Throwback: Raphael Saadiq-Skyy, Can You Feel Me

Raphael Saadiq’s 2002 Instant Vintage was his first full-length album as a solo artist. He had already spent a decade as one-third of the successful R&B trio Tony! Toni! Toné! with his brother and cousin.  Singles like “Feels Good,” “Whatever You Want” and “Anniversary” made his honey-toned voice a source of connection and comfort for ’80s and ’90s R&B fans. The Lucy Pearl group he formed with Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Joi and  Dawn Robinson had a brief three-year run that ended in 2001. “Skyy, Can You Feel Me” was written on the night that Aaliyah died and he likened the song’s feeling to her being an angel. Charity Grace, who was Saadiq’s protege from the Willie Max trio he renamed, was the other singer and a co-writer of the song. He described the sound of the album which drew from rock, jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop ‘gospeldelic.’ Instant Vintage was critically acclaimed and it received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album and the popular “Be Here” with D’Angelo was nominated for Best R&B Song. Raphael Saadiq’s most current solo project is the Jimmy Lee album released in 2019. In 2021 he was the executive music producer for National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha limited series.