Not familiar with him?
Back in 2003, the neo-soul music genre was in a state of flux. Maxwell and D'Angelo had disappeared, and urban music lovers seemed hungry for a new sound. Stepping forward at exactly the right time, Detroit-based singer Dwele released a single, "Find a Way," that quickly took over R&B radio stations across the country — partly because the romantic ballad about lovers trying to rekindle a romance was fresh, street, and soulful without any of the headwrap boho qualities that a lot of listeners were growing tired of.
Since then, Dwele, born Andwele Gardner, has seen his career take off. There have been varied highs and lows, but he's kept his artistry intact along the way. Most recently, he sang the hook on Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" and has become the go-to singer for a slew of artists like Common and Slum Village.
He's got a new album, Sketches of a Man, dropping next week, and his first single off that disc, "I'm Cheating," seems poised to be the R&B jam of the summer. The video is already in rotation on VH1 Video Soul, which is a home base for artists of his caliber. New Times caught up with Dwele as he got ready to kick off his summer tour here in South Florida to chop it up with the singer.
New Times: It's been about three years since your last album, Some Kinda. What's that time been like for you?
Dwele: A lot of touring, traveling the world, just living life as an artist, really. Trying to mature. I'm a lot more comfortable with it all now, but I'm still learning.
What's different about this new album sonically from the last one?
Well, Some Kinda was more of a jazz-driven album. I think [the debut album] Subject was more soulful. This album is combining all of that — the soul, the jazzy sound, but it's got more hip-hop beats.
Are you looking forward to kicking off your tour in Miami?
Man, who doesn't look forward to coming to Miami? It's gonna be real nice. I think I'm gonna come a day early just so I can enjoy it and chill.