A visual introduction to recording artist and songwriter Case is very much like having a glimpse into his life. Quite simply, Case is his own walking life story. To set eyes upon him is to feel his passion for music, to understand what is most important to him, and ultimately, to respect his love and appreciation of life itself, from his sheltered childhood to his rebellious teen years to the humble, self-actualized young man who sings before us today. To meet him is just to scratch the surface of CASE. To really delve into the mind of this very talented artist, as he would put it today, is to have a Personal Conversation.
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Case's sophomore album, Personal Conversation, is a definite graduation from his first self-entitled album of two years ago. One year of meticulous selection of music and lyrics, as well as endless hours of recording, has resulted in a collection of hip hop, R&B, and good old-fashioned soul. "This album is, by far, a better representation of Case, both as an artist and a person.
Personal Conversation is an entire package of artistry... the look, the sound, the lyrical content. We didn't work on this album with the idea of just releasing singles, rather we wanted to illustrate a story. It is the story of a young Black man in love, out of love, in lust. It's the vision of Case," says Joseph (Jo Jo) Brimm, the A&R Director at Def Jam who worked closely with Case on the album.
Case co-wrote all of the songs on the Personal Conversation with several different writers to achieve a variety of sounds and musical textures. "Personal Conversation is just that... it's very personal to me.
There are no limits to this album. I have hard core-type songs like 'Where Did Our Love Go' for hip hop fans and on the flip side urban love songs like 'Happily Ever After.' Then there are songs about the pros and cons of falling in love like the moody picturesque 'Caught You,' as well as 'Think of You,' which features the Harmony of Boyz II Men," Case explains. In addition, Case plays tribute to the funk era of the 70s with the single "Tell Me," which features the ear-tantalizing sound of a harmonica reminiscent of a legendary Stevie Wonder performance and masterfully flows into a rendition of Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Somethin' Good" for its finale. "I often describe myself as having an old soul because I still love the music of The Gap Band, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder... the stuff they sang back in the day. We will still be listening to their music twenty, thirty years from now. That's the kind of music I want to make," says Case.
Contrary to popular belief, the road to a career as a recording artist did not begin with "Touch Me, Tease Me," Case's hit single from The Nutty Professor soundtrack. The vocalist we know today has come a long way from singing for family and friends in his parents' living room at the age of five. As the only son amongst his two younger sisters in what he describes as a strict household, Case found prized refuge in signing, the talent which created a lifelong bond between him and his father, who also worked for a short time toward a professional singing career. By the time Case reached his teens, his quest to become a singer had far surpassed his mother's demands that he follow the rules of her house.
A rebellious Case left home at the age of 17. He began a two-year struggle of life on the lonely streets of New York City, sleeping and eating wherever and whenever he could. He sometimes slept in an abandoned one-room apartment in the South Bronx. He sometimes ate at a friend's house, only if there was enough food left over for him. "I always wanted to be famous, not necessarily by making a record but by football, baseball, or basketball. As I got older, I wanted to sing. I wanted to sing so bad that I was willing to leave everything behind just so I could. My parents are as stubborn as I am. So, I left and had to spend on of the coldest winters in New York City practically living in the street, often no more than four or five blocks from my parents' house," Case says.
At 19 years old, Case reluctantly returned home, secured a job with the New York City Housing Authority, and spent his nights in the recording studio making demos. After years of working behind the scenes as a co-writer of and background singer for songs with recording artists such as Usher, Christopher Williams, and Al B. Sure!, the premonition of his seventh grade French teacher that Case would become a star finally came true with the single, "Touch Me, Tease Me," which sold over 1,000,000 copies, as well as prefaced the release of his first album.
And now with the release of Personal Conversation, Case-the-artist and Case-the-person have both matured and are ready to fully embrace his career and all the responsibilities that coincide with stardom. In a word, Case is extremely humble. "In the beginning, I can honestly say that I wasn't prepared for the money, the perceived power, and the other fringe benefits which come along with success in this industry. It was all brand new to me," Case explains. "Since the release of my first album, I've had time to see what can happen, what needs to happen, the work that goes into preparing for a long-term career. I also appreciate things more, things like spending quality time with my son, Little Case. I know what's important and no matter what, I'll always appreciate the love my listeners give to me because they're the reason I'm able to keep doing what I love to do best... Sing."
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