1.Portrait of a Soul Singer

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Raphael Saadiq's life is dedicated to soul and R&B music. The 44-year-old crooner started playing bass at age six, joined Prince's Parade tour at 18, and sang lead in multi-platinum pop group Tony! Toni! Toné! in the mid-'90s. On March 22, he will release his fifth solo album, Stone Rollin'.

Last Thursday he previewed the LP by playing a six-song set for an intimate crowd of 50 fans at the Clift Hotel in his hometown of San Francisco. Saadiq and his five-piece backing band ripped through new tracks "Heart Attack," "Just Don't," "Movin' Down the Line," "Stone Rollin'," "Daydreams," and the album's first single, "Radio." Their sound was a fusion of funk, R&B, soul, and early-rock'n'roll, as much a nod to Chuck Berry as to Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone.

SPIN's Misha Vladimirskiy photographed Saadiq's set, and captured the singer during some candid moments at soundcheck and after the show. Check out eight photos in the gallery below, then, on the final slide, watch a video of Saadiq exploring New Orleans' rich musical history and working with the Roots of Music Program, which brings music education to under-funded local schools.

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2.Portrait of a Soul Singer

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Raphael Saadiq's life is dedicated to soul and R&B music. The 44-year-old crooner started playing bass at age six, joined Prince's Parade tour at 18, and sang lead in multi-platinum pop group Tony! Toni! Toné! in the mid-'90s. On March 22, he will release his fifth solo album, Stone Rollin'.

Last Thursday he previewed the LP by playing a six-song set for an intimate crowd of 50 fans at the Clift Hotel in his hometown of San Francisco. Saadiq and his five-piece backing band ripped through new tracks "Heart Attack," "Just Don't," "Movin' Down the Line," "Stone Rollin'," "Daydreams," and the album's first single, "Radio." Their sound was a fusion of funk, R&B, soul, and early-rock'n'roll, as much a nod to Chuck Berry as to Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone.

SPIN's Misha Vladimirskiy photographed Saadiq's set, and captured the singer during some candid moments at soundcheck and after the show. Check out eight photos in the gallery below, then, on the final slide, watch a video of Saadiq exploring New Orleans' rich musical history and working with the Roots of Music Program, which brings music education to under-funded local schools.

SEE NEXT PHOTO>>

3.Warming Up

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Saadiq showed up at the venue early in the day for soundcheck, which is surprising considering the short length of the set. "He put a lot of effort into making sure it was going to sound perfect," SPIN's Vladimirskiy says. "He wanted people to really experience his new album."

4.Pitch Perfect

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Saadiq and his guitarist fine-tune their sound before the show.

5.Show Time

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Dapper in their matching black suits, Saadiq and his five-piece band played six songs from his new album, including its first single, "Radio," which shifts from classic R&B grooves to '50s style rock'n'roll.

6.Storytellers

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Between songs, Saadiq chatted with the audience about the inspiration behind his career. "He talked about his childhood music teacher and the leader in his first band," says Vladimirskiy. "He said they both influenced his sound and inspired him to continue in music. Both those people were at the show, too, which was obviously really important to Raphael."

7.The Suite Life

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The show was held at the Clift Hotel's swanky Spanish Suite, and after the set friends, family, and fans hung out together. "Raphael was super friendly," says Vladimirskiy. "He's so charismatic and funny. He wasn't trying to get out of there quickly. He was chilling out. S.F. is his hometown."

8.Breaking Down Genre Walls

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Saadiq told the crowd that he disliked the "neo-soul" tag given to his sound. "He said, 'Don't call me that anymore,'" explains Vladimirskiy. "He said, 'I'm just Raphael Saadiq.' He's right. His music is unique -- and it's more than just one sound."

9.Saadiq Explores Roots of Music

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