Raphael Saadiq Taps D'Angelo, Angie Stone For Solo Debut

Ex-Tony! Toni! Toné! singer/producer to release LP in the fall.

Ex-Tony! Toni! Toné! singer/producer Raphael Saadiq is holed up in his

Sacramento, California, studio recording "authentic and dirty" orchestral R&B

for his solo debut.

"It's definitely going to have that Raphael signature sound, but I'm gonna

have some fun with it," he said. "Dirty beats, dirty drum sounds — you know,

funky."

Though he'll handle most of the music and vocals himself, Saadiq plans on

having D'Angelo and Angie Stone guest on the album, and he's recruited Preston

Crump, who played bass on Outkast's Stankonia, to lay down some lines

on a few tracks.

Saadiq opted to go solo after a round in Lucy Pearl, the supergroup he

formed in 1999 with ex-A Tribe Called Quest DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad and

former En Vogue singer Dawn Robinson. Lucy Pearl released their self-titled

debut in May of 2000, replacing Robinson with R&B singer Joi late that fall.

The group is now dormant, but Saadiq leaves the door open to recording

another album.

"I always kind of explained Lucy Pearl like the Traveling Wilburys," Saadiq said, referring to the rock collective featuring Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and

others that recorded albums in 1988 and 1990. "But [Lucy Pearl] turned into

the 'most powerful group of the '80s get together!' It was great for

marketing but it was really just about putting people together to put music

out and enjoy it."

Flying solo felt like a natural next move, he said.

"I just felt it was time. I think now is the perfect time, after I've worked

with so many different people producing and writing and being in groups. You

learn a lot that way, and I feel that I've collected enough experience to do

my solo record."

Saadiq, who has also been busy producing tracks for Stone, Macy Gray,

Ginuwine, TLC, the Isley Brothers and Babyface, is hoping to release his effort

in the fall. He has not yet decided on a title, but is considering

Manifesto: Raphael Saadiq, featuring Ben Wright and the South Central

Chamber Orchestra as one possibility.

He recently set up his own studio, called Pookie Lab, in Sacramento, where his

typical work schedule runs from 1 p.m. to 4 a.m.

"The first month-and-a-half was the hardest time," he said. "I had to get in

by-myself mode — it was weird looking around the room and it's just me. It

felt pretty good, but it took me a while to really get into the swing of

it."