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
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.