We here at Parlour really enjoy funny R&B singers — Dream anyone? — so thank God for Dwele. We thought he was all fruits and berries until we had a few drinks with him one night in Las Vegas. Two words — light weight. Anywho, now Dwele, born Andwele Gardner, is raising his cache by singing the chorus on Kanye West’s newest single “Power” and releasing his own sixth album W.ants W.orld W.oman this week. The Detroit native explained the punctuated title as a work in three parts. And with features from Raheem DeVaughn, DJ Quik (Yay!), Slum Village, David Banner along with new songstress Monica Blair, this LP should be just what we need to cool down after all of those barbeques this weekend.
PARLOUR: So what’s your album W.ants W.orld W.omen about?
Dwele: It’s broken into three sections and the first is my alter-ego, where I do things that I don’t usually do, like be cocky. The second part is not really just about my hometown of Detroit but really the world and the economy. I’ve been sitting on these songs for awhile, the oldest is five years old, but it’s hard to throw a political song between two love songs. The last section is feel good baby-making music, so I’m covering all of the bases.
Is your first single “What’s Not To Love” from the cocky section?
No, it’s not about me. That song’s from the women’s section of the album and it’s a collaboration that I did with singer Mike City. It’s just about me asking a woman to look inside herself and see why she’s so lovely.
You reprised the late Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” in 2009, how’d that happen?
That was just something I did the night of Michael Jackson’s death, I just heard the news, went home and recorded it as a tribute. I almost didn’t release it online because there were a few flubs, but I let a few people listen to it and they liked it so I put it out. “Human Nature” has the most hits on my website to this day and it was real, I think my arm pits were stankin’.
You’re touring right now?
Man, I’m going everywhere! The only place I’m not going is Omaha and I want to know why not! We already started touring and passed through New York and Baltimore. I’m in San Francisco right now, I’ve got Atlanta tomorrow, then Memphis, Nashville, then back to the west coast.
Is your brother still playing horns with you?
Yes, his name is Antoine Gardner and he was the horn section and he played trombone. My brother is a school teacher in Chicago, he just moved there so I’ll be in Chicago every weekend, we’re taking over!
Since you have such a live show following, will you ever release a live album?
I might, I played around with that idea for this album. This was the first time I recorded with a full live band. It’s usually all me but I just brought in all these other musicians to see how it feels and so far the response has been great. So maybe for the next album, I’ll do a live one.
You take quite a bit of time off between records, why?
I swear it doesn’t feel like that. When my manager says ‘We have to put out an album out,’ and it’s been like two years, it honestly doesn’t feel like that because I stay on the road. I’m going to try to be better.
Did you fly to Kanye’s Hawaiian hideout to collaborate on “Power”?
Yes, I flew to Hawaii for that song. I was actually in the last week of trying to finish my album and he calls. But it was Hawaii and it was Kanye and I’d never been to Hawaii before, so I said ‘I’m going!’ We did few concepts and we worked on about four songs.
Will those four tracks make Kanye’s new album?
I have no idea.
Will he ever appear on one of your albums?
We’ve talked about it. That’s how we met originally when we did the remix for my song “Hold On,” where Kanye did one of his the coldest verses in his entire catalogue. He related his whole verse to magazines and put the names through out, I didn’t pick it until my sixth listen.
Are you anyone you’re dating? We’re nosy…
Well, I’m not in a relationship but there is someone that if she heard me say that, she might be mad.
People are saying we should look into buying homes in Detroit, thoughts?
A lot of people are buying houses here because they’re so ridiculously cheap. It’s a lot of clean up, but it can be worth it. In a way, it’s the beginning of reemergence in Detroit. Movies are being shot there now and with that comes money but also notoriety. I was actually just in one, it’s called “Cornerstore.” I was weird because I shoot my own videos now so I can see exactly what I look like after cut, but with a movie you can’t do that. I found myself thinking ‘well, can I OK it first?’
We love to talk about former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatick, thoughts?
It’s bad for Kwame right now. Ultimately I think all cats in his positions all do their dirt, but I think because of how young he was to be a mayor, people were really waiting for him to slip up. I feel for him, but what can you do?
What about the dead stripper?
I heard about that, I didn’t want to go there.
What do you think of Detroit’s new mayor, Kenneth V. Cockrel Jr.?
It’s too early to tell.
Do you think Kilpatrick’s fall has hurt Detroit’s morale as a city?
Detroit’s been through shit before, so I think the climate is ‘damn, that’s fucked up,’ but they keep it moving. It’s not affecting the city that deeply.
Back to the album, DJ Quik is one of our faves, how’d you two meet?
DJ Quik rhymed on “I Wanna” from the women’s section on the record. I met Quik in 2003 when I was in Los Angeles working on “Find A Way.” Every time I went to L.A. to work after that he’d come to the studio, and I’d play videos games with his son… who cheats. I’ve never wanted to do guest appearances before this album, and when I asked him he said ‘cool d, lets do it.’
Why didn’t you do many guest appearances on your previous five albums?
I didn’t want people to get confused about my sound or who I was. I could’ve done the guests on my last album, but on this one, I just felt comfortable.
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