Raw Beauty is an R&B duo bringing a new sound to Philly outside of the soul movement. Raw Beauty is introducing a movement of authentic love songs that has club DJ’s playing their songs to bring together ladies and gentlemen at the end of the night. The group is comprised of Philadelphia natives; male vocalist Richard White and female vocalist Jessica Q. Ross. Their unique chemistry allows listeners to appreciate stories from different perspectives. Raw Beauty took time out of there daily grind to talk about bring back love that triggered parents creating babies.
Singersroom: How did you two first hook up?
Rich: We hook up basically during the time I was first growing my hair. When I first was growing my hair I needed somebody to braid and my best friend lived across the street from her. He said the girl across the street braids hair. The girls was coming out of the house and he was like there they go right there. He was like let?s go ask her now. So I walk on and I asked her sister (Jessica), her sister is actually the one who braids my hair. I asked her to do it and she said ?Yea?. I came over the next day to get my hair braided and we were talking about what I did at the time; and at the time I was singing background for Musiq Soulchild. It kind of came up what I was doing for a living and they were like my daughter sings. She was actually coming down the stairs putting some dishes away and they asked me to sing and I sung. I asked her to sing and she sung. She sounded just like Lauryn Hill, I thought that was impressive so we jus talked. I brought up the idea (of forming a group) to her.
Jessica: And we been making beautiful music ever since.
Singersroom: Why did you pick the name Raw Beauty?
Jessica: He used to sing with a girl named Brandy and the name of their group was ?R&B? which stood for Rich and Brandy. I didn?t want to change my name to Bessica or anything but we wanted to keep the concept of R&B. We thought that was real cute. We wanted to tap into the raw beauty of music in general people and different styles. At the end of the day we came up with the raw beauty of things. That?s what we are trying to bring out in our music.
Singersroom: Your group is different in that you are a male & female duo, how do you feel you fit into today?s scene?
Jessica: We fit because there is no one like us right now.
Rich: There ain?t a light skin dude in the industry really except for Sean Paul. (laughter)
Jessica: There are some people doing R&B music but I don?t think there is people out there right now so to speak that are actually trying to tap into hardcore Rhythm & Blues love songs. Things that make you actually think about your relationship and what you may be going through in life. Those types of songs they used to have you like ?Oh man I love that song.? That is what we are trying to tap into and hit and bring to our generation.
Singersroom: Is it awkward working with the somebody of the opposite sex, usually most groups are all male or female?
Jessica: It makes it weird only because we know it is gona hit us real hard when we do make it. I say when we do make it because we are gona make it. People are automatically gona put us together in certain types of situation, so we have to deal with that dynamic sometimes. It?s funny because if we want to talk to somebody else in a club or wherever where at and we walk in together; they automatically think that we are together so no one has too much to say to either one of us. (laughter). We have gotten comments like ?you guys look like y?all are singing to each other? and we?re like we are performing, that?s what we do. We are artist in our own right and performers and what we are doing we are showing you a life story. Most of our songs create a picture for you or motion picture for you.
Rich: If you have a male singer he is going to talk from a male?s perspective, if you have a female singer she gona talk from a females perspective. If you have a male group of five guys they are gona talk from a males perspective and vice versa for a female group. The good thing about us is when you hear our songs where talking from both aspects. In every song you can get both aspects. A woman can say that?s what I?m talking about and a man can say that?s what I?m talking about. We try to hit as many points as possible cause all of our songs are actually true life stories. We write from experience. We do all of our own writing. We are able to hit both demographics and both sides of the story.
Singersroom: Early you talked about singing for Musiq Soulchild and being from Philly, how has the Philly sound of Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Kindred and a Touch of Jazz influence you two?
Rich: I mess around all the time and say this is the home of R&B. I mean I mess around all the time but to a certain extent I?m real serious about that. New York is the home of Hip Hop. I always say a lot of times this is the home of R&B right here in Philadelphia. We were in the whole realm; we weren?t in it as performers when they were performing like that but with Jill (Scott), Music, Kindred and Floetry. They were all in the same kind on niche so whenever they were performing they were also at each other performances. I guess now you got us and Nelsons and some more hunger cats in the background like us, this group called U City, this girl called Tag Girl. We are kind of like that new realm of what?s coming up in this city right now. I guess to a certain extent taking from them. From there ability to a take what they do here and bring it to the next level. Don?t get it twisted though we want to be able for people to set us apart from the Jill Scott?s, Musiq Soulchild?s and Kindred. This is not that and when you hear our music I would hope that you see that this isn?t the R&B slash soul group. When you see our look and meet us and stuff like that. You can tell we are totally different from that genre. We are totally different this is an R&B group sliced right down the middle.
Singersroom:What are the messages in your songs talking to people about?
Jessica: Basically we touch on break-ups, time management within relationships…
Rich: We basically just touched on our lives in general. We kind of look at our own lives and see what has happen in our lives be it relationship wise or in general dealing with people. We really just look at our lives, we look at what has gone on or what is going on with us. We figure everybody has gone through what we have gone through if not the same. If it is not the same thing we going through it is something similar. We just take from our own lives and put it down on wax.(laughter)
I was reading a quote from your Myspace page which said ?We feel that our generation has been robbed or maybe even numb to good music like this.?
Jessica: Oh Yea! Definitely as far as the younger people growing up today, they don?t know what an actuall true R&B song is. Because of the fact that it is not played anymore you rarely hear a Luther (Vandross), you rarely hear a Babyface, you rarely hear those groups that use to have us saying ?Oh my God? that?s my song at a party and just slow dancing to a song. You don?t hear that anymore within this industry. Yes we have been robbed of it. We?ve been robbed of that and we don?t know what the true essence of love is anymore. Our parents made a bunch of babies off certain music. We are making babies now but the essence of love and pure R&B music is gone. We are trying to bless our generation and generations after that.
Singersroom: What project are you guys working on now?
Jessica: We are getting ready to start working on some new music. Just grinding trying to get new music, trying to perform wherever we can perform and share us. Share this creativity of ours.
Singersroom: Any shout outs you want to give?
Rich: Shouts to Rick Kidz Entertainment, Come Clean Entertainment, John Barber, Tony Crew of XL Entertainment, Simon Illa of course my mom & dad & family. Everybody who is supporting Raw Beauty. Everybody who has bought a Raw Beauty CD or been to a Raw Beauty concert.
Jessica: I?m thanking everybody you thanking. My mom and the rest of the people in my household. All the fans we have so far and the fans in the future. Anybody who has supported us. —— By: Interview by: Adeniyi Omisore