photos: Bruce Gates (courtesy of Black Tree Marketing)
It’s so amazing how a voice can mesmerize and capture your attention and send chills through your body. Rising R&B singer Antoine Dunn has been blessed with the voice of a soulful Angel. With his talent he is paving the way to great stardom. SayWhatNews had the pleasure of speaking with Antoine Dunn right before his debut album hits stores:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Antoine. Thanks for interviewing with SayWhatNews. First tell us who is Antoine Dunn?
Antoine: Well, I'm a passionate performer, a passionate writer. I've put a lot of focus on presenting my truth in my music.
SayWhatNews: At what age did you learn you had the gift of song?
Antoine: I would say around the age of eleven. I used to sing along to songs at the movies. I also auditioned at the time and made it into my school choir.
SayWhatNews: I hear you are a self-taught musician and play the piano, drums and bass guitar. Can you read music or do you play by ear?
Antoine: I learned to sight-read music for vocal applications in school. But now I play and produce by ear.
SayWhatNews: Antoine you are a native of Cleveland, Ohio and Cleveland has so many musical talents like Bobby Womack, Eddie Levert, Gerald Levert and many more. Who were your musical influences growing up.
Antoine: Well, some influences I can name are Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, D'Angelo, Donny Hathaway, Gladys Knight, Esther Phillips... the list goes on and on.
SayWhatNews: At the age of 17 you became the Music Minister of your church. How did a Music Minister turn to an R&B singer?
Antoine: I think good music is good music. I write about love and God is love. It just so happened that the songs that came together for this CD are more R&B-leaning.
SayWhatNews: Antoine your Aunt, Veronica Dunn is a professional gospel singer and your brother is a professional opera singer. Did you ever consider singing a different genre of music besides R&B?
Antoine: I listen to and also write more that one genre of music. I actually have a few pop-leaning songs on this CD. I think music, at the end of the day, is universal.
SayWhatNews: Yes it is, music brings the world together. Now, before stepping out as a solo artist you worked as a song writer and vocal producer. How did that come to be?
Antoine: Working with choirs in middle school and high school, I learned to be a leader. I have also worked with bands and coached singers and background vocalists. I have always had an ear for developing vocals.
SayWhatNews: Speaking of working with vocalists, in 2007, you worked with former American Idol finalist LaKisha Jones on her album and received vocal production credits. What’s it like helping an artist perfect their craft?
Antoine: It's great when an artist trusts you to guide their vision. It's amazing to help another artist come up with ideas and work with them to shape the outcome.
SayWhatNews: Back in August of 2011 you signed with Elite Music Group. How were you discovered?
Antoine: Elite initially hired me to do vocal production for another artist. Once they heard my own work, they really started to see me as an artist in my own right. The record deal came out of that.
SayWhatNews: Your music is a blend of Soul with a modern day spin. In your own words can you describe your music?
Antoine: It's like a new flavor of ice cream. Someone who already loves ice cream will hopefully be willing to try new flavors. My music is fresh, but yet familiar.
SayWhatNews: Antoine your debut album is due out sometime this year (2012). What can fans expect from your album?
Antoine: They can expect to be changed. To be touched on an intimate level; taken to a place where they can honestly say the songs spoke directly to them.
SayWhatNews: “Cant’ Forget” is your first single off your upcoming album. What inspired the song?
Antoine: The song was inspired by a break-up. It was a story that I, and I think many others, can relate to. Everyone has had a break-up experience, right?
SayWhatNews: So true. Now the video for your single “Can’t Forget” has been featured on some of the top video shows/channels like BET’s 106 & Park, MTV U, MTV.com, BET Centric Channel, Music Choice and VH1 Soul. How amazing is it to have your music/video played?
Antoine: It's very exciting, but also a little surreal. I spent a lot of time writing the songs on my album and when we picked the single, "Can't Forget," we spent a lot of time discussing concepts for the video. Actually seeing the finished product on television was crazy, in a good way!
SayWhatNews: The album is almost complete, is there anyone you would love to collaborate with in the future and why?
Antoine: John Mayer is one of my favorite artists. His music has this amazing transparency that I really appreciate. John Legend is also someone that I would love to collaborate with.
SayWhatNews: Antoine you have also opened for some of R&B’s very talented singers like Anthony Hamilton, Avant and Musiq Soulchild. What was that experience like singing in front of an audience?
Antoine: Performing live is really amazing because the energy and reaction is immediate! You know right away what the audience is feeling and what they aren't. It's the best feeling in the world to see an audience relate and react to something you created.
SayWhatNews: What’s next in the future for Antoine Dunn?
Antoine: Well, the future holds a successful debut album, "Truth of the Matter," which will be out in late May 2012. I will continue writing and producing and would like to explore doing some acting. I want to explore as many creative opportunities as I can!