*‘90s R&B legend Case will be featured on TV One’s “Unsung” Wednesday night, and the segment offers insights from family and friends including Ginuwine, Eddie F., Nokio, Rodney Perry, Marcus Chapman, Rea Davis and Steven Ivory. Additionally, TV One will feature an exclusive sneak peek of Case’s new single, “Heaven,” on TVOne.tv beginning Feb. 1.
The Grammy-nominated singer is behind one of the most famous wedding songs, “Happily Ever After,” which featured Beyoncé in the music video. Case had the style of a rapper but the voice of soul, and reached stardom in the mid 90’s with hits such as “Touch Me, Tease Me,” that featured Foxy Brown and Mary J Bilge. And as the hit climbed the charts, it revealed a romantic relationship between Bilge and Case that ignited a short-lived public beef between Case and Mary’s ex-lover K-Ci from Jodeci.
But as the 90’s drew to a close, Case decided to distance himself from the hip-hop blend and today he’s focused on music that he described to EUR/Electronic Urban Report as a “little more socially conscious.”
Check out more from our chat with the crooner below.
How does it feel to have your music and story featured on an episode of Unsung?
Case: It feels good. It’s humbling definitely. And I just hope that my story can maybe help or inspire somebody else.
How did your father’s decision to raise the family as Jehovah’s Witness impact your love and pursuit of music?
Case: It didn’t impact my love of music in any way. It may have actually just intensified it because that was pretty much the only thing that I still had that I could do that I really loved. Now the pursuit of it, it definitely hampered that because once he made that decision it was clear that I wasn’t going to be able to pursue music under his roof because of his beliefs. So that was the downside to it.
The episode highlights that time in your life when you ended up on the street, robbing and selling drugs to survive. At that time, did you still think that you would be able to make it in the music industry?
Case: There was never time when I didn’t think that I was going to make it in the music business. That stuff was just a means of survival because I didn’t have any other way to survive at that time. I had a job and I had quit because it was getting in the way of me trying to pursue music. And through that whole time in my life I was still writing and recording music — demos and stuff like that, so that never entered my mind that it wasn’t going to work.
And your big break came when?
Case: In the course of working on my demo. My manager at the time, Misa Hylton, she was friends with Faith Evans and got Faith to write a song on my demo called ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ and Russell Simmons heard the song and he loved it and he signed me to Def Jam. So that was hands down a big break.
Your first single “Touch Me Tease Me” featured Foxy Brown and Mary J Blige. Were you intimated to be working with such big names from day one?
Case: Actually Foxy was just starting out. The only thing Foxy had out was the ‘Who Shot Ya?’ remix, which is one of the reasons that we wanted to use her because we didn’t want to use somebody who had been all over a bunch of other stuff. We wanted somebody fresh and new to be on it. And with Mary, that was the last song that we did for that album. We had done about four or five songs together and we had been working maybe year at that point so intimidation never came into it. We were just having fun and creating.
Speaking of Mary, the Unsung segment touches on your romantic relationship with her. What’s your relationship with Blige like today?
Case: It’s like any other relationship. Once it’s done, its like… bye. You know how that goes.
The R&B landscape has changed a lot since you came out. What are your feelings on R&B music today?
Case: I think for a while R&B very much lost its way. I think it’s starting to take a turn towards being better.
Your new single “Heaven” will be featured exclusively on TVOne. Tell us about the inspiration behind it.
Case: Well, it’s simple… it’s a baby making song. It has kind of a jazz feel mixed with gospel. I think everybody is going to enjoy it.
In terms of how you approach songwriting now, how does it compare to your work in the 90’s?
Case: I think the biggest difference is that in the 90’s I was still kinda caught up in the whole hip hop thing a little more than I am today, and so I was writing with that edge. Now I’ve taken a lot of the edge off in some ways, and new stuff that I’m working on that’s a little more socially conscious that’ll be out later on this year.
At this point in your career, what would Case like to accomplish? What’s on your bucket list?
Case: Outside of working with Quincy Jones, the bucket list is pretty much taken care of. I think at this point I just want to continue to make music that people will appreciate. I want to be able to inspire people and just make good music for people to laugh to, cry to, make love to… just be happy.
Are there moments in your long career that you wish you could have changed?
Case: I don’t really live life like that because everything that I’ve done and everything that I’ve gone through, be it good or bad, I’ve learned from and they all go into what makes me who I am today. There are things that I’m not proud of. There are things that maybe I shouldn’t have done. There are a lot of things that I should’ve done but I don’t regret anything.
Tune in to TV One’s “Unsung” featuring Case on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. ET.