THE RECIPE: Soul Food
On Soul Food, Roger Mooking's official solo debut album (out KCI/Coalition/Warner Music Canada), he takes a giant artistic leap forward. It showcases his multi-faceted talents as an MC, vocalist, songwriter and producer, and the result is a musically dynamic and strongly melodic collection of songs worthy of serious attention.
"I believe this album really documents my development as an artist," notes Roger. "People have seen me as an MC all these years, but I've also been singing too. The dynamics of my previous groups meant that was not showcased, but Soul Food has given me the opportunity to breathe some life into that and to develop my songwriting."
THE CHEF: Roger Mooking
INGREDIENTS: A pick of 60's Soul, Classic Hip Hop, The City, and some Spices.
METHOD: "I drew from rock soul, hiphop soul, ballad soul, old school soul, modern soul. I wanted to make an album that sounds as if you were listening to your ipod on shuffle. I realised that people are listening to music that way, so why should I be genre-locked in making my record?"
Soul Food was prepared by Roger in conjunction with a talented cast of collaborators. He set up shop in the Toronto studios of his chief co-producers, Ron Lopata (his earlier partner in MistaCronks) and Byron Wong (My Brilliant Beast, The Crystal Method, David Bowie, David Usher). Roger's former bandmate in Bass is Base, Chin Injeti, was also involved, contributing music and production on "We Don't Need No More." Another former Bass Is Base member, Ivana Santilli, adds grand piano to "I Wish I Could Find You Diamonds." Julie Crochetiere vocals are like nector on "Champagne Dreamin'."
Roz Bell provides guest vocals on "UMEUS," Soul Food's irresistibly catchy hornfuelled first single. "Sun'll Come Up Tomorrow is equally infectious, and showcases Roger's ability to seamlessly flow from fluent rap to soaring singing. The beautiful and tender ballad "I Wish I Could Find You Diamonds," showcases his vocal range. "Medicine" and "Angels Dust" are two sweetly soulful tunes Al Green or Curtis Mayfield would have been proud to claim. Roger's talent as an interpreter shines through on "Sittin'," an adventurous take on Otis Redding classic "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay," and his compelling cover of John Mayer's "Waiting On The World To Change."
Recording Artist & Executive Chef: Roger is also an award-winning chef, hailed as one of the country's best. Two restaurants he co-owns and runs, Kultura Social Dining and Nyood, are tantalizing the tastebuds of Torontonians, and his culinary ability will soon be demonstrated on his new Food Network series, Everyday Exotic, as Host and Co-Creator.
Roger is also an acclaimed and decorated recording artist. As MC Mystic, he was a key member in highly popular (and Juno Award-winning) '90s Soul trio Bass is Base, while such other projects as The Maximum Definitive (Canadian Music Video Award-winners), MistaCronks, and Rogeraudio have confirmed his staying power as both an MC and composer. Roger has shared stages with James Brown, Celine Dion, The Marley Family, Busta Rhymes, The Roots and Burton Cummings.
"It all comes down to soul," says the creator of this delicious dish.