R&B singer Jaheim (born Jaheim Hoagland in New Brunswick, New Jersey) emerged on the scene with his 2001 debut, “Ghetto Love” on former Naughty by Nature beat maker Kay Gee’s Devine Mills record label. The singer also released two additional albums, “Still Ghetto” and “Ghetto Classics” on the label, both achieving platinum status. Having survived a near-fatal car accident without a scratch, Jaheim has re-emerged with a new outlook, a new love, and a new record label. The Atlantic Records debut, “The Makings of a Man” features productions from such heavy-hitters as Karma Productions (Jill Scott, Musiq, and Bilal fame), Kay Gee, and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. The disc also features collaborations with R. Kelly, Babyface, and Keyshia Cole.
Singersroom: What ultimately prompted the move over to Atlantic Records?
Jaheim: It was like being in a dysfunctional home. When the mother and the father aren’t getting along and the kids are affected. I have now moved on to a better environment and Atlantic is definitely doing their job right now.
Singersroom: I understand that you were involved in a car accident shortly before you began working on this CD, how much of an impact do you believe it had on you and the production of the CD?
Jaheim: It definitely gave me a new outlook on life and taught me to appreciate life a little more.
Singersroom: I hear that you have a new love in your life now and that you are officially off the market?
Jaheim: I wouldn’t actually call it new because we’ve been good friends for years. We both love Jesus and it just developed from there. You know it’s lonely at the top, so it’s always good when you can find someone that you share that common bond with. Plus, I don’t depend on man for anything, I depend on God only and I’m patient with him.
Singersroom: Do you think any of this love was portrayed on your new CD?
Jaheim: I would say so, yeah. The songs they just show. This album is about commitment and ultimate love. Like the love I have for my mother and father in heaven. Also, I try to give back to the fans and make it something that they want to hear.
Singersroom: Do you anticipate someday getting married and starting a family?
Jaheim: Yea, my grandparents have been married now for over 50 years so it’s in my genes. It takes time to develop a relationship like that so it’s not something that you want to rush into. Plus, I’ve always said that I never wanted to bring a child into the world without being married to it’s mother.
Singersroom: How personal is the debut single, “Never” for you right now?
Jaheim: I didn’t actually write the song but when I heard it, I felt it. I felt like it was something that the people needed to hear.
Singersroom: How do you feel about being dubbed as the originator of “thug R&B?”
Jaheim: That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that term. I like the idea of that, I wouldn’t marinate in it though. I’m trying to get up there with the Luther’s, the Teddy’s, the David Ruffin’s and Eddie Kendricks.
Singersroom: I see that you’ve done a few collaborations on this CD, including “I’ve Changed” with Keyshia Cole, how was that experience for you?
Jaheim: Working with her was phenomenal; it started off like a real relationship. Normally we don’t let people change the record, but she came in and she wrote her own part, and it actually turned out to be a good thing because I got to see things from a woman’s point of view.
Singersroom: If you could do a collaboration with any singer, dead or alive, who would it be?
Jaheim: Definitely Luther Vandross because he was the influence for me. Luther for me is like what Tupac was to the rest of the world.
Singersroom: What type of music does Jaheim listen to, and who are some of the artists that you are feeling right now?
Jaheim: Other than Luther, Marvin Gaye, and the others that I mentioned earlier. I listen to everybody because I gotta keep my head to the street and see what’s out there. I don’t look at it as a competition either because I just want to make good music. It doesn’t matter who the king or queen is to me; good music is all that matters.
Singersroom: Tell me about this foundation that you started?
Jaheim: We started the Urban Dreams Foundation back in 2005, which gives back to the less fortunate kids who grew up in the same environment as myself. We also do affordable housing for the community as well.
Singersroom: How important do you feel that it is for entertainers to give back to the community?
Jaheim: It’s definitely important because you have to remember the times when you were poor. It’s cool to donate jackets and stuff like that but you can’t just make everything about you. People love when you give back and I’m always in the community. But, we can’t be God.
Singersroom: Can you tell me the concept behind The Makings of a Man?
Jaheim: It came from Kevin Liles; he took the storyline from all of the songs on the CD and thought of ‘The Making of a Man’ so I put my own spin on it and came up with “The Makings of A Man” and it was all good. —— By: Interview By Tiffany H.