This month I interview Jamaican-American rising star Duane “D-WAYNE” Howard. Being born with a gift is one thing. Recognizing and utilizing that gift to it’s full potential is another. Born in Brooklyn, New York to Jamaican parents Duane Howard, better known throughout the music fraternity as D-Wayne.
SS: How long have you been singing?
Honestly, I’ve been singing my whole life. As long as I can remember. I have pictures of myself from about age four. Singing my heart out and playing the piano. Yeah, I’ve been singing basically my whole life
SS: Many young artists enter the music business with dreams of stardom and they end up disappointed. How are you preparing yourself to meet the challenges you will face?
I keep a positive mind set. I basically plan for the best and prepare for the worst. I love taking chances…I’m not afraid to fail. Most people shoot for the stars and if they miss, they land on the moon. Me? I’m shooting for GOD. If I miss, I’ll probably land on one of his angels. (laughing)
SS: Which artist is your biggest influence?
The list goes on and on. If I had to narrow it down, I would have to say Bob Marley. Due to my Jamaican roots, I was able to see how he moved people with his music. His emotions were felt whether you listened to him live or on a record. He’s a big influence. Stevie Wonder is another big influence on me. He was able to persevere and make it to where he is though being blind.
SS: How would you describe your vocal style?
Oh man…….hummmm. It’s just so different because it varies. My voice can go from really smooth to heavy and raspy. You’ll hear it in my music.
SS: Growing up in Brooklyn, were you around music a lot?
Of course. I grew up in church. Then there’s BET and MTV. I was definitely around a lot of music.
SS: What made you decide to get into the music business?
I was told by my mother to do something that I loved. So I’m doing it.
SS: Do you think your style is unique? If so, what is different about what you bring to the industry?
I definitely believe that my style is unique. Can’t compare me to anyone. I feel as if I’m opening up a new lane for music. I’m going to bring a mixture…a new trend…something that will stay around forever.
SS: Do you have a management team and are you signed to a record label?
Yes. I am signed to an independent label, Reign Time Records and my publicity is being handled by Til Shilo Promotions.
SS: What is, or has been the biggest obstacle you have faced as an artist?
Keeping the ladies away and staying focused. (blushing) Yeah, for now…that’s a huge obstacle
SS: Tell me the kind of music you grew up listening to?
Well, I did love the Lion King soundtrack (laughing). On a serious note, I was always an R&B dude. I listened to rap here and there but, I mainly listened to R&B.
SS: What kind of music is in your car CD right now?
Day 26’s album and I have the Musiq Soulchild album. There’s plenty more, but these are what I’m listening to now.
SS: Which artists in music do you admire most?
I know this might be a surprise, but I admire Keisha Cole. I admire her because she is extremely business minded and I feel she sets a good example for young females around the world.
SS: As an artist what goals would you like to accomplish?
I would love for my music to touch people all around the world. Ii want to bring a change to this industry. Yeah, that’s a goal for me
SS: Which genre of music are you most comfortable singing?
Honestly. I am comfortable singing in any genre of music. From reggae to hip hop and R&B. I just want to show the world how versatile I am.
Stan Evan Smith is contributing Editor Everybody’s Magazine, Writer, Gleaner/Star NA. Staff writer for Jahwork.org. Westindiantimes.net and Jamaicans. Com He can be reached [email protected]. http://www.myspace.com/stanwsmith