When R&B star Kelly Price told me that her former Island Def Jam label mate Case was "one of the funniest people she knows," she definitely wasn't lying. I sat down to interview the R&B singer recently at the trendy Busboys & Poets Restaurant in downtown Washington, DC and the 'Happily Ever After' singer certainly showed that if he ever tires of crooning love songs, a place on NBC's 'Last Comic Standing' may not be farfetched. The New York City native, who now calls Atlanta home, is now back with a new CD, 'The Rose Experience,' his first full-length recording in nearly eight years. During our chat, Case openly talked about his hiatus from recording, how he shot himself in the neck and answered rumors that he dated Beyonce, Foxy Brown and Mary J. Blige. It has been eight years since your last CD. Why the extended break from recording? There was a lot of stuff going on. First of all, I moved to Atlanta to be closer to my kids. They were there and I was still living up in New York/New Jersey and that wasn't working for me so I moved. Then, I had a mishap with a gun and I shot myself in the throat by accident. I didn't know where it hit me so I looked and I saw the hole in my neck and I saw that it came out the back. Once I saw that, I was like, 'let me see if I can still sing' so that was the first thing I did. Once I saw I could sing, and then I smoked a cigarette. Seeing if I could sing was the fiCaserst thing I did. I was out of the hospital within four hours. For a while, my voice wasn't as strong because I hurt the muscles around it. I recorded the first song for this album about three weeks after that. It didn't take too long. How does an artist make money on a hiatus that long? Most artists' income comes from live shows and not record sales, so I'm wondering how you sustained your lifestyle. I was still doing shows. I never stopped doing shows. I did a tour during that time. I was writing for other artists and had a couple of features. I did the deal with Def Jam before I left them so I had that money and I got the new deal for the independent thing so I had to do what I could. Prior to this, all your other CDs were on Island Def What has the transition into independent land been like? It's been cool and hasn't been that bad so far. Being independent, I have the option of doing what I want. If I believe in a song and I put it out and if it's not working the way I want, I can still stay behind it and keep pushing it. On a major label, if there's a slight sign of trouble, I have to move on and that was a big problem for me. It's good because I'm sure it would be a much bigger transition had I been a new artist with just one album or one single under my belt. Why is the CD called 'The Rose Experience?' Blaxl Rose [as in the Black Axl Rose] is my alter-ego and he comes out a lot. On this album, I wanted the music itself to sound lighter and I wanted to have a lot of fun with it. With my experiences, I've gone a little deeper into the twists and turns of a relationship. This is the first dose of Blaxl Rose that you'll get from me. Is it frustrating for you now that most R&B artists are relegated to the Urban Adult Contemporary format at radio? Case It is what it is. It's nothing you can really do about it but keep doing what you do and make sure that people are aware of it. That is exactly what happens now, but that's what it is. It's like when you had to go to the back of the restaurant to get the food. If you were gonna eat, you had to go around back. You grew up a Jehovah's Witness. You left that religion to pursue music. Do you look back on your experiences growing up that way and laugh about it now? You have to laugh about it. It wasn't the worst thing in the world. It's just that as a kid, it was the worst thing in the world. I might as well have been a Nazi. One time we were coming out of the Kingdom Hall and I was with my mother. I saw one of the kids from my class and you know how you try and act like you don't see them and hope they don't notice you? Well he saw me and was like, 'are you still a thug?' This was in the 80's and thug wasn't a compliment. I could feel my mother looking at me and she was like, 'what is he talking about?' I was the bad kid in school. The worst was to knock on the door of somebody you know. The other worst is when it's a girl you like and you knock on her door and she answers. Now, I just kind of do my own thing. In a way, I think that experience soured me on organized religion to some extent. Let's tackle some rumors man. Back in the day there was buzz you dated Beyonce. Any truth to that? I didn't date Beyonce! She was 17 at the time. You recorded 'Touch Me, Tease Me' with Foxy Brown. They said you two dated too. Fact or fiction? Nah, me and Foxy were just cool. But you were involved with Mary J. Blige right? Me and Mary J. Blige did actually date. We lived together for awhile. A couple of people told me that Mary said I used to beat her up and another girl said it was K-Ci [of K-Ci & JoJo]. If anything, she was the one throwing s-t at me. I still got a scar! What's your status now? Are you married or single? Single and not married. You moved to Atlanta to be closer to your kids. How are you balaCasencing being back at work with your family life? It's hard to balance the family life with the work life, but when I'm in town, I have to spend as much time with the kids as I can and I call them all the time too. At the same time, I've had 7 years since I've been down there when I didn't have shows and things like that so they understand. I make sure that I speak with them all the time. Before I left this last time, my daughter came and spent the night with me. How old are your children? I have two kids. A 15 and a 9-year-old. I read you are venturing off into the acting arena. Tell about the television project you worked on. I shot a pilot for a show called 'ATL Homicide' and I play a Narcotics detective which is cool. It was fun and I think they're gonna be shopping it soon. I think they changed the name of it too because the 'ATL Homicide' thing wasn't going over too well with the suits. It was fun though.