Possessing a cool, conversational tenor, an ability to create lush, aquatic grooves and narrative lyrics that flow with the cadence of a rapper's, Detroit's Andwele Gardner has proven himself as a consistent hit maker since selling self-mastered copies of Rize from the trunk of his car back in 1998. Now, over a decade later, the 32-year-old Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist plans to cement his reputation as a legacy-building soul provider and storyteller with his fourth major-label release, W.ants, W.orld, W.omen (W.W.W)
Dwele started piano lessons at the age of six and later added bass, guitar and trumpet to his repertoire. His budding musicality served as a healing balm just a few years later when, tragically, his father was murdered just outside his family's West Detroit home. Although the exploding phenomenon of hip-hop initially steered him into dropping rhymes, Dwele's lifelong love of soul and jazz beckoned, so it was those influences that made their way into his demo, Rize.
An instant local smash, all of his on-hand copies immediately sold out, but not before catching the attention of the hometown hip-hop group, Slum Village, and their producer, James Yancey, also known as the innovative and much-lauded track master, J. Dilla. His smooth-as-silk rendering of their hook on "Tainted" opened other opportunities for the performer, such as collaborations with the hip-hop-soul trio, Lucy Pearl, female rapper Bahamadia and London's New Sector Movement. A deal with Virgin Records materialized in 2000 and the label was home for his critically-acclaimed debut and sophomore CDs, 2003's Subject and 2005's Some Kinda.
By 2008, Dwele had performed with the likes of Boney James, Roy Ayers, Common and Kanye West, reaching another career milestone when his label RT Music Group signed a distribution deal with KOCH Records (now known as E1 Music) to continue his string of hit albums with Sketches of a Man.
Whether the end result is a buttery slow jam or a buoyant party groove, Dwele, who's also become a DJ in the last couple of years and now holds the distinction of becoming the premiere face and voice behind the launch of McDonald's new product line, McCafe, wants to deliver it all. "I try to wear all kinds of hats, so to speak. I love setting moods for every occasion and I want to be the soundtrack for people's lives. Not just the bedroom soundtrack, I want to make you dance too," he chuckles.