Along with fellow singers D'Angelo and Eric Benét, Rahsaan Patterson is an exemplar of the sound called "neo-soul," which combines R&B and gospel with a hip-hop swagger.
But 25-year-old Bronx, N.Y., native Patterson who displayed his smooth, funky sound on his 1997 self-titled debut and recently released the follow-up, Love in Stereo is frustrated that he rarely gets mentioned in the same breath with the other two.
"I have been overshadowed," Patterson said. "I definitely don't think I have received my just due, but I am a very content person as long as I am able to make the music that I want to make."
Patterson, who began singing in the church as a young boy, has been making the music he wants to make professionally since 1992. He has written songs for Chico DeBarge, Jody Watley and Christopher Williams, but his most significant hits were R&B singer Brandy's 1995 #1 hit, "Baby" (which he co-wrote) and "Could It Be" for Tevin Campbell.
"It was hard for me to give [those songs] so freely," Patterson said, because he wanted them to help establish his solo-singing career, which hadn't gotten off of the ground at the time.
But he acknowledged that having those artists sing his songs gave him credibility in the music business and helped him launch his own solo career which now gets the benefits of his songwriting.
Patterson wrote 10 of the 12 songs on Love in Stereo, and his music on the record is sensual, fun and spiritual.
He said the latter quality inspired the charitable organization Patterson has formed, Soul Survivor, which is intended to provide what he called "a safe haven" for abused women and children.
"I would like to refurbish condemned buildings and set them up as shelters," he said. "We have to start somewhere."
Patterson has earmarked the proceeds from his first single off Love in Stereo, "Treat You Like A Queen" (RealAudio excerpt) which addresses the emotional and physical abuse relationships can inflict for the National Association of Abused Women and Children.
"I want to provide a safe haven where people can retreat," Patterson said. "Music does that for me, and I have come to see that it does it for other people, but this is the next step."