Inspired. That’s still the sentiment resonating with Andwele Gardner, a.k.a. Dwele, when he visits EBONY.com’s office. And he should be. After 12 years in the biz the neo-soul crooner is officially an industry veteran. The singer opens up to EBONY.com about his new album, Greater Than One (out August 28th), living in Detroit and actualizing his dream.
EBONY: Tell us about the new album.
Dwele: I rented out a spot in downtown Detroit and put all my equipment in it. I record the majority of my albums in Detroit because that’s home. This time around my music has more of any 80’s feel. It wasn’t something I did intentionally, but once I sat down and listened to four songs I said, ‘this is 80’s’. So it happened naturally.
EBONY: It’s great that you still work in your hometown Detroit. Why is that important?
Dwele: There are a lot of misconceptions about the city. It is turning around, but it takes time. You can see now there are a lot of new businesses and there’s more tourism in the area— more movies are even being filmed there. I try to use Detroit in all of my videos.
EBONY: What’s different about this project?
Dwele: I show a more sensual side in some songs, think “50 Shades of Grey”. I was nervous because I’ve never really shown that side of me before in music, but the response was good. Every album I like to include a song that you can lower the shades and put on repeat.
EBONY: You’ve been in the business for more than a decade. What’s the biggest change?
Dwele: I feel like the industry is set up more for the independent artist now, where before being on a major was the thing to do. I am now on E1; I call it a major independent. I feel like I have more creative control over my work, and that means a lot to me.
EBONY: Work obviously keeps you busy, but what about your dating life?
Dwele: I love to date, of course— I have to draw inspiration from somewhere. I’ve been dating my album.
EBONY: What kind of ladies do you like?
Dwele: My ideal woman would be someone who’s natural. I like a woman who doesn’t have the 15-feet eyelashes and the super weave down to her ankles. I want a woman that can go in the shower and come back out, and I know who she is.
EBONY: And where does personality fit in?
Dwele: I like a girl with a good sense of humor, spontaneity, and someone who is witty… and I’m a little corny with my jokes so she has to be willing to laugh at them. I also like a woman who makes me want to be a better person. In some relationships I don’t really feel challenged, everyone is comfortable but then some women make you look at yourself and think about what you could do better. I like that. I like to be challenged.
EBONY: You’re also known for your style. What’s’ your biggest tip?
Dwele: Every outfit should have one star piece; it might be shoes or a tie. I like labels, but it should subtle for example, if I wear Gucci shirt it won’t scream Gucci.
EBONY: Should we expect a fashion line or are you working on other business ventures?
Dwele: I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I have a few ideas for apps. And I’m getting into acting. I’m going to Los Angeles to take classes in a few months.