THE MAN, THE MUSIC, THE MESSAGE
As an ambitious kid growing up in the Stowe Village housing project in Hartford, Connecticut, Rahni was greatly affected by the musical influence of his parents. “Our house always had music playing! Day and night! It was a way of life for me!” Years ago in a small room in the back of the house, his dream began. Wires, microphones and tape recorders everywhere. Hanging on the wall was a spray-painted replica of a gold album. Music staff paper covered the floor as an electric piano sat in the middle of the room. He looks at the painted gold record and says “One day that thing on the wall is going to be the real thing!” As a teen, Rahni would sit obsessively for hours taking in the magic of his musical role models. He was very picky about who he listened to. From the pioneering Gospel music genius of Myrna Summers and Henry Jackson, to the jazz, r&b and funk of Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Bernard Purdie, Chuck Rainey, and the one of a kind genius orchestral arrangements and production of the one and only Gene Page, Thom Bell and Paul Riser.
Though he respected the talents of many others, these were the guys and gals that would shape his musicality. As he began to move into the field of production and engineering, he possessed the same discriminatory choice of favoritism. Always favoring records written and/or produced by Thom Bell, Quincy Jones, Myrna Summers, Vinnie Barrett, Norman Whitfield, Frank Wilson and Maurice White. His engineering favorite was George Massenburg. “To this very day, I haven’t heard many recordings that compare to what he did 25 years ago.”
Some years later while working at a local hospital, Rahni saw Tony Award winner and recording artist, Melba Moore on television being interviewed. He then turns to his buddy Rich DiMauro and comments, “Give me a year or two and I’ll be producing and writing for people like her!” At the age of 19, Rahni formed and co-founded a record company with longtime friend and business associate Jim Ragland. They called it Emprise Records. Their first release was a group called Family Love. The album entitled “A Different Drummer” was the only recording of its kind at the time. Back in 70s, it was less than favorable to mix gospel with R&B and pop music. Though the album and the concept of his record company found itself the subject of much ridicule, as a result of his vision and new concept of Gospel music, “A Different Drummer” went on to be nationally distributed and received Record World Magazine’s vote as Best New Artist and Album. The album also received numerous reviews and recognition in other national trade publications such as Billboard and Cashbox.
Most of the success of this project came from crossover radio play and mainstream acceptance. Gospel radio frowned upon it at the time, not knowing this trend one day would be received as main stream music. It is clear that Rahni’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit in the 70s & 80s with the critically acclaimed projects such as “Amazing” on Light Records and “Serious” on A&M Records by Contemporary Gospel Group KINGDOM, have made enormous contributions to paving the way for many of the contemporary gospel artists of today.
During one of his promotional appearances at a music store, promoting the “A Different Drummer” album, funk legend and Warner Brothers' recording artist Bootsy Collins walked in and is introduced to Rahni by the store owner. Rahni quickly gave him a copy of the album. Not knowing that 7 years later their paths would cross again and result in numerous collaborations. Along with George Clinton they penned the top 5 single “Work That Sucker To Death”, then on to the hit single “Krackity Krack” by EMI recording artist Dayton. Rahni then became a regular fixture in the Bootsy Collins and George Clinton recording sessions playing keys and assisting on hits like "Shine-O-Mite" (Bootsy) and "Atomic Dog" (George Clinton). Prior to this, Rahni’s arranging and production talents reaped many benefits.
Shortly after his timely meeting with Bootsy, Rahni was introduced to the legendary Ben E. King (Stand By Me) by his buddy Willie Jenkins to do string arrangements on a record Mr. King was producing for his son Benny Jr. The real surprise for Rahni was that Frank Sinatra’s string section was performing on the track. That was the beginning of what his family used to refer to as “the madness”. Since that time, Rahni has produced and written for some of the industry’s top gold and platinum recording artists. Along with being a very serious family man, Rahni continues to responsibly fill his role as producer, composer, arranger, songwriter, recording engineer, musician, and educator.
Throughout his many years as a producer, musician and recording engineer, he has kept his finger on the pulse of the ever changing music industry and its numerous trends, without missing a beat! From Funk, R&B and Hip-Hop to Classical, Pop, Rock and Jazz! Unlike the predictability of many producers of today, Rahni is a true music chameleon.
As a producer with a very discriminating ear, Rahni reflects on his musical upbringing. "I believe my diversity and critical toughness came from my Dad's choice of music. He had such a broad appreciation for great music. In our house there were no other adjectives attached! The music was either good or bad. If it was bad, it never made it to the turntable!" Considering the roster of artists Rahni has produced, along with music placed in major television shows and feature films, he is just now getting started! He has just made his album debut “Breaking The Rules” and is developing an artist roster for his new music company Y3K Music Entertainment. One of his greatest compositions is not a musical piece, but an extensive business plan for his world class company, Y3K Global Media. Rahni’s vision is a clear aggressive approach to revitalizing the entire entertainment industry by restoring that which was once held in high regard. Real Music! Not limited to just producing music products, but film & television as well. Along with many foundational efforts and global initiatives, he states “We have major plans to impact the entire business community with a new level of product, integrity and accountability, especially in the area of product development geared toward our youth”.
Rahni has also been passionately involved in the community around him. For many years, he was the music director at Greater St. Paul Baptist Church in his home town of Hartford, Ct. He has also played in numerous bands along with organizing and coaching neighborhood football and basketball teams as an outreach program for inner-city youth. Having earned a Doctorate in Social Education, he has placed a great deal of time and effort in mentoring and encouraging as many young people as possible through public speaking, literary works and interactive workshops and seminars. He is also the first Scholar In Residence at the University of Connecticut Center for the Study of Popular Music. Whether he is found conducting massive orchestras and choirs or small 6 piece bands; speaking to thousands at a time or a word of concern to just two or three, Rahni continues to give unselfishly what he has abundantly received!
DON'T ASK MY NEIGHBOR
Feat. Chantel Hampton