Multitalented singer/songwriter/musician Dwele hails from Detroit, which certainly has had its share of musical talents. He and his little brother got into music and from there, he honed his skills until he developed into the artist he is today.
After six studio albums including his last Greater Than One which was released in 2012, he took a break and is planning a release for spring of next year. But he says he didn’t start out as an R&B singer.
“When I started doing music I was rapping,” Dwele told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “Back in the day, I was baldheaded so my rap name was Bald Youngsta.”
Since those beginnings, Dwele has occupied the space between alternative R&B, neo-soul and contemporary R&B. His music hasn’t yielded huge hits, but he’s remained in the game due to his steady hand with soulful love ballads. He says he was inspired by the Detroit-based legends that came before him.
“I listened to a little bit of everything. Of course a lot of the Motown greats. My parents kept that playing in the house. Donny Hathaway, Roy Ayers a lot of jazz – Freddie Hubbard, Roy Ayers, John Coltrane, I listened to a lot of that.”
As far as both Dwele and Detroit making a comeback, well, Dwele says they’ve been here for years.
“I love my city,” he says. “I try to be the positive ambassador for the city. When I travel, people say ‘Oh, you’re from Detroit, I feel sorry for you.’ I don’t understand that at all. It’s just that now a lot of out-of-towners are coming here and finding out it’s not that bad.”
Although Dwele is happy to see development and companies like Quicken Loans bring vitality to downtown Detroit, he also says he hopes longtime residents are able to capitalize on the city’s boom.
“I’d like to see some original Detroiters be a part of that,” he says.