Since the demise of Tony! Toni! Tone!, Raphael Saadiq has staked his reputation in the recording studio with myriad production and collaboration credits. But "The Way I See It," his fourth solo album, has rekindled the R&B auteur's appetite for the road.
"I've never really toured as a solo act," Saadiq, who was also a member of the short-lived all-star group Lucy Pearl, tells Billboard.com. "I would do a record and go out for 12 dates and come back." But pride in "The Way I See It," with its echoes of vintage Motown, Philadelphia and Chicago soul, inspired Saadiq to slot some more time in for touring.
"I just wanted to get a record out there that I thought would match the world -- every type of person, people all over the world from the States to Europe to Russia to everywhere," he explains. "I felt like that style of music works all over the world, and I wanted to make a contribution in '08 and '09 and '10 and create something that would take me around the world."
Touring North America opening for John Legend this fall, Saadiq says, gave him "a chance to dig into that fan base and meet some new people and introduce some new people who don't know you. In that light, it was a great tour for me."
In the new year, he plans to travel to Europe for promotional television appearances and press, followed by a concert tour there in February, with North American dates to follow in March. In the summer Saadiq, plans a run of European festivals.
He's not abandoning the studio, however. Next up is production work with "American Idol" winner Fantasia, for whom Saadiq hopes to record "something soulful but really strong, something like maybe a little bit of Aretha (Franklin) mixed up with a little bit of LaBelle. I think that would sound really good on her."