Born: May 14, 1966
Place of Birth: Oakland, CA
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Career and Life
Raphael Saadiq (born Charles Ray Wiggins;) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He rose to fame as a member of the multiplatinum group Tony! Toni! Toné! In addition to his solo and group career, he has also produced songs for such artists as Joss Stone, D'Angelo, TLC, En Vogue, Kelis, Mary J. Blige, Ledisi, Whitney Houston, Solange Knowles and John Legend.
He and D'Angelo were occasional members of The Ummah, a music production collective, composed of members Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, and J Dilla of the Detroit-based group Slum Village. He is a co-founder of independent video game developer IllFonic, which developed Friday the 13th: The Game.
Saadiq's critically acclaimed album The Way I See It, released on September 16, 2008, featuring artists Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, and Jay-Z, received three Grammy Award nominations. His fourth studio album, Stone Rollin', was released on March 25, 2011. For the album, Saadiq worked with steel guitarist Robert Randolph; former Earth, Wind & Fire keyboardist Larry Dunn; Swedish-Japanese indie rock singer Yukimi Nagano (of Little Dragon fame); funk artist Larry Graham (on the bonus song "Perfect Storm") and Taura 'Aura Jackson' Stinson.
Music critic Robert Christgau has called Saadiq the "preeminent R&B artist of the '90s".
Saadiq is the second-youngest of 14 siblings. His early life was marked by tragedy; he experienced the deaths of several of his siblings as a young child. When Saadiq was seven years old, one brother was murdered. One of his brothers overdosed on heroin and another committed suicide because he was unable to deal with his addiction to the drug. His sister died as a result of a car crash during a police chase in a residential neighborhood. Saadiq states that he does not want his music to be reflective of the tragedies he experienced, saying that "And through all of that I was makin' records, but it wasn't comin' out in the music. I did it to kinda show people you can have some real tough things happen in your life, but you don't have to wear it on your sleeve."
He has been playing the bass guitar since the age of six, and first began singing at age nine in a local gospel group. At the age of 12, he joined a group called "The Gospel Humminbirds". In 1984, shortly before his 18th birthday, Saadiq heard about tryouts in San Francisco for Sheila E.'s backing band on Prince's Parade Tour. At the audition, he chose the name "Raphael", and had difficulty remembering to respond to the name when he heard that he got the part to play bass in the band. He says of the experience, "Next thing I was in Tokyo, in a stadium, singin' Erotic City. We were in huge venues with the biggest sound systems in the world; all these roadies throwin' me basses, and a bunch of models hangin' round Prince to party. For almost two years. That was my university."