22 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

The best thing about Dwele has always been his music's loose, conversational tone. It’s gratifying to hear that his third album, Sketches of a Man, maintains his strengths as a performer: restraint, taste, and mood. At 20 songs, Sketches of a Man feels like a musical sketchbook, and its finest moments are often its most curious. “5 Dollar Mic” is nearly a cappella, layering Dwele’s voice over itself. “Open Your Eyes” is a cover of the Bobby Caldwell classic that somehow expands the fathomless vulnerability of the original. The hallmarks of Dwele’s art—bubbling, low-end kicks paired with free-floating jazz chords—can be found on “Free as a Bird,” “You Won’t Be Lonely," and “Vain.” His vocals here are set to a tone that doesn't demand, but suggests. The ambling nature of Dwele’s voice makes it a perfect complement to the measured low-end beats of “A Few Reasons (Truth Pt. 2)” and “Brandi,” both of which bring out the glimmer in Dwele’s voice. The centerpiece, however, is “I’m Cheatin’”: a smoothly insistent song about infidelity that ends up being an affirmation of monogamy.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The best thing about Dwele has always been his music's loose, conversational tone. It’s gratifying to hear that his third album, Sketches of a Man, maintains his strengths as a performer: restraint, taste, and mood. At 20 songs, Sketches of a Man feels like a musical sketchbook, and its finest moments are often its most curious. “5 Dollar Mic” is nearly a cappella, layering Dwele’s voice over itself. “Open Your Eyes” is a cover of the Bobby Caldwell classic that somehow expands the fathomless vulnerability of the original. The hallmarks of Dwele’s art—bubbling, low-end kicks paired with free-floating jazz chords—can be found on “Free as a Bird,” “You Won’t Be Lonely," and “Vain.” His vocals here are set to a tone that doesn't demand, but suggests. The ambling nature of Dwele’s voice makes it a perfect complement to the measured low-end beats of “A Few Reasons (Truth Pt. 2)” and “Brandi,” both of which bring out the glimmer in Dwele’s voice. The centerpiece, however, is “I’m Cheatin’”: a smoothly insistent song about infidelity that ends up being an affirmation of monogamy.

TITLE TIME
1:40
3:26
3:20
1:23
3:48
3:21
1:18
3:24
1:57
3:42
0:59
3:51
4:29
4:00
4:29
1:48
4:52
2:00
3:47
3:11
4:49
3:51

About Dwele

Adult contemporary R&B singer/songwriter/producer Dwele grew up on Detroit's west side, listening to soul music from Motown visionaries Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye as well as jazz on the radio. Born Andwele Gardner, he began writing songs at the age of ten, after his father was murdered outside his home, and attended Cody High in Detroit. Dwele spent a year studying music at Wayne State but then opted for an informal education, making music at his home while living in Dearborn and working for AAA. His demo tape, 1998's The Rize, made waves around the Motor City, and he spent time collaborating with Detroit hip-hop group Slum Village and Philadelphia rapper Bahamadia. Signed to Virgin on the strength of his songwriting and performance skills, Dwele released Subject in mid-2003 and cemented his appeal with European audiences (he was a favorite on Gilles Peterson's influential Radio 1 program) with a tour that summer. His second album, Some Kinda..., followed in 2005 and reached the Top 10 of the R&B chart. A couple years later, he provided the hook on Kanye West's hit single "Flashing Lights" and signed to Koch/eOne to release Sketches of a Man (2008) and W.ants W.orld W.omen (2010). Both albums maintained the singer's streak of Top Ten R&B albums. Greater Than One (2012), also released on eOne, featured some of his breeziest, most pleasing grooves. ~ John Bush

  • ORIGIN
    Detroit, MI
  • BORN
    Feb 14, 1978

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