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Rahsaan Patterson: "House Music Is Church" – 5 Magazine

The vocalist talks to 5 Mag’s Lauren Krieger on his album Heroes & Gods 2.0 reimagined by Quentin Harris and the deeply spiritual connection between gospel & house music…
Learning at a young age that music is a precious gift with great power, Rahsaan Patterson has spent his life following its guidance in order to share his deepest feelings and remind others of their own innate cosmic energy. Throughout his expansive career of acting, songwriting, producing and performing, Rahsaan has found himself as a conduit for the creative spirit to flow through, and with decades of artistic expressions through R&B and Soul, his recently released re-imagined album Heroes and Gods 2.0 takes Rahsaan’s lifelong message to a new level by connecting to his core essence and reaching a fresh range of listeners through the spirituality of house music.
“Underneath all the music I’ve done and released, which I love and is very reflective of who I am in terms of the genre of R&B and soul, I have always been a lover of house music,” he says. “And really, that is my soul’s favorite music. Very much like a lot of people love gospel, and what gospel does for people and their spirits, I find house music to do that for me as well.”

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Being the child of passionate parents, his own love for music was kindled at home where he would enjoy singing songs around the house with his family. However it was an experience with gospel which first gave Rahsaan a personal understanding of the incredible power of music. In church he was pressured by his grandmother to sing solos, and while he was already realizing the impact that the music was making on him, the idea of singing in front of a crowd was not a comfortable place for him to be. So in order to overcome the nervousness of standing in front of rows of staring eyes, he found a way to dive deeper into the music within.
“I was able to disconnect from the moment and the people looking at me and really tap into the other side of it, by closing my eyes and getting lost in the sound of my voice, the sound of the music, the interpretation of whatever lyric I was singing and the power of spirit,” he says. “Essentially that would catapult me to another atmosphere where I could be comfortable and explore that territory freely, and soar and expand. And so with that newfound awareness it created a deeper respect for music; the power of it and what it can do, how it can inspire and how it can cause people to be moved to a point of rejoicing.”
It’s a power he also sees reflected in house music.
“The connection made between gospel and house music is a very spiritual connection,” he says. “The fellowship that happens when you go to a house club and you’re in a space with die-hard house heads, it is church. So being able to bring that full circle for myself has been wonderful.”

Having dabbled in remixes when working with artists like Steve “Silk” Hurley, Mr. Timothy, Jimmy Sommers and DJ Spinna, and incorporating more and more progressive grooves on his albums over time, Rahsaan’s fans are already familiar with him dipping his toe in the house pool (“Gone in for a swim actually!”) However this first completely house album has given him the opportunity to be exposed to an even broader audience who are now just discovering him through this re-imagining release. And while notoriety has never been important to Rahsaan, having the opportunity to spread his sound to others on whom it can make an impact on is a goal he is happy to have achieved through Heroes and Gods 2.0.
“I know and I also understand that whatever I do creatively, the main thing is that it becomes available and accessible,” he says. “And as an artist your work always speaks for itself. The people that need it will gravitate towards it and you can’t put a time frame on that. And with this reimagining album it is doing that, it’s exposing me further to a new set of people. So it’s all a part of divine order, really.”
Heroes and Gods 2.0 was already an idea in Rahsaan’s mind during the production of the original album, something he knew would be unique not only for the label Shanachie, but for the industry as a whole.
“Underneath all the music I’ve done and released, I have always been a lover of House Music. That is my soul’s favorite music.”
“For the most part remixes or re-imaginings tend to have various producers remixing different tracks, or you have a few songs remixed by one person. To my knowledge, I hadn’t known of one particular album in its entirety being complemented by a re-imagining remix by one producer/DJ and one artist. So that was exciting, the potential of that being executed and received.”
For this epic album concept he had the perfect producer / DJ in mind, one who he knew would be able to keep the spirit of the original album intact while adapting it for a dedicated House music audience. Detroit-born and New York-based Quentin Harris had also been surrounded by music since a young age, studying piano and trumpet and joining his family as a session musician and live performer. Experimenting with a combination of hip-hop and house during the ’90s, he established himself at New York’s largest dance music store, Satellite Records, where his remix skills were encouraged and he quickly became known as a go-to remixer for major label R&B hits.
Having first known Quentin Harris from his remix for friend and bandmate Trina Broussard’s song “Joy” (a track that would “always get the party really, really jumping”), Rahsaan knew that he could put his trust in him to take on this personal and spiritual project where it was important to expand on the message from the first album.
“It’s very much a statement of presenting the magnitude of who we are as beings,” Rahsaan says. “Of course, we’re human beings, but yet we’re all fundamentally stars and cosmic, filled with atoms and energy. And so the way we relate to the cosmos and relate to history, as far as ancient cultures and gods and deities all derive from that, and so really it was just a way of reminding people of that.
“[Quentin] was able to maintain the integrity and the sentiment and vision of the original work and just emphasize it and embellish it even more and take it further the cosmic realm, which it was originally derived from.” From the first exchange of remixes as the album evolved, to the final product, the match between Rahsaan and Quentin’s musical perspectives certainly felt divinely aligned.
Ultimately, Heroes and Gods 2.0 showcases the approach which Rahsaan Patterson has used throughout his life, with his faith, love, respect, and intention guiding the way that the music moves through him. As he tells 5 Mag, “I believe in life when you are focused and present to The Power Within, as well as being a conduit for whatever information that comes from the spirit realm.
“When you’re in a space with die-hard househeads, it is church.”
“What is produced, whether it be a piece of work or art or life experience — it comes out and comes through strongly and will have an impact because the intention was pure. And the intention was for the betterment of not only yourself, but the world and souls that come across whatever work you’re doing, whatever conversation you have with a person, whether it be someone you know or a stranger. It’s always about the intention.”
This perspective, building since those early days of diving into the power of gospel music, has inspired him to take each step, overcome obstacles, and experience the flow throughout his life. Now, allowing himself to take a pause and create space and time before the next musical project, Rahsaan is currently putting his focus on other creative ventures that support his vision and values: reconnecting with the earth, the cosmos, and each other.
Rahsaan Patterson’s Heroes & Gods 2.0: Reimagined by Quentin Harris is out now on Shanachie Records.
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