Dwele, one of today's most talented R&B singers, takes us along for the ride as he shares the lessons he learned throughout his rise to success and reflects on the road he's traveled.
In this conversation, Dwele and I chat about:
- How he got started in music
- Why he dropped out of college after two semesters (and why he kinda regrets it)
- Why working a full-time job wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be for Dwele
- How he hustled making his demo at night while working full time
- Why making music wasn't to get a record deal (and the reason he made music)
- and lots more!!!
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More About Dwele
Dwele,a Detroit native, has released four albums, Subject, Some Kinda, Sketches of a Man, and Wants.World.Women.
Torrey McGraw: Hey, what's up party people? Welcome to another edition of Grind & Thrive. I'm Torrey McGraw, your host. You know what we do here, right? This is the place you come to hear trendsetters, tastemakers, entrepreneurs, and just big people doing big things. They come here to share their stories, the lessons behind their journey so you can learn from them, come back and tell your own story.
Today, I'm serious, today, big time show with a big time guest. I'm talking to my man Dwele. Dwele, if you don't know for like the three or four of you who may not have heard Dwele, a very talented singer, songwriter based out of Detroit, four albums in the bag. Let's see. We got the first album Subject. Then we have Some Kinda…, Sketches of a Man, and then W.ants W.orld W.omen, which dropped last year. So I'm so excited to have my man Dwele G. on Grind & Thrive.
Dwele, welcome. How are you, man?
Dwele: I'm good, man, doing good.
Torrey McGraw: We talked before we pressed record about all the stuff I kind of want to talk about, and like I said, the goal of our conversation is really to share your story so that the peeps can listen to it, go out, pursue their passions, and come back and inspire other people. So how does that sound?
Dwele: That's cool. Let's do it.
Torrey McGraw: So you're based out of Detroit. You grew up in Detroit, born in Detroit. I read where you started this music thing, you started taking piano lessons like at a really, really young age like six years old or so. Is that right?
Dwele: Yeah, I started really young with piano. It was more of a classical thing. I took it up until I got to high school and then I stopped and started picking up pretty much on my own, to start learning my own chords, things and that such. But I also took trumpet around the same time. I started around 4th grade and I took that up through high school.
Torrey McGraw: So like with the piano lessons, is that something that your parents wanted you to do? And why did they want you to take piano lessons versus let you go out and do whatever?
Dwele: Actually, piano was something I wanted to do.
Torrey McGraw: Okay.
Dwele: I was always in like into trying – I was into a lot of different things when I was younger but I think they noticed that I really had a passion for musical instruments and a piano was available. You know what I'm saying? So they pushed me to learn the piano and I just kind of took it from there.
Torrey McGraw: Okay, okay. So you start to develop this passion for music. You start to play the piano; you mess with the trumpet. Is there any other instruments you were messing around with at that time?
Dwele: At that time I think I had like a little toy harmonica. You know what I'm saying? I started making songs on that and they were like, "Yeah, you got to do something. We got to get him something."
Torrey McGraw: You had Stevie Wonder on.
Dwele: Yeah. I wasn't that with it though, but yeah. With that, my sister had a saxophone so every night I went blowing my own wild piece. We're messing with around her saxophone a little bit and trying a few things out. But for the most part, trumpet and piano was like my primary instruments.
Torrey McGraw: And so when you're starting to learn these instruments, you said – I can't remember which instrument you mentioned but you started to play your own chords versus I guess maybe what you were taught during lessons and stuff. What were you getting out of the music? Was it like "Man, I really like this creativity that I can make these different sounds that I have in my head and making come out to the instruments," or what were you getting out of playing the instruments?
Dwele: I think before I really got into creating my own music, I think what I would get out of music. I used to love the fact, even more so in the band with the trumpet, I used to love the fact that I can be part of a beautiful sound. Like even when I got to high school, I played first chair a lot but I had more fun playing a second or third chair because that was the harmony and that was the meat of the music. That's what made it full. That was the fullness. It was the beautiful thing out of the music and I enjoyed that more. I think that's really what I got out of playing music was finding those little nooks and crannies musically and I used to enjoy that.
Torrey McGraw: That's interesting because I play clarinet like in middle school and high school and stuff, but I'm proud to say I was first chair. I was representing. And for me like being first chair was like "I'm the best, I'm the man so you all follow my lead." It is interesting to hear you because I've never thought of it the other way that second or third chair you start to build that harmony and really reinforce the music.
Dwele: Yeah, I did first chair a few times and it wasn't fun to me. You know what I'm saying? To me it was lacking color. I more enjoy color especially like when it comes to concert band or jazz band. It was more about second or third chair to me.
Torrey McGraw: Okay. And so we start this music; we're doing our thing; we're getting the creativity, the harmony. You graduate high school. You go to Wayne State University, which I think is a local school there in the Michigan area, right?
Torrey McGraw: Okay, so what were you going to do at Wayne State?
Dwele: Wayne State University, I pretty much just took electives and I took Music Theory. I did Music Theory for I want to say maybe two semesters, and it just took way too long, you know. I mean we started from square one, and I think after like two, three months of all these musical notes on paper and on the chalkboard, the teacher finally said, "Okay. Now I want you guys to make a song." And I'm like, "Finally!" And then they say, "Using C, D and E." And I said, "Come on, man. I can't do this." You know what I'm saying? I gave up. I gave up. I quit.
I think to me, it kind of made it less of a feel and more of… It made it too structured. You know what I'm saying? And I didn't really want my music to have structure. I wanted to keep the feeling. You know what I'm saying?
Hindsight, I kind of wish I would have gotten the book knowledge behind it, but in the same, I don't know if that would have changed who I am right now.
Torrey McGraw: If that's what you say, why do you say that? That's interesting because we see you today without that book knowledge has very creative, awesome music. So what do you think would enhance what you're doing now? Or did it take longer to learn something past this point?
Dwele: I think the book knowledge behind it comes into play a lot when it comes time to say improv as far as jazz goes — as far as jazz, you know. A lot of people do it off of free style, off of feel. But the truly, truly, super, super gifted people out there have been doing this since Day 1. You know what I'm saying?
But I really think that you have to know scales and what scale to hop to next, and I think it was working out today. It would have probably taken me like three, four years to get there based off a Hollywood movie. You know what I'm saying? But I think it's good to have that knowledge. I think it will be good to know why it works the way it works instead of just doing it and saying, "Okay, that works." You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: Okay. That's interesting. So there's a lot of conversation — this is just broadening the topic for a minute — there's a lot of conversation from people who go to college and then stop or people who go to college and get education and get a degree. And this question is, well, at this point in time, is a college degree, is a college education relevant?
I mean we can go and do anything we want. We can open up our laptops and create music and mix music or just create businesses based off of just the idea that we have in our head outside of that "piece of paper" that we get after four years. So even though you didn't finish, there's still some relevant lesson that you took out of those couple of semesters.
Dwele: Definitely, definitely. You know what I'm saying? If I had to do it over — well, I mean, it isn't over. I could always go back.
Torrey McGraw: You can still go back.
Dwele: But yeah, I think it will be good to get the book knowledge behind it. You never know when it will come in handy. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: Yeah, yeah.
Dwele: I will just say this. I'd just say this. Before you go and get your book knowledge, make sure you know your style. Solidify your style in who you are musically first, and then go in and get the knowledge and apply it. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: That's cool, that's cool. So this whole time, we knew that we wanted to pursue music full time as a career?
Dwele: No, not at all. I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career. Music to me was really more so just a release. It was something that I just love to do. Like I'd go to school; I couldn't wait to get home so I could finish the song that I was working on the night before. Or I go play in the baseball league, Barney McCosky, and like I must hurry up and get through this game so I can get back and finish my joint that I was working on.
So it was just something, that idea for me. It kind of freed me. It was my way of getting things off my chest. After a while, like the older I got, if I couldn't find the song that I was really feeling at that time, I just make my own song and bang that in the car. I know that's kind of crazy now like thinking about it, but I'll probably get laughed at if I was playing them loud in the car. But I used to do that back in the day. I make my music to ride to. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: Okay. So we decide after a couple of semesters that Wayne State, we just weren't feeling it. So what did we do afterwards?
Dwele: After Wayne State, I started working, Papa Romano's. I got my first job at Papa Romano's. I did that for a while.
Torrey McGraw: Pizza place!
Torrey McGraw: Yeah.
Dwele: Yeah, pizza place, pizza chain in Detroit. I did that for a while. I started off as a driver. I ended up as a manager.
After that, I left and went to AAA. I started off in the mail room for a couple of years. And then I went to being a travel agent. Travel agent, is that the proper word?
Torrey McGraw: Yeah, that's right. So you're helping people book trips and coordinate vacations and stuff?
Dwele: Yeah, yeah, doing trip tickets and all of that.
Torrey McGraw: Yeah.
Dwele: I was over the phone and had a headset on and all that good stuff. You know what I'm saying? With a corporate colored tie.
Torrey McGraw: Yeah, yeah. So just knowing the creative Dwele that I know from your music, how painful is it going through these jobs, working shifts, structured tasks, and working in that sort of thing? How tough was that? Or was it just "I just got to pay the bills; it is what it is?"
Dwele: Yeah, it wasn't tough. I mean back then I didn't really have too many bills outside of a cell bill, a car, and that was brand new once I got to AAA. So I mean it wasn't rough for me. You know what I'm saying? It's not like I didn't have any time to do what I wanted to do musically. So I mean it was just something to do.
I mean I really kind of miss it. I don't want to go back. Don't get me wrong but I miss the camaraderie of being in the office — waking up at a certain time, getting there and meshing with all the different personalities every day. You know what I'm saying? It was entertainment for me. That gave me something to write about. You know what I'm saying?
So yeah. I mean it was cool. It was a lot of fun. I got my music done on the side and I did that as well. So, yeah, it wasn't hard at all.
Torrey McGraw: So you're doing your music on the side. The date or the year I have is '98 or 1999 where you are working on this demo "Rize".
Torrey McGraw: So you were working full time in the day time and you come home at night and then you're working on this demo?
Torrey McGraw: So what's the purpose of this demo? I mean I guess you still had just bigger musical aspirations. So was the process of working on the music at night purposely to get a music deal and catch a certain person's ear with your style?
Dwele: Not at all. I think really what happened was — I mean I always make songs. I used to come in to work and I'd be like, "I just made this new song. Check it out." I put your headphones on somebody and they'd be like, "Yeah, Nice! Okay, okay." I was doing more rap back then. I was more on rhyming. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: Okay.
Dwele: I really did all of that. I rhymed. I'm singing all the songs. It was more so about the production. I used to like making the music and then putting something over it, whether it was rhyme, production, or instrument. You know what I'm saying?
But after a while, people were like, "Why don't you put something out?" You know what I'm saying? "Let people hear your music." And then I was like, "Yeah, I guess so." You know what I'm saying? So '98 I finally decided to do it, and it was less me putting like working, like I got to do this project, and it was more just taking songs and seeing what fit with what.
Once I had that, the bulk of the songs, then I started filling in songs. Well, let me do an intro right here. Let me do an alto right here. This will work good in between this and that. And then the project came about that way. Even to this day, I still kind of work on projects like that. I keep songs in the can and I piece them together to make a story.
Torrey McGraw: Okay, cool! Okay. So we put the finished product together. Where do we go from there? Because we always hear stories about "Man, I was selling tapes out the trunk of my car." You know what I'm saying? So was it the same thing for you?
Dwele: Yeah, pretty much. I was thinking at such a small scale back then. I only got like a hundred copies pushed up. You know what I'm saying? I didn't think I would sell those. So I pushed up a hundred. I still got to work on sale. It was a tape back then. It was a cassette player. I got a cassette tape. You know what I'm saying? Check it out. Five dollars, ten dollars, I can't remember how much I charged for it.
Then also at Café Mahogany, between poets they would play some of the music off of the tape and they had a tape set up in the back. So it went, like I sold all the copies in a week, and I was like, "Damn! What would I do now?" You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: So, what did you do?
Dwele: I read up. I read up. I got some more tapes, some more cassettes and pushed them up and sold them as people asked for them. But I was happy with selling my hundred, and I was like, "Okay, I'm done." You know what I'm saying? Like I got it out. People hear it. It's cool.
Actually, from those hundred copies is where I got the attention of Dilla, Slum Village, and the management, and that's really what popped it up. So the hundred deal that I was supposed to do, I got it.
Torrey McGraw: So I'm curious because you said "the hundred." I mean you were pretty hype about that, which I could see that. I mean it's like, "Man, okay, there is a response. There are some people out there who really dig my sound. I'm able to hustle and sell these hundred copies." You caught the attention of Slum Village and Dilla, and I know you got on the song "Tainted" back then. So were you familiar with Slum Village and Dilla at that time? When they approached you did you know who they were? Did you know how big of a deal that would be for you?
Dwele: Yeah, I knew who they were. Fantastic the joint had already come out.
Torrey McGraw: Classic joint by the way. Man, that joint was so classic.
Dwele: Yeah. Me and my people were big fans of them. You know what I'm saying? We see them at the spot at Saint Andrews, in Café Mahogany. They would always come through. I really got cool with Baatin at Café Mahogany. He was selling instruments there and I play Sunday night. So I play in this jazz band with this dude named League Austin. It was his band. I used to log my Fender 'Rhodes' all the way downtown, set it up, and play at Sunday night, load it back into my car, drive back, unload it into the house, and go to work the next morning. That's crazy.
Torrey McGraw: That's hustle.
Dwele: Man, that's a heavy ass keyboard. It's like a body. You know what I'm saying? But that's what we did. I met Baatin through that. Baatin kind of put me on to T3 and put me on to J. He was like, "Man, you need to come down check out this dude. He's playing his Fender 'Rhodes' and he'd do music too." And then when I put the album out, he was like, "Okay. Now we know who this dude is. We know what it is."
Torrey McGraw: And then so that's like what? 1999 or so, 2000?
Dwele: Yeah, '98. In '98 I put the album out.
Torrey McGraw: Okay. So we fast forward a couple years not to surpass a lot of the story but how did — was it Virgin Records?
Dwele: Virgin Records, yes.
Torrey McGraw: So how did they come to learn about you? Because I know in 2003 you came out with your debut "Subject."
Dwele: Yeah. My management actually took the Rize EP. They took a few songs off of it, more so vocal songs than rhyming songs. You what I'm saying? And they shopped it around and the tape got bootlegged a lot. It made it overseas, as well as my management shopped it at overseas and Virgin UK was interested. So Virgin UK sent it back to Virgin America, and Virgin America got to my management saying, "We might be able to put something together." So I actually signed with Virgin in 2000.
Torrey McGraw: How hyped were you? That's a big deal.
Dwele: Ridiculously hyped.
Torrey McGraw: That is like going to Pop Bottles type of stuff.
Dwele: Yeah, that's about what it was. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it for a long, long, long time and it kind of wasn't real until they said, "Okay, you need to quit your job because you need to start travelling. You got to go to L.A. You got to go to New York, this, that, and the other."
Once the travel started happening, I was like, "Man, this might really be real." You know what I'm saying? I wasn't really scared to quit my job because at that time I was pretty young, fairly young, and if it didn't work out I left on good terms with the company. You know what I'm saying? I could always come back like, "Well, I tried it." You know what I'm saying? So it was a no pressure move. Everything lined up toward that.
Torrey McGraw: Okay. So when you go and create this first album, "Subject," I mean you're so used to creating your own music. You created your own sound with the Rize and now it's maybe — I don't know — hopefully, you could tell me. It's a lot more input from people on what this Subject sounded like. So tell me about that and if there were any big differences, anything that surprised you about that.
Dwele: A lot of big differences. Up to this point I always did music for myself in the confines in my own home, with me recording. You know what I'm saying? Me telling me what was what. And now there's people around. I instantly became shy. You know what I'm saying? I didn't know how to perform with people in the room. I don't do this with people in the room. It was weird to me.
People would come in with, "Well, we want you to do this over this music and sing this over that music." It was like man, but that's not me. You know what I'm saying? I thought you brought me on to hear me. This is not me.
So it kind of took a little bit. It took a little time for me to find comfort in that. After a while, I kind of learned it was good to work with different producers, different writers, just to change it up a little bit, just to add a little bit of flavor, a little bit of seasoning to an album, switch it up a little bit. So it's not necessarily a bad thing, but starting off it was really hard for me though.
Torrey McGraw: Yeah. So how much did you interject your opinion? I can feel a sense of overwhelm like not too long ago you were working at AAA. You know what I'm saying? Before that you were in this music class and now you're from your bedroom creating this music too and all of a sudden, "Hey, we think you should sound like this." "Hey, we think this should be this and that." So were there times where you proactively interjected and said, "No, this is not really what I'm feeling?"
Torrey McGraw: Or would you just more like "I'm just happy to be here?"
Dwele: It was a little bit of both depending on the day. You know what I'm saying? It depended on the day. But yeah, I definitely spoke up at times like, "Man, this ain't working. This is not fun for me." You know what I'm saying?
At times I just ran with it like it's going to get done anyway so let me just go ahead and do it and get through it. You know what I'm saying? So I mean it just depended on the day.
What really kind of frustrated me from the junk was that I signed in 2000 but nothing really happened for three years. I was kind of just sitting on the label and Virgin was going through this major transitions. You know what I'm saying? So the people that brought me into the label got replaced and now the new people on the label don't know what to do with me. They don't know what category to put me in. They're like, "Okay. Now, who is this guy over here?"
Torrey McGraw: Right.
Dwele: "Okay. You work him." It was that for like three years. You know what I'm saying? It was really frustrating. And then when Slum Village popped and they brought me on to do the song "Tainted" with them and it did what it did, that's when Virgin was like, "Oh, this dude is with us. Okay. Let's go ahead and put an album out on him. Let's see what it does." You know what I'm saying? So Slum really made that pop for me.
Torrey McGraw: That's awesome. That's awesome.
So we drop Subject and that's the first time I heard you. I hadn't heard of the Rize just as a fan. So when I got Subject I'm like, "Whoa, this is dope; this is dope." So you create the first CD so then two years later it's time for the second CD. I'm always curious the differences between the first CD to the second CD or the second project. As far as you've been in the fire now, you understand more of the process. So talk about how different that process was from making the first one to making the second one.
Dwele: It was a little different because I heard somebody say this before and it's so true that you have your whole life to work on your first project. It is different when you use the most of your life for your first project and then you got to start over again and deal within time constrains. So that was a little weird. That was a little weird. I kind of learned that you just got to keep working. You always got to keep it moving. Keep working to fill up that can and just do it that way.
So that was a little strange. I think with the second album I wanted to go a little bit more musical, a little bit more jazz than I did with Subject. I don't know why that was. I don't know why I was feeling that way at that time. But I felt like the Subject album, I wasn't really using my full arsenal as far as playing the guitars, as far as picking up the horn. I really wanted to use a lot of horn on this Some Kinda album so I kind of took that platform and ran it from there.
Torrey McGraw: Yeah, yeah. Cool. Okay. So we release that and then three years go by and then Sketches of a Man. Now, I'm curious to know because at that time you signed with another record label. Is it Koch?
Torrey McGraw: Okay. So tell me about that transition because you're too in with Virgin. Now we're transitioning to another label. So tell us about that process.
Dwele: Yeah. I signed with Virgin for two records. We did two records. I moved on, moved to Koch which I call them major independent. You know what I'm saying? It's turning out now that that's really the way to go. You get to keep a lot more of your money. You know what I'm saying? You get a lot more creative control and that really felt like that was important for me — overall creative control.
Considering that I was new artist, I really did have a lot of creative control. I produced the majority of the album for Subject and for Some Kinda. So I'm thankful for that because a lot of people coming out for their first time don't get that much input on their own project.
Torrey McGraw: Right.
Dwele: But Sketches of a Man, I was with Koch. I spent a lot of time in New York, not even really cutting that album. I was supposed to be cutting in New York but I was more so living in New York, like living my life.
Torrey McGraw: You do your thing.
Dwele: You know what I'm saying? I stayed out there for about five, six months and partied there like crazy. I party. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: I'm curious. I'm sorry to cut you off but I'm curious because that's interesting and you're actually going down a road that I'm curious about. So you're a really cool guy. I could tell you're a cool guy, it seems to be, and you have two albums in.
You go to New York; I'm sure people recognize who you are from you being at the club. You might be somewhere where people shout your name out. How does that feel for you? I mean is it flattering? Does it get old? Is it like, "Yeah, I'm doing big things over here. I'm balling New York. I'm from Detroit and now I'm in New York."
Dwele: I'm just cool, man. It was definitely fun. At that time, I think at certain times, in certain situations life kind of felt surreal. You know what I'm saying? Certain situations kind of felt unreal, yeah.
But for the most part I just took it in stride. Everything happened so gradually with me. You know what I'm saying? It wasn't all in your face all at one time. You know what I'm saying? It was really gradual. So that kind of softened the blow of all of it. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: That makes a lot of sense.
All right. So we sign with a new record label, Sketches of a Man comes out, you have more creative control. I'm curious because I hear people talk a lot about — and I heard Eric Roberson mention this one time how you're always chasing a sound. You're trying to take that sound that you had in your head and put it into your music and it's kind of hard because some things change. But with you having a lot more creative control, were you able to do that? Were you able to capture that sound exactly as you had in your head and put it to Sketches of a Man?
Dwele: I feel like I did that with Subject and it was Some Kinda too.
Torrey McGraw: Okay.
Dwele: Yeah, definitely Sketches of a Man I did. It's crazy because I lived in New York but I never really did music until — I would take trips back to Detroit every other week and when I get back home it's like everything will come out of me musically. You know what I'm saying? And I put it down.
So that was a real New York-driven album. That album has a mixed tape feel to me almost a little bit. You know what I'm saying? It's kind of what I was going for with it so I feel like we got the point across with that joint.
Torrey McGraw: All right, cool. So there is one thing I'm really interested in. I think this is around that time. So in 2009 I'm flipping on my television and I'm seeing this McDonald's commercial and it's like in a smoky — not smoky but a real jazzy tight spot and I hear this voice and I'm like, "Man, that voice sounds familiar." And I look up and it's you on this McDonald's McCafe commercial. I'm really curious because I was like, "Man, that's pretty hot for Dwele to be doing this." I'm curious how that happened. So how did that opportunity come?
Dwele: That was something that my management put together with Burrell out of Chicago. They just had me put together a couple of radio spots, 30-second radio spots, and they did it. They tested it in a couple of markets to see how people thought about it and people were like, "Oh my God! This is the sexiest McDonald's commercial I've ever heard in my life." You know what I'm saying?
These are radio spots. I think I did altogether maybe four or five McDonald's commercials. I think once they saw the success with it they decided to do a video for it. That's where the videos came from. I think it was good. I think it kind of expanded my reach a little bit.
Torrey McGraw: See, I was going to ask that. Yeah.
Dwele: Yeah, yeah. It expanded my reach. A lot of people knocked me for it, which I expected. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: I was reading some blog articles that covered, "Oh, Dwele is in McDonald's commercials." So I go down and read the comments and they go, "Oh! McDonald's think they can only sell to black people when they get the black artist." You know what I'm saying? That had to be tough though.
Dwele: Yeah, I got knocked for it. I saw a couple of people saying stuff like "Dwele is killing people selling McDonald's." You know what I'm saying? I'm like, "What are you talking about? First of all, a McDonald's burger ain't never killed nobody that didn't overly abuse it."
Torrey McGraw: Right, right.
Dwele: "I'm not selling a burger. Thirdly, you're probably drinking coffee right now while you're reading this on your computer." You know what I'm saying? "Fourthly, I don't you hear all saying nothing about these other rappers is out here promote vodkas and gins and smoking. I sell coffee and everybody got a problem with it?"
I made a lot of good connection all along in dealing with that commercial and it's something that I've always I wanted to do. I always said that I wanted to do a commercial at one point in time of my life so that's what it is. It happened.
Torrey McGraw: 2010, you came out with your latest project, W.ants W.orld W.omen. So tell me about it because I read a couple of things about how you were trying to go for a different feel, kind of this three-part album. So talk about your thoughts into creating that album.
Dwele: Yeah. It came to me — I was in Virginia working with Nottz on the song "I Wish," and the first line I came with was "I wish had a dollar for every dollar you think I had. I wish I had them Gucci shoes inside that Gucci bag." And I thought to myself like once again I'm in that box. I don't know how people would feel about me singing that I rock Guccis because that's the part of me that people don't really see. You know what I'm saying? I never really talk about that on my music.
So I thought about that and I was like I should kind of section my album up. If I make one section where I just talk about flashy things or things that I want, things that I otherwise don't talk about, and if they know that that section is supposed to be that there, then I won't catch as much flack for stepping outside of myself. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: Right.
Dwele: When I came up with that concept I thought about all of the little political songs that I had and songs that really wouldn't fit in between love songs, which majority of my albums were. You know what I'm saying? I thought about that so I said why don't I make a section that would be strictly political, if not political a little more earthy? A little more earthy I guess would be the word, like instrumentation, less of a sequence-type feel and more fluid, natural feel, and that's the world section.
And then the women section was pretty much me satisfying the people that love what I've done in the past. You know what I'm saying?
Torrey McGraw: I heard you call it baby making.
Dwele: It's baby making music.
Torrey McGraw: Okay, yeah.
Dwele: I feel like that's basically Subject and Some Kinda, but most part were. Those were baby making albums. You know what I'm saying? So I wanted to touch on that too.
Torrey McGraw: Right.
Dwele: I didn't want to step completely out the gate and leave out what I have been doing.
Torrey McGraw: Yeah. You got to give them what they wanted at some point.
Torrey McGraw: From 2010 we went through 2011, no music, so now I'm thinking okay, there's two and half, three years span so now it's time for a new project.
Dwele: Yeah, it's time for a new one. I got some concepts in the can. I got some songs in the can. I don't know when I'm going to pick it though. It never really comes together until it's time to sit down and really make a picture out of the puzzle pieces. You know what I'm saying? Right now I just have puzzle pieces so I have no idea what it's going to be.
Torrey McGraw: It has to be free and to know that you're not under some time constraint to rush an album together.
Dwele: Yeah, yeah. I mean people rush me. I feel pressure to put it out definitely but I hate forcing music. I hate forcing music. I feel like that's the worst thing you could do. It doesn't happen naturally when you force it, clearly.
Torrey McGraw: Yeah. Cool. So last question for you, like I said we have people who are watching this that have big dreams and they want to go out and do their thing and pursue their passion and go out and make it big like you have. Any words of encouragement or any advice you can give anyone who wants to go out and do their thing?
Dwele: This is definitely the time of the self-made musician, self-made artist. So definitely take advantage of that. I feel like it doesn't take $50,000-$100,000 to produce a video now. You know what I'm saying? It's just a matter of you picking up your iPhone and getting in the right editing software, putting it on the net and creating the buzz. You know what I'm saying?
Same thing with music, it doesn't take $50-$60 an hour at a studio to make it happen. You could do it in the confines of your own home now. Definitely it's a lot easier. That makes it easier to do it but then again it makes it harder too because there are so many people doing it now and there's so much music out there. There's more artists than there are fans.
Torrey McGraw: Right.
Dwele: You know what I'm saying? So in a way, that kind of makes it harder. It's a tradeoff. But I mean definitely just stay diligent, stay true to yours, and really put out there what makes you special, what makes you different from everybody else. You really got to glorify that with your music.
Torrey McGraw: That's great advice, great advice.
Once again, guys, this is Dwele a.k.a. "Dwele G." out of Detroit. Dwele, if anyone wants to reach out to you and say, "What's up?" what's the best way to do that? I know you're on Twitter quite a bit.
Dwele: Yeah, Twitter, @therealdwele; Facebook, you can just search Dwele; YouTube, youtube.com/Dwele24.
Torrey McGraw: Once again, guys, this is Dwele. I appreciate Dwele coming out and spending a few minutes with me on Grind & Thrive, and I want to thank you guys for checking out another edition of Grind & Thrive. We'll see you next time.