It was a finger-numbing cold Monday in New York City. While everyone is sitting in front of their televisions watching the first black President be sworn into his second term of office, I was making my way to B.B. King’s Blues Club in Times Square hoping to get a few minutes to speak with the neo-soul singer Dwele.
It happened that I arrived early and slid into a booth as Dwele worked out some technical difficulties during his sound check for the show he would be doing later that night. After about twenty minutes or so, Dwele and his manager noticed I was bopping to a rough version of “Find A Way” and asked who I was. Once I introduced myself and what site I was affiliated with, his face lit up and he replied, “Yeah, that’s the place where some girl made me dress up in a dreadlocks wig and made me do some crazy stuff.” A mixture of amusement and slight shame overtook my face before I regrouped and began to talk to Dwele about his music that I had some life experiences to.
After about five minutes of pleasantries, Dwele led me to his dressing room outfitted with plush black leather couches where we discussed the inspiration behind his new album, whether his fans really use his music as a soundtrack for love or lust, and how social media helped him show the world who he really is as an artist and person.
TUD: Your new album is called “Greater Than One.” What was the inspiration behind making it?
D: This album I called it “Greater Than One,” the original title was “Greater Than One, Less Than Three” because it is primarily about the relationship between two people. I wanted to play off of the whole less than sign and the 3 which is the symbol for a heart online. But at the end of the day, we figured that it was too long of a title. I didn’t want to have to say all of that every time I was talking about it. So we left it as “Greater Than One” so that people could pull from what they wanted to. But as with every album, I tried to make music that everyone could relate to and most of the time that’s relationships. And I just try to make music that’s the soundtrack to your life.
What would you say is the difference between love and lust?
I think love can be fueled by lust sometimes. Love lasts longer than lust. Love can be for eternity, I guess lust can too, but people’s lust is only for the physical and the physical is only for the moment. After somebody passes, you don’t hear any one saying, “I lust that person.” You always say you love that person. I think love is more eternal.
Do you find your fans use your music as a soundtrack for the physical act of lust or for the eternal feelings of love?
I like to think it’s a little bit of both. I’d like to think I’m covering both ends of that spectrum. I have certain songs that cater more towards lustful activities. I believe the songs I made specifically for lust are used for that purpose and the ones I make about love are used for that purpose. But they can both be interchangeable.
You are a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. So when you’re creating music is it a singular experience or do you enjoy collaborating with other artists?
The collaboration thing was tough for me at the jump because up until I got signed, I did music for myself, by myself. When they signed me it was like, “Okay, we’re going to have you collaborate with this person and this person is going to write your songs and some other person is going to produce it.” It got to the point where I questioned why I was there because I’m in the business to do that. So that was rough, but after a while I learned how to enjoy the positives that come out if working with other people. But I am more comfortable by myself because that’s how I’ve always done it.
You’ve worked with many popular rappers, but remained largely unrecognized to their mainstream market. Has the ever weighed on you?
Every artist always wants a little more. So even if I had Kanye’s whole fan base, I would still want more.
So if you had Kanye’s fan base, you would want Jay-Z’s fan base?
Exactly. And in saying that, that’s human to always want more. In a way, never being satisfied always keeps you hungry and going on to do more. But in the same token, if I did have that fan base, would I be able to be myself? That’s something I had to think about. And I truly love where I am.
What is the biggest misconception you’ve heard about yourself?
When I first came into the business and before social media, people thought I was a sandals, linen, and dreadlocks type of dude. That is not the case! [laughs] I’m from Detroit, west side. That’s still me. I understand where they’re coming from, with the music. I mean I like to light an incense and stuff. I enjoy a hot cup of tea. Once people started seeing my social media accounts, they realized who I was.
How do you think your music reflects the growth of you as a man?
I speak from the perspective of somebody whose been through some things. I don’t know because people said that about me when I was younger too. [laughs] before I spoke from somebody who was pulling stories from other people’s situation. Now, I speak from my own experiences.
Make sure you pick up your copy of Dwele’s latest album “Greater Than One.” You can find it at all music retailers right now.
Watch TheUrbanDaily.com’s video interview with Dwele where he talks about working with Kanye West and more:
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