Soul for Real emerged onto the R&B scene in the mid 90’s with their platinum selling debut album, “Candy Rain”. Under the tutelage of Andre Harrell and Heavy D., brothers Chris, Dre, Brian and Jase Dalyrimple captivated audiences with their unique brand of exciting hip-hop soul. After an extensive hiatus, Soul for Real is back and ready to give their fans what they’ve been missing. In this interview, we discuss the group’s classic number one single, “Candy Rain,” their signature dance moves, working with Heavy D., their new music and much more.
YouKnowIGotSoul: You guys were originally signed to Uptown in the 1990’s. How were you introduced to Andre Harrell and how did you guys end up getting signed?
Soul for Real (Choc): It all started at a talent show that Hev’s brother was attending. He kinda came across us and brought us straight to Heavy D. and from Heavy D., we went to Uptown, which is the label that Hev was on at the time along with a roster of name brand artists such as, the list goes on from Mary J., Jodeci, Al B. Sure. A lot of people that you could think of was on that label at the time. But to make a long story short, Heavy D. was the one who brought us to Andre Harrell and once he did that, it was a wrap. He put full promotion into our first album, which was entitled, “Candy Rain”. As you know and the rest is history.
YKIGS: The name Soul for Real is a great name for an R&B group. Did you guys already have that name before you were signed to Uptown, or was that something that came later on?
SFR (KD): That’s something that came later on. When we first got signed, we had a funny name. So we just sat around and came up with a new name. With the help of Heavy D., Soul for Real is what we came up with.
YKIGS: When you guys first came onto the scene, you drew comparisons to a lot of groups like The Jackson 5 and New Edition. How did you guys feel about that? Was that a lot of pressure?
SFR (Choc): It wasn’t really pressure. It was more like an honor to us. We looked at that and appreciated it. It was great. The greatest entertainer of all time, Michael Jackson, God rest his soul, we were always inspired by him and his family. So to be compared to them was mostly an honor for us. We’re not quite what they were, but we got our own lane. It’s just a blessing to be able to express yourself through music and we’re enjoying the blessing. We’re going to ride it til’ the wheels fall off.
YKIGS: Your debut single, “Candy Rain,” reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart. Even today, a lot of people consider that song a classic. What do you guys remember about making that song? Were you surprised that it was so successful or did you feel like it was a hit at the time you recorded it?
SFR (Jase): Originally the song actually came from my brother. Choc wrote a song that they wrote a song around. To me, it wasn’t my favorite song on the album.
SFR (Choc): We didn’t expect that song to be so big and turn into what it did, but at the same time we appreciate it. We appreciate the love and all of the fans and all of the units that were sold. We actually got a surprise for ya’ll on that tip. We got a version that we’re going to come with that’s going to be like the rebirth of “Candy Rain” more or less. Or like the illest remix version you ever can hear of it. We’re about to hit ya’ll in the head with that!
SFR (Jase): It’s basically going to be the original song where it came from.
SFR (KD): Ya’ll love Candy Rain, so why not milk it. People always ask us to do it, so we have to do what they want us to do. People always ask us, “Why don’t you do a remake of Candy Rain?” Ok, now we’re going to do it.
YKIGS: Talk about the original “Candy Rain” videos. It looked like you guys had a lot of fun in those videos, both the original version and the remix version.
SFR (KD): The remix was the fun version. Actually, that stuff was hard. Those videos took all day. That reminds me. Thinking back, those videos took from morning until actually like the wee hours of the morning. That was hard work. It was fun at the same time.
SFR (Choc): Especially the remix. We had a good time doing that, running circles around Hev and stuff! *laughs*
YKIGS: One of things I thought was interesting about both of those videos is that you guys had a chance to work with some great choreographers. “Cholly” (Charlie) Atkins helped choreograph the original and Laurie Ann Gibson did the remix. Do you guys remember working with “Cholly” Atkins?
SFR (Jase): Yeah. He was like a drill sergeant though. He wasn’t hearing us acting up. He was like “Nah, man that’s not the way you do it. You do it like this!”
SFR (Choc): Charlie was a perfectionist. He was good at what he did. He was a good choreographer that came from a long line of big name acts. We just happen to be one of them. It was a blessing to actually work with him. It was weird at first. To see him do the step that we’re most famous for, the “Candy Rain” dance, you would look and wonder how are we supposed to pull something like this off making it look modern or like something people would want to do. For whatever reason, it worked out that way. Charlie said “Just do what I’m doing. I don’t care how ya’ll feel about it.” And we did it. To this day we have yet to meet anyone who can actually do the “Candy Rain” move, but we’ll pay someone if they can do the actual move. *laughs*
SFR (Jase): Don’t ask how much, but we’ll pay.
SFR (Choc): If you guys think you can bust a move, holla man. A lot of people say they can do it and then they start breaking into an old New Edition step or something. *laughs*
SFR (Jase): If you can’t do it, then they gotta pay us if they can’t do it. *laughs*
YKIGS: Maybe you guys can start a contest on YouTube. *laughs*
SFR (Jase): That’s exactly what we’re gonna do.
SFR (Choc): Like Jase said, if you say you can do it and you can’t do it, then you have to pay us. *laughs* I’m just kidding. *laughs*
YKIGS: You mentioned Heavy D. He was heavily involved in producing your first two albums. What was it like working with Heavy D.? Do you guys have any special memories of working with him?
SFR (KD): Hev was our man. It was cool working with Hev. When we did our first album we were at Soundtrack Studios in Manhattan. We start recording and all of a sudden I start looking out the window and I see all famous people start coming in the studio. People that I’m looking at on TV. They’re just standing there watching me in awe recording. That kinda built my confidence up because these people that I’m looking at on TV are in there looking at me like, “Damn these kids is hot!” Total was there. Different people were just coming through. Word was buzzing through the industry and people were coming through just watching us record. That kind of freaked me out at the moment and made me know that “Oh sh*t, WE ARE FAMOUS! People that are famous are coming in here looking at us!”
YKIGS: On your first two albums, you guys got a chance to work with some other talented producers and artists like Kenny Greene from Intro, Trackmasters, Sean Combs, Faith Evans and another R&B group, 112. Do you guys have any memories of working with any of them? Did they influence you in any way?
SFR (Choc): We worked with all of them. It was good. It was actually an experience that we were happy to partake in because we always wanted to do that type of stuff. Collaborate with this artist and mix talents and just come up with magic because that’s they way we were taught. That aspect of the formula never left us. It was good working with other artists.
YKIGS: I noticed with each album you guys became more involved with the writing and producing. What’s your creative process like? When you have four brothers, four individuals with different ideas, how do you come together to make it work?
SFR (Jase): It’s not really one way we do it. We just get it done.
SFR (KD): Basically, we all are writers and producers. I’ll make up a song or Jase will make up a song and we’ll all just come together and finish the song. We all collaborate on the song or the idea.
SFR (Choc): It comes kinda naturally to us because once an idea is thrown up amongst us, we kinda just expound on it. It’s never a dispute, or “well I think we should do this.” If I come with an idea or any of my brothers come with an idea, we all build on the idea. So that’s how our creative process basically works. It really doesn’t matter what or how we come, because we all build on it and make it whatever it becomes.
YKIGS: You released your last album in 1999. What have you guys been working on since you released your last album?
SFR (KD): Living life. Right now it’s just time to take back the reigns of this music. It’s time. Timing is everything. Right now it’s just time to come back. We’ve been away for too long. Now it’s time for us to come back.
SFR (Choc): As far as what we’ve been up to, we’ve just basically been doing the same thing that we do. Writing, production, that’s something that just doesn’t stop as far as we go. That’s going to show in all of the new stuff that you guys hear and see.
YKIGS: Why did you feel like now was the right time for Soul for Real to come back and start releasing new music? There are not a lot of R&B groups out right now. Do you guys feel that there’s a void there?
SFR (KD): I think it’s a spiritual thing with us. It’s a family thing and a spiritual thing with us. Timing is everything. But it’s not when we say. It’s when God says. It’s spiritual for us. It’s not like “Oh, this is the time and you need to come back.” We needed to come back many other times and we tried, and nothing happened. It’s a spiritual thing. Heavy D. died, but with death there’s life. Right now, it just seems like right now is the time. It’s pulling us back. The world is pulling us. It’s not like we’re planning this.
SFR (Choc): We’re doing what we’ve been doing, what we love and we have a deep passion for it. Even if at times it gets frustrating and we feel like we might not want to go on, the blessing just won’t allow for that. One of our brothers unfortunately is not with us, but he will be shortly. You guys are going to get the full throttle jump off the way ya’ll know and love it. We’re all excited about that, being back with our brother Bri (Brian.) It’s going to be a great thing to be doing what we to do again.
YKIGS: Your current single, “Sun Comes Up,” is that going to be a part of your new project?
SFR (KD): Yes. It’s going to be a part of the new project. We’re about to shoot a video for it and release it. The world premiere. We’re shooting for January. The first quarter. We’re going to release it commercially.
YKIGS: Is “Sun Comes Up” sort of indicative of the direction you guys are going in with your new project?
SFR (Choc): It’s not like that’s going to be the vibe or theme, mode of our project. That’s just one of the many angles that we intend to come from. We’re pretty diverse and versatile. That’s just a little bit of the new flavor. You just never know where or how we’re going to come. It’s going to be crazy!
YKIGS: Do you have a tentative title or release date for the new album?
SFR (Choc): We don’t have the exact date, but we can tell you that it’s going to be the first quarter and it’s coming real soon!
YKIGS: Are you guys going to be working with any other writers or producers on it? Will there be any collaborations?
SFR (KD): We’re always open to ideas and working with other artists and producers. We’ve been working with other artists and producers form the beginning. It’s always good to have another aspect. We’re open to working with people. That’s one of the things that we want to do more. Do collaborations with the artists that are out there. Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, T-Pain. Shout out to all the artists. Holler at us! The list goes on and on. We love Rihanna! We’ve been supporting Rihanna since her first record.
YKIGS: One of the things I found interesting about your first two albums is that you guys had some great covers of some classic R&B songs like “Let’s Stay Together”, “If Only You Knew” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Do you plan to do any covers on your new project?
SFR (KD): Yes. We’re working on some stuff. We have maybe two or three. I think two of them we’re going to put on there.
YKIGS: I Look forward to hearing that, because I enjoyed the covers that you guys did.
SFR (KD): We’ll leave the covers as a surprise!
YKIGS: Anything you guys wanted to add?
SFR(Choc): We love everyone! We love to tour. We love the world. We love ice cream. We love hamburgers. *laughs*
SFR (KD): Like us on Facebook at SoulFor1 and follow us on Twitter @SoulFoReal1 also. Any bookings, you can also get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook.