Dwele: Marrying R&B, Jazz and Hip Hop

Tuesday, 04 January 2011 09:01 Written by  Iya Bakare

What happens when you blend R&B, jazz and hip hop to create one sound? One word: Dwele. Born Andwele Gardner, the Detroit native uses his old-school roots to create masterpieces ladies swoon over and gentlemen can jam to.

dwele“I try to stay current with music by staying true to my sound all the time,” said Dwele. “I find myself trying to take elements of what’s popular in music right now, and I infuse it into my sound so that people who otherwise wouldn’t listen to soul music might listen to it because of one element they’re familiar with. I’m trying to broaden my range and touch everyone with my music.”

The neo-soul hip hop artist caught his break in the mainstream music industry back in 1998 after the recording of his demo, The Rize, reached London and word traveled back to Detroit about his music. Fellow musicians of the hip hop group Slum Village invited Dwele to collaborate with them. In 2002, Dwele sang the hook for Slum Village’s “Tainted” on their Trinity (Past, Present and Future) album. Shortly after, he worked with other artists and was signed to Virgin Records as a solo artist.

Dwele admits he originally made his demo for friends and family to listen to and didn’t realize it would catch national or international attention.

“The underground buzz is really what made it happen for me,” he adds. dw2

To develop his sound, Dwele says his music is inspired by everything around him––from the weather to experiences from his life and those close to him. Among his surroundings, the singer admits the music of others influence his unique sound. Dwele says songs like “Find a Way” and “What’s Not to Love,” one of the singles from his latest CD, are feel good summer joints.

“Old-school music is my favorite. The 70s and 80s were the best times in music to me,” said Dwele. “No music is really taboo to me because I enjoy all of it.”

Although he loves old-school music, Dwele says you can find a variety of music on his iPod from artists such as Erykah Badu, Bilal, Eric Roberson, Gucci Mane and Lil’ Wayne to name a few.

The soul artist released his fourth solo project, W.W.W. (W.ants W.orld W.omen), in June. As Dwele explained, the “Wants” part explores where he desires to travel musically and creatively. “World” represents the current social consciousness and awareness of events in today’s society. The “Women” section is the slow jam/lovemaking aspect of the album.

Dwele thanks his fans for their support over the last 10 years. Within that decade, technology changed the face of music. Self-made artists can take advantage of the Internet to brand and market themselves. In the midst of his successful career, Dwele remains humble and recalls life as an aspiring artist in Detroit.

“I remember I couldn’t wait to go home from work and finish the song I started on the day before,” he said. “As an artist, it’s important to stay diligent in your path. Do it because you have to do it and not necessarily for the money.”

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

She can be contacted at Iya@glossmagazineonline.com
Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare

Website: www.iyabakare.com