Second Cup Cafe: Raheem DeVaughn

It's appropriate that Grammy nominated R&B singer Raheem DeVaughn's soulful album "Love Behind the Melody" is going to be released right after Valentine's Day.

With his sensuous lyrics and strong yet soothing vocal range, reminiscent of the legendary Marvin Gaye or Barry White, there's a good chance listeners will get points with the ladies playing DeVaughn's music.

"Everybody can connect to that vibe," DeVaughn told The Showbuzz. "It's a conscious love album."

The album hits record stores Feb. 15.

Photos: Hot In 2008
DeVaughn, who performed songs from his new album on The Saturday Early Show, considers himself an "R&B hippie, neo-soul rocker," and has been on somewhat of a love kick ever since the release of his debut disc in 2005 called "The Love Experience."

"The Love Experience," a guitar driven album, stirred up an intense following and a fan base from Japan to Jamaica.

"Love Behind the Melody," DeVaughn's sophomore album, stays true to his old school groove, but demonstrates he's grown since his previous recordings.

The Grammy nominated song, "Woman," which pays homage and respect to members of the opposite sex, is the first single off the album, which was produced by Chucky Thompson.

"Raheem is a gem! A rare find, that truly sets him apart from the rest," Alicia Keys was quoted as saying of DeVaughn. "The minute you hear his voice and songs you have the instant feeling that you're among greatness. He embodies the soul and raw honesty of the legendary artists we long for. A true artist is one that can't be duplicated and Raheem DeVaughn drives in a lane all his own."

While growing up in Maryland, DeVaughn was captivated by music. He dove into his mother's impressive record collection to indulge in musical history and had a jazz musician father, Abdul Wadud.

DeVaughn himself joined a doo wop group in college. Compelled to write and produce music on his own, he further immersed himself in the Washington D.C. music scene through open mic nights. Once he gained a following, he needed something "tangible" to sell, DeVaughn explained.

His efforts paid off at a talent show when he took home a $2,000 prize from a D.C. nightclub called Bar None. He invested his winnings in a CD burner, which proved fruitful when he later teamed up with Jive Records on his first album.

Billboard magazine calls DeVaughn "arguably the most underrated R&B artist of his time."
By Melissa Castellanos