Dwele brings his new album to Baltimore
Next week, Detroit-based R&B singer Dwele will release his fifth album, Greater Than One, on E1 Music, and his promotional tour will bring him through Maryland for multiple local appearances on Wednesday, August 29th. At 3p.m. he’ll make an in-store appearance at Kemp Mills Music in Temple Hills. Later that evening, Gypsy Soul will present a listening party event at Teavolve in Fells Point at 7p.m., with tickets available for purchase here. The album itself, which features the current radio hit “What Profit,” is one of the crooner’s loosest, and most upbeat works to date, with a varied palette of production styles and subject matter.
Dwele, though a decade into his career and as popular as ever, may still be one of the most low-key stars in mainstream R&B. His hooks for rappers have often been more successful than his own solo singles, and even then he’s often not featured in those songs’ videos, as was the case for Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” and Common’s “The People.” Even his voice is a soothing midrange that rarely leaps out of the track. On Greater Than One, guest Raheem DeVaughn, himself not one of R&B’s flashier vocalists, manages to handily steal the spotlight on “What You Gotta Do.” But Andwele Gardner’s mild demeanor has always come across as a quiet confidence, and a deliberate choice to set the mood rather than hog the spotlight, and the way that track segues seamlessly from the preceding “Takes22Tango” while shifting tempos is masterful.
Having worked extensively with some of the most revered producers in hip-hop, including the late J Dilla and the aforementioned Kanye West, Dwele often handles much of the production and songwriting on his own albums, and has clearly picked up sounds and ideas from his past collaborators. The tracks vary from earthy neo-soul to bright ‘80s synths to thumping breakbeats, while all remaining in perfect tune with the singer’s personality and songwriting. But one of the revelations of Greater Than One is his decision to bring his touring band into the studio, which has especially funky results on “Swank,” one of a handful of songs on the album that help to buck Dwele’s image as a dull or overly mellow guy.