I had the pleasure of interviewing this amazing artist," Antoine Dunn" a few weeks back regarding his amazing musical journey. Not only is he an incredibly gifted vocalist, but a skillful musician, producer, and songwriter. Some of his remarkable achievements include 9 musical nominations in the year,2020. He was nominated for (6) Josie Music Awards with (2) wins, (2) Hollywood Music & Media (R&B Artist " I'm Yours" & Vocalist "Please Tell Me") and was chosen as, "Artist & Vocalist of the Year " and SoulTracks "Male Artist of the Year & R&B Artist "I'm Yours" & Vocalist "Please Tell Me ", Not only is he a greatly accomplished recording artist but a great person with a heart to help others. I asked him a few questions about his life in music, here is what he said.
Tell me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and how did you get started in music?
I’m from an eastern suburb of Cleveland, Ohio called Cleveland Heights where I grew up with my mother, father, and brother. I got started in music when I was in middle school. There I joined my first vocal ensemble, won my first national awards, and began teaching myself piano. Music got a little more serious for me in high school. Some friends and I started our first band and we would compete in talent shows. The band is also where I had some of my earliest experiences producing original music in the basement.
What was the most memorable moment in your music career?
My most memorable moment in music was when I had an opportunity to perform one of my songs for Stevie Wonder. It’s one of those things you can’t forget. Can you imagine someone you’ve aspired to be like and one of the greatest songwriters of all-time tell you that he felt you were a great songwriter? Well…It happened to me, and in some ways it keeps me going, even today.
How has COVID-19 affected you in a positive way?
COVID 19 has affected my life in a positive way because it has given me the ability to do things now that I had not had time to do before the pandemic. Before COVID 19, I performed regularly. But now that I am unable to continue in my prior routine, I had to find other ways to press forward. One of those ways included tapping into my entrepreneur skills more so than before. Most entrepreneurs understand that as an entrepreneur, time management can be challenging. But, instead of giving in to the negativity of what is happening in our world, I chose to lock into my creative space. Not only that but now I have more time to handle my business administrative duties like Doing multiple tasks online such as updating my profiles and so on. Additionally, I even had more time available to spend with my family and friends. Overall, I would say he gave me more time to think and plan my next moves.
If you lost your ability to sing, what else would you consider doing?
I love riding my bike and exercising but most importantly I love making a difference. The reason why I make music is that it gives me an opportunity to reach people at their core and at their deepest level spiritually and emotionally. Therefore, if I were not making music, I would be doing something That would give me the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. I could also see myself creating a nonprofit organization that would donate bikes to children who are economically challenged. I personally believe sometimes; bikes can be used to give people a different perspective and they can give those same people the ability to see the world through a different set of lenses. So, yeah I strive to make a difference in some other way.
So, you finally make it to the top, what is the price for your soul?
I would like to come from two different places on this matter. I believe the best way an artist can circumvent experiencing these types of paramount crossroads is by deciding early on what success means to them. Some people consider themselves becoming successful by simply becoming a better human being. These are people that want to make a difference and someone else is life. These are those individuals that take every chance possible to express gratitude. On the contrary, there are others that are in this business for different reasons. Some of those reasons include fame and fortune. I think you must ask yourself, is having fame and a million fans my goal? Maybe it's having your songs played on the radio, or being seen on TV? This is something that each artist must determine early on in their musical careers.
I think that when it comes to entertainment, it's more of a spiritual conversation. I also believe that to avoid some of the shortcomings and some of the loneliness including all the emotions that artists go through, each person must first define what success means to you. Now, once you have discerned that, you can then be open to multiple ways of achieving that success. By taking the time to assess these things, it will give you a clearer and more precise understanding of how far you are willing to go. Ultimately, the decision that you make will be based on what success means to you.
How important is your influence on this and the next generation?
I take my Influence on this “up-and-coming music generation” very seriously. I believe that the power of suggestion is one of the most powerful tools that we have in the universe, and I think that if we had a world meter, that would measure the power of positive versus negative suggestion. I think that the negative suggestion would be winning right now. So, with respect to that, I take the content that Creates and put out into the world, I take that very seriously. I think there are a tremendous call and a tremendous amount of responsibility on the artist and their lives. Regarding the content that you release into the world, I believe every artist has a responsibility to be a role model. I believe is especially important that each artist present their art in a way that a public speaker or an elected official would do so. They also believe that is of great importance that each artist moves, speak, and create content with that in mind.
I'm not suggesting that they censor art, but I do believe that each artist must be aware of how their music might be either affecting our world positively or negatively. Putting it another way, ask yourself how your music is influencing the future of this planet. You see, at some point, we are all going to leave here, and you do not want to leave here without making sure that you have done Everything within your ability to make this earth a better place for those coming up behind us. One day, we're not going to be here, so make sure that all the things that you create are putting the rest of the people who still must be here in the best possible way to be successful.
What was your most challenging moment?
I truly believe one of my most challenging moments was during the beginning months of the current Covid-19 crisis. I’d just completed a new album which I’d worked incredibly hard to finish and at times felt like Covid had sabotaged the entire trajectory of the project. Some of those days were very difficult for me, but as always, I kept moving forward and it paid off.
Who are your musical influences?
Wow, that list could fill the whole page LOL, but I can give you the short version. Some of my musical influences, in no particular order, would include Ray Charles, Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin, Barry White, Quincy Jones, Gladys Knight, Aerosmith, Marvin Gaye, D’Angelo, The Chi-Lites, The Stylistics, The Dramatics, Celine Dion and so many more!
If you could do a duet and or have someone write a song for you from your favorite artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
I would absolutely love to have Quincy Jones produce a collaboration between John Mayer and myself, that would be absolutely amazing!
What is the last song you’ve listened to by another artist and who are your present favorites?
The last song I listened to was “Mr. Holland” by Gregory Porter. Some of my favorite current artists are Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Tori Kelly, John Mayer, John Legend, and Justin Bieber.
What was your most embarrassing moment while at a live performance or interview?
One of my most embarrassing moments was when I knocked over a piece of equipment on stage while performing at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. It was pretty funny looking back at it.
How many singles/albums do you have out presently and are there any projects in the works?
I have two full projects that I’ve released. My most current project is entitled “Everything”, and my freshman album was entitled “Truth of the Matter”. There have been many singles, but I’m encouraging everyone to go listen to “Lose It All” and pick up the album! I’m currently working on my third studio album while writing and producing music for other artists.
What are your either weird habits or traditions before performing live or recording?
This is a great one LOL. I like to enjoy a greasy piece of fried chicken before performances. Any fried chicken will do.
What advice would you like to give to an upcoming artist?
My best advice to upcoming artists would be this. . .Be OK with being different, it can seem like a lonely path in the beginning, however, it can really pay off for your longevity in the long run. Lastly, I owe in large part my successes to being prepared for opportunities. Always keep writing and creating, because your most honest delivery as an artist comes in those moments where you feel inspired the most by life experiences. Life will guide you in determining what to do with the content you create later.
Current Single: Antoine Dunn - Lose It All
@Everything Antoine Dunn https://linktr.ee/AntoineDunn
Record Label: Harvey Marie Records
Record Label page: http://facebook.com/harveymarierecords