A master's level jazz graduate from the University of Northern Colorado, Canadian born saxophonist Darren Rahn at his age has already achieved more than most musicians dream possible over the course of a lifetime. As one of the smooth jazz genre's hottest producers, Darren has been a dominant force on the Billboard and Radio and Records (R&R) charts over the past few years. In 2008 he had three consecutive #1 productions on the coveted Billboard/R&R smooth jazz chart, holding the #1 position with three different artists (Dave Koz, Eric Darius, & Tim Bowman) for 14 consecutive weeks with as many as four songs in the top 10 at the same time. With his own recent #1 smash hit "Talk of the Town", Rahn continues to display his relevance as a contemporary saxophonist and producer. This song is the title track from his most recent album, which features the industry's top session players and includes thoughtful collaborations with Bob James, Jeff Lorber, Wayman Tisdale, Tim Bowman and others.
Rahn began working behind the scenes in the mid-90s producing and programming tracks for other artists. It was his work with Wayman Tisdale in 2004 on the #1 single, "Ain't No Stopping Us Now," that would bring Rahn to the forefront of the music industry.
"Until my work with Wayman, I remained pretty much behind the scenes," said Rahn. Rahn continued to work in the studio with Tisdale and an assortment of other smooth jazz heavy hitters. These relationships would prove pivotal in the launching of his solo career and enabled him to quickly move from behind the console to the stage. By 2006, Rahn co-headlined in Catalina along-side Brian Culbertson and has toured with Tim Bowman, played with leading acts like Wayman Tisdale, Eric Darius, Kim Waters and Greg Karukus. In 2007, Rahn signed with nuGroove Records and released his debut CD, Once in a Lifetime.
Integrating his solo career with his producer side has been a critical component in Rahn's career. "I try my best to keep it balanced. When I'm in the studio, I usually let the "producer" take the lead. I'm almost always in producer mode... making sure what is being played serves the song best," said Rahn.
However, Rahn is quick to admit that playing the saxophone remains his first love. "I was an artist before I was a producer. The producer thing just kind of happened," said Rahn. "Long before I was doing what I do now, I was playing the saxophone."
Rahn believes that in order to be a successful performer, you must not only be original in your creative process but you must also pay close attention to the connection with the listening audience. "Music is not just for me. If a song was just for me, then I really don't see the point of recording it on an album. The reason for my playing is to reach out and share with people. I want to take what is in my heart and really connect with the audience," said Rahn. "I hope my music brings people happiness and is a positive force. I'm not the kind of guy that wants to sit around and do dark music. I want to do music that touches people and gives them a lift," he said.
In an industry that is often more interested in the bottom line than artistic merit, Rahn has managed to remain strong in his desire to carve out his unique sound. Rahn has shown that it is possible to find a happy medium between commercialism and creativity. "Every time I write or produce, I'm trying to break at least a little bit of new ground," said Rahn. "I know what's worked in the past and what people have enjoyed but I don't want to get stuck there," he said.
Rahn recently had another Billboard Top Five hit with the song "What Cha Gonna Do For Me" featuring the one-of-a-kind lead bass of Wayman Tisdale. Rahn and Tisdale are well known for their work together on a string of #1 and top 10 hits over the past several years. "This song was one of our favorite collaborations ever," says Rahn, "and it is a tribute to the amazing musician and person that Wayman was. I miss him so very much, but I'm grateful we had the chance to do this song together - a real gift! I hope it will contribute to his incredible legacy and that people will remember just how unbelievable he truly was." His current single "Tale Of Two Cities" is already in the Billboard top 20 and moving up! For more information visit www.darrenrahn.com