Dwele

Dwele: Over

Neo-soul singer/songwriter/producer Dwele grew up on Detroit's west side, listening to soul music from Motown visionaries Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye as well as jazz on the radio. Born Andwele Gardner, he began writing songs at the age of ten, after his father was murdered outside his home.

Dwele spent a year studying music at Wayne State but then opted for an informal education, making music at his home while living in Dearborn and working for AAA. His demo tape, 1998's The Rize, made waves around the Motor City, and he spent time collaborating with Detroit hip-hop group Slum Village and Philadelphia rapper Bahamadia.

Signed to Virgin on the strength of his songwriting and performance skills, Dwele released Subject in mid-2003 and cemented his appeal with European audiences (he was a favorite on Gilles Peterson's influential Radio 1 program) with a tour that summer. His second album, Some Kinda..., followed in 2005 and reached the Top 10 of the R&B chart. A couple years later, he provided the hook on Kanye West's hit single "Flashing Lights." Released in 2008, Sketches of a Man (number seven R&B) and 2010's W.W.W. (featuring sociopolitical themes, a slight change of pace) found him on the Koch label. ~ John Bush, Rovi