Raheem Devaughn was born on May 5, 1975 in Newark, New Jersey. The American born singer is the son of of jazz cellist Abdul Wadud. He was raised in Maryland by his mother, Imani Smith. DeVaughn’s love for music solidified during his early teens, when he began to envision his career path. DeVaughn visited his father during the summer, mainly in New Jersey. With his father, DeVaughn attended gigs and experienced his first taste of the life of a working musician.
He graduated from High Point High School in Beltsville, Maryland. DeVaughn had an epiphany early in his college career at Coppin State University in Baltimore City, when he saw a group of street corner singers and began harmonizing with them. DeVaughn took up a job at Tower Records, where while putting price tags on CDs, he began working the D.C. music circuit—performing with various groups, the most prominent of which being Urbanave31, and at venues such as the State of the Union and Bar Nun on U Street NW, all while having CDs of his songs ready at hand. Locally in the DC Metro area he attained relatively quick success, winning local awards and successfully releasing some independent work over the next few years. He won $2,000 from the Washington DC nightclub Bar Nun talent show.
CEO Cliff Jones and partner Jerry Vines, now the singer’s longtime manager, met DeVaughn while managing the Baltimore-based quartet Dru Hill and asked him to write a song for the group. DeVaughn ultimately gained the attention of veteran producers DJ Jazzy Jeff (as Rahiem) and Kenny Burns (known as former A&R for Roc-A-Fella Records) and with the help of Jones and Vines they signed a recording contract with Jive Records in 2002.
DeVaughn’s first solo single released on a major label was the song entitled “Guess Who Loves You More”, his second single was “You”. DeVaughn’s first Jive Records release “The Love Experience”, was acclaimed, selling around 250,000 units.
DeVaughn has described himself as a “R&B hippie neo-soul rock star,” a take on the difficulty media types have classifying him.
He worked on the street to spread the word around, sold mixtapes of unreleased material to build hype, and provided impromptu shows at local venues. In another act of self-promotion, DeVaughn made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in late January, wearing a shirt that read “Grammy Nominated on the front” and “Love Behind the Melody– In Stores Now” on the back. He also appeared on the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, performing “Woman” on January 18, 2008.
His song “Woman” was featured as iTune’s single of the week the week of January 27, 2008 and received a nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for the 2008 Grammy Awards.
In 2008, he was featured on T-Pain‘s song; Reality Show from the album Thr33 Ringz. The song also featured Jay Lyriq and Musiq Soulchild.
DeVaughn was nominated for “Best R&B Album” in the 2011 Grammy Awards.
Happy Birthday Raheem!