared its ugly head again and Saadiq decided to go solo once and for all.
In the decade since, he’s recorded three solid solo albums.
I mean, it was always something that I always really liked and always looked into.
I knew, one day, I would have more time to do it and I would try to get involved with it.
It’s a more eclectic album all the way around, but in the scope of Saadiq’s whole career, just another synthesis of his roots and current fascinations.
I guess one of my real starts was working with John Singleton on "Boyz n the Hood." I did a song for John, and he never sent me the clip of what I wanted.
It was a scene with Nia Long in it, and he told me it was a love scene between her and Cuba Gooding, Jr. So then, later on, he sent me another clip from "Higher Learning." I’m sorry—he didn’t send the clip.
That disc, with its uncanny extrapolations on the traditional mid-’60s Motown sound, created quite a sensation and brought Saadiq a whole new audience—mostly young, mostly white folks who frankly were unaware of his long and illustrious history dating back to the smash late ’80s, early ’90s Oakland soul and new jack swing group Tony! No doubt many of the audiences who saw him play huge festivals such as Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and Bumbershoot (he’s playing Coachella and South By Southwest this year) thought he was a new artist who’d just stepped off a bus from Detroit in 1965.
The crowds ate it up—loved the tight-fitting yellow suit he often wore, loved the Temptations dance moves, loved that smooth, elastic voice that moves so easily into Marvin Gaye/Eddie Kendricks territory but still sounds original—and Europe and Japan both fell in love with him, as well.