He first made some of your ears buzz when you saw him rockin’ on the SLUM VILLAGE classic, Tainted.
He caught some of your eyes as you watched and wondered who he was when you saw and heard him on a series of McCafe commercials …
His name is DWELE … but I know that you already knew that. How did I know? Because you looked at the title of this post. So … i’m not gonna carry on because this is my interview with him … enjoy.
Q: I’m sure that you are tired of the question about your musical influences. And since you’ve always been a stylish dude … and since this is for the ladies, lets focus on your style really quick. Name 4-7 of the people/celebrities that you saw as beautiful and/or stylish growing up?
Michael Jackson. Like every other kid, I wanted the jacket and curl…Parents got me the jacket with the zippers, but said that jheri wasn’t happenin’. Stevie Wonder always had the best glasses. I always loved that 50’s classic look too, jeans, white tee and leather jacket. To me, that’s always a good look and never gets outdated. In the late 80’s early 90’s, I used layaway to the fullest and tried to get every silk/rayon shirt/jacket I could find thanks to Will Smith the Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. The neo soul look in the mid 90’s to me was the “hip hop style” taking it to the next level and growing up. D’angelo, Maxwell, Bilal, Musiq … I was on that heavy. And thanks to Badu, I wanted my girl to wear a head wrap lol.
Q: Style in Detroit is a little different. I’ve heard it said that it’s a cultural thing, but it’s still very much from the streets. How would you describe it?
Classic Detroit style to me is 3 piece suits, gator boots and Dobbs. But, there are so many different styles of dress in the Motor. A few staples now are Cartier glasses, Timberland boots and fur-hood leathers. The Notorious Old English D hat will be around forever! You can always tell a Detroit native, doesn’t matter what city you’re in.
Q: Can you explain how Detroit stays making up lingo such as flapjacks, swank and my new favorite, PATrick RONald (or is it just you and your crew)?!?!
Haha! That’s probably just my crew. PATrick RONald happened one day in summer, we were out on bikes and stopped at an outdoor bar. My friend ordered a round of beers and I asked for a round of Patrón. Somebody responded, “yea, pat ron…” Then I responded, “PATRICK RONALD PLEASE!” Everybody started laughin and said you should make that a song … Thus was born PATrick RONald.
Q: As times changed, we watched your sense of fashion change. And your sound has matured too. What kinds of things inspire those changes (musically & style wise)?
I always operate off of what I feel at the time. Musically, it’s about what I’m surrounded by, what I’m feeling mixed with what I do or what’s “my sound.” Lyrically, it’s the situations I’m living, as well as situations I see my people going through. Style wise, it’s about comfort. Seven years ago, I needed shell-toe Addidas and braids to feel comfortable on stage or in front of a camera. Now I’m more about the tailored suits.
Q: Your hair has become somewhat of a trademark for yours. What do you think your hair said or says about you?
I think my hair represents my raw side. I like rockin’ Gucci loafers with a suit and line up, then throwing the whole thing off with untamed hair. I think there are certain elements in my music that are clean … and then certain elements that are raw or natural at the same time as well.
Q: What inspired you to let go of the cornrows and go with the bush?
I did cornrows forEVER! I was just ready for a change and that was the next progression for me. Who knows what’s next.
Q: What products do you use and how often do you get your hair attended to?
I try to restart my wildness every month. Wash it, straighten it, braid it, then take it apart and let it work. I like to use Oliivi extra virgin olive oil leave-in conditioner.
Q: When you are out on the road, do you do anything special to care for your hair?
I try to get everything done hair wise before I leave. One less thing to worry about. After that, I let the pillow do the work.
Q: Did you grow up around women that had perms or natural hair styles? How did that influence your ideas of beauty?
I grew up mostly around women with perms, that’s pretty much all I knew. I didn’t really start to recognize natural hair on women (afros, dreadlocks) until college, and I loved it … it was different.
Q: I have to ask … Are you single or do you have a girlfriend/wife/special friend?
I have a special friend
Q: If you were at the store, walking down the beauty aisle, would you know what to pick up for your lady friends hair? If so, what does she use? If not, what do you guess she would get?
I have No.I.Dea. lol
Q: Do you keep up with a ladies hair cycle? Do you know how often she washes her hair? Conditions? Colors? Deep conditions? Etc.?
I’ll ask. haha
Q: Do you have any kids? If so do you do their hair? Do you think that you could do a little girls hair!?!
I used to cut my little brother’s hair, that was forever ago. I occasionally line myself up. It’s usually when I’m overseas or in a city where I don’t have a regular barber … so I assume I still “got it.” I wouldn’t know what to do with a little girl’s hair. If I had to, I could probably braid it. I wouldn’t attempt anything having to do with heat.
Q: If you have a daughter, would you feel prepared to do her hair? Why or why not?
At this point, I would not feel prepared. But I am a fast learner, I’m sure I could become a one-head semi professional rather quickly.
Q: Have you ever been involved with a sister that had to wear “headgear” to bed? What kind? How did/do you deal with that and what’s your preference … bonnet, scarf, do rag, hat!?!
Of course! And I’ve grown to love the wrap and scarf….I don’t know if that’s weird or not.
Q: You’ve gone from being a “Tainted” Player from the D known for flippin’ those “Flapjacks” to Mr. Romantic asking, “What You Gotta Do.” What should people expect from your new album, “GREATER THAN ONE?”
Haha! A little of both. I still write music inspired from my “Tainted” days as well as the present. That’s the beauty of it. If you’ve lived it once, as long as you can remember it, you can always draw from it. The album has something on there for everybody. Definitely can be the soundtrack for your life.
Q: You are part of a small fraternity. Do you feel an extra responsibility to maintain the legacy of being a crooner?
I feel responsibility to be myself. I try to stay true to myself with every album.
Q: Speaking of crooners, I know there are a bunch of sisters that go CRAZY when they look at your track listing and see that you and Raheem Devaughn have collaborated again on a record. Can you talk about it?
I featured him on the last album with a song called Dim the Lights. That’s all the women talked about on the net, so I knew I had to make it happen again. As soon as I finished the music for the song, What You Gotta Do, I knew he had to be on it.
Q: You’ve also have some other special collaborations and songs are on this album. Can you talk about them a little too?
I really wanted to put the spotlight on Detroit artists with this album, so I featured J Tait, L’Renee and Black Milk on my song, Must Be. It’s a dedication song to the city. I also featured Monica Blaire on PATrick RONald and Swank.
Q: You are seen as a romantic cat. Is that a good assessment? Can you share your top 3 dating tips? And what are the 3 worst dating mistakes dudes make?
Three tips? 1. Keep it comfortable. Don’t try to do the most on the first date. If the connection is there, you’ll have time for that later. 2. Stay off of your phone! 3. Make her laugh. The three worst dating mistakes would be NOT doing everything I just said.
Q: Could you share a quirky fact about your self or a guilty pleasure?
I am a pool shark. Don’t challenge me to a game unless you’ve won tournaments.
Q: In what area of your life has your fame had the most impact?
I don’t really view myself as having achieved “Fame.” I view it as just having a greater opportunity to reach people with music. So, the most impact would just be when someone tells me that my music made a difference or created an experience for them in some way.
Q: I know that you are going on tour this fall. For those readers that haven’t had the chance to see you live, can you give them a brief sneak peek into what they’ll experience at a Dwele show?
I try to do the new songs as well as the old. I know when I go to a concert, I want to hear my favorites, so I try to do that. And, no matter what size the crowd, I always try to make it feel intimate.
Q: We’ve got readers worldwide. I hear that there’s talk of a trip to South Africa. Have you been before? Are there other places in the world that you look forward to performing?
I’ve been to Johannesburg before. I’ll be experiencing a different part of Africa this time, I’m excited. I would love to perform in Brazil and I still haven’t been to Greece … Bucket list.
Q: As a lover of music, I couldn’t do an interview with you and not ask for you to share whatever you want about the late great J-Dilla … if you would share anything we’d be honored!
Dilla was and still is an inspiration to myself, Detroit and the industry. To see him work a MPC was like watching magic. He always had the answer if I had a question about sampling and I feel blessed to have known him on the level that I did. He left us with great music and great memories.
Q: On a personal note … Do you have a favorite song, by you or someone else, that you like to sing at weddings?
I’ve only performed at three weddings in my life. The first, I played Stevie Wonder’s Ribbon in the Sky. Second wedding, a friend requested that I play one of my unreleased songs while she walked down the aisle. It was a while ago and I can’t remember the name of the song. The most recent was my godsister’s wedding where I performed Kick Out of You.
Q: Thank you for your time and energy! Is there anything that I didn’t talk about that you’d like to share?
I think we covered everything. Follow me on twitter and instagram @therealdwele and @dwelefans for updates on my tour schedule. Facebook: Dwele and www.youtube.com/dwele24 for b side videos.
And that’s all folks ...
If you don’t have the album yet … GET IT … you’ll enjoy it!
Here’s a little re-mix of the lead single, WHAT PROFIT, from Dwele featuring the 5 foot freak, Phife Diggy from A Tribe Called Quest.
Support good people that make good music!