If you’re a soul music lover then you’ve heard of Dwele, the Detroit native with the smooth stage presence and matching vocals. His actual first name—Andwele—roughly translates from Swahili to “God brought me.”
Where, you might ask? He says to sing, write and produce music.
“I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do right now,” said Dwele last Friday night before his guest performance at the Budweiser Opening Act competition in Washington, D.C. “It feels right when they tell me stories about what a song might’ve done to them. When somebody walks up to me and says ‘this is my child. You birthed it. You made it happen. It was a good song.’ That makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. “
“Five years from now I might not be singing anymore,” he added. “I might be producing. I might be doing photography or something random. But for right now it’s really about the music. I’m enjoying it.”
Dwele’s music combines old school R&B with a hip hop flare, live instrumentation with catchy hooks and captivating melodies. His last project, “W.ants W.orld W.omen” is a thematic album that speaks on desires, revolution and romance.
The track “How Do I Deal” featuring Slum Village tells the tale of man trying to cope with the demands of life—supporting a family, hitting a career low, surviving in a troubling economy. While this song comes from a personal place, Dwele says it isn’t autobiographical.
“When I wrote that song I spoke from the perspective of the black man right now. It wasn’t necessarily my story. I don’t have a kid on the way,” the Detroit native said with a laugh. “But I see a lot of people dealing with that, so I wrote from that perspective.”
Once signed to Virgin Records, the now independent artist knows firsthand about the ups and downs of a career in music.
“As far as dealing with the highs and lows in music, I’ve been blessed enough that I haven’t experienced a real low yet,” said the producer. “I think everything has been really steady. I wouldn’t say that I’m the most popular singer, but I definitely feel that my music-- as far as touring and my management as perceived by the people around me-- is at a steady pace, so I’m surviving.”
Oh, he’s surviving alright. In addition to Slum Village (“Tainted Love”), Dwele has loaned his voice to other hip hoppers, including Common (“The People”) and Kanye West (“Flashing Lights” and “Power”).
“I definitely plan on working with them again,” he said. “I guess the most recent collaboration was with Big Sean on the song ‘Celebrity.’ As far as my next album, it’s kind of early to speak on collabs.”
Working with Mr. West has been a journey.
“The first time we worked together was on the remix to ‘Hold On’ on the 'Subject' album. We worked again via Slum Village and then again via Common and then we worked on ‘Flashing Lights;’ ‘Flashing Lights’ was cool. That was the joint where I just kinda went into the studio in New York one day and we kinda connected real quick. I laid it down, I flew out.
“The last song ‘Power’ we got a chance to kick it in Hawaii a few days, shot basketball , kinda kick it, feel each other out a little bit,” he continued. “The way we’ve been working is like he knows what he wants to hear. He has the music. He says ‘I want you to say this like this,’ so I kinda do that and I add what I wanna add there. Sometimes it stays, sometimes it don’t. But he really has the vision for all of it. The way he said it was ‘I want you to do this. I need your instrument.’ So that’s pretty much how we’ve been working.”
Dwele has a few more free performances via the Budweiser Opening Acts competition. Click here for tour dates.
This interview was granted by Gypsy Soul and Soulcial Grind PR.