“If you only knew me through my music, you’d think that I was a quiet guy that wears sandals and linen,” Dwele says frankly. “That’s not me. I’m from Detroit, I like designer brands and I’ve got a crazy side.”As one of R&B’s smoothest singer-songwriter-producers, Dwele has crafted so many romantic ballads, from “Find A Way” to “I’m Cheatin’,” that it might be difficult to see the soulful tenor as anything other than a modest poet. But that’s the great thing about Andwele Gardner, his creativity opens a new world for himself and his listeners.“My songs wake me up. I’ll have a song in my head but in my dream, I hear it on the radio,” Dwele says of his creative process. “Then I wake up and realize there’s no radio playing, so I hurry to my studio and lay the song down.”
And so Dwele’s fifth album Greater Than One, out on August 28, was born. Aiming to make “bedroom music” along with emotive ballads this go-round, Dwele took some time since his fourth work 2010’s W.ants. W.orld. W.omen (W.W.W) to gain some international inspiration. What resulted was a singular, limited edition project and a precursor to Greater Than One which fans will have to see to hear. Drawing on the creative strides he made on W.ants. W.orld. W.omen (W.W.W), where he utilized live band recordings for the first time among other things, Dwele’s newest offering is a mixture of silky ballads and crispy uptempo jams.“One of the more forward songs is called ‘Obey,’ “ Dwele says of the string-driven track, which begins with an apology for possibly “going too far” and threatening to pull his lover’s hair “if it’s real.” “It’s about when you get into a relationship and you’re experiencing each other for the first time. You never really know how far to take it, this song is a guide for that.”
Elsewhere, the Motor City man unleashes his party side with the funky, electronic “Patrick Ronald,” a witty ode to everyone’s favorite tequila.
“‘Patrick Ronald’ is a song about going to the club, getting a couple of booths, ordering a few bottles of tequila and watching the night unfold,” he says of the nicknamed track. Beginning with a drunken rhyme over an acapella beat, “Patrick Ronald” rolls into a thick bass-drenched jam peppered with squashed synths and stabbing drum kicks.
“Going Leaving” delves into the heart of a breakup, as a man reminisces about losing what could’ve been his true love because he didn’t have the right answer to the eternal relationship question: Where is this going? “She wanted more but I wanted ready,” he sings over a rolling guitar lick, rising keys and sorrowful horns. On the first single, “What Profit,” Dwele’s familiar warm vocals come alive over a strolling guitar and easy two-step drums. “The hook says ‘What profits a man to gain the whole wide world and lose his girl? If I was your man, I’d do all that I can to keep you,’ “ he says. “It’s related to the bible verse that states ‘What profits a man to gain the world but lose his soul.’ ”The accompanying video, directed by fellow Detroit native Darren Brown hits major video channels soon.
“We shot ‘What Profit’ with Mike City, who co-wrote the song, along with Phife from A Tribe Called Quest, who has a remix verse,” Dwele says. “In the clip, I play a guy who’s got too much going on and stops paying attention to his girl.” Brushing off his lady friend for most of the video, Dwele’s character realizes that he’s about to lose his partner and does an about face. “When she looks like she’s through with me, I’m waiting for her with the car door open,” he says of the final sequence. “It’s the beginning of our couple time, I’m making up for the moments I’ve missed with her.”
But it wasn’t always so easy for Dwele to change his fate.
In 2000, Dwele joined Virgin Records and released his debut Subject in 2003, which held the hits “Find a Way” and “Subject.” Through 2005’s Some Kinda, featuring “Weekend Love” and “I Think I Love U,” he earned him even more fans and collaborators, including Boney James, Roy Ayers, Common and a gentleman from the neighboring city of Chicago. Joining Kanye West on both the breezy “Flashing Lights” and the eccentric “Power,” Dwele’s lush vocals brought gravity to each tracks’ arresting rhythms.
In 2008, Dwele’s label RT Music Group signed a distribution deal with eOne Music and released Sketches of a Man, boasting “A Few Reasons (Truth Part 2)” and the infamous “I’m Cheatin.” Now, gearing up to spread the word about “Greater Than One,” the Detroit native will hit the road making stops across the United States, where fans can grab his mini-album as well as “Greater Than One,” which hits shelves on August 28, 2012.