After spending most of his time behind the mixing board recently producing Lionel Richie, Angie Stone, Kelis and Joss Stone, Raphael Saadiq is set to start work on his next solo album.

After spending most of his time behind the mixing board recently producing Lionel Richie, Angie Stone, Kelis and Joss Stone, Raphael Saadiq is set to start work on his next solo album.

The former Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl principal tells Billboard.com that he'll be hitting the studio next week to begin his first "label" album since 2002's "Instant Vintage" and the follow-up to his self-released "Ray Ray" in 2004.

"I just had to get everything else out of the way," explains Saadiq, who's doing some European dates in Stone's band to promote the release of her new album, "Introducing Joss Stone," which comes out March 20 on Virgin. "There's a couple (songs) I have in mind, a couple that, once I do those, it'll set the bar for the rest of the record."

Saadiq says we can expect "a record that you can clap your hands to -- that simple. It's gonna be Raphael. It's not gonna change too much. I have a little more confidence with every record, so this is gonna be real fun, a challenge. I never know what I'm doing next. I like to keep it that way."

Saadiq guesses it will take "three or four months" to record the album, which has no title yet and will be released on a Sony BMG label to be announced. He plans to form a band of his own and tour to support it once the album comes out.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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