Raphael Saadiq is a musical legend and national treasure. That’s a fact that is understood and isn’t up for debate. It’s also not up for debate how generous he is as an artist. The singer-songwriter always makes time for up-and-coming talent and finds ways to show them support. You can watch this go down in real time with his latest appearance behind NPR Music’s Tiny Desk during the inaugural Tiny Desk Fest.
Like Megan Thee Stallion before him, Raphael put on quite the show. His appearance could’ve been all about him and his latest album Jimmy Lee, but Raphael decided to take the time to feature up-and-comer Lucky Daye. The R&B upstart assisted him on his track “Be Here” (filling in for D’Angelo quite nicely, might we add) and even got to give the audience two selections from his debut Painted — “Love You Too Much” and “Call.” Don’t get it twisted, though. Raphael Saadiq got plenty of solo mic time with intimate versions of Jimmy Lee‘s “I’m Feeling Love” and “The World Is Drunk.” He and his band (including musician/producer Daniel Crawford on keys) closed the set off with his now-signature cut “Still Ray.”
It’s rare these days to have an artist who respects the past that brought him here, celebrates his present self and embraces the future like Raphael Saadiq does. Thankfully we have moments like this to bear witness to a true artist who does just that.