WTW Introduces Dre Bruce; a Real R&B; Artist
Are you looking for an alternative to the cookie-cutter, mass-produced R&B; music that has inundated Americaís radio waves and infiltrated the dance floors across the globe? Are you searching for an artist whose music is as honest and as real as the experiences by which were lived? Then the music and soul of Dre Bruce is your cure for the music industry blues. WTW caught up with Dre to ask him a few questions about what makes him stand out and why heís the just what the doctor ordered for todayís R&B; music.
DB: - Dre Bruce | WTW: - When Teens Write
WTW: First of all, letís get the basics out of the way like where are you from and whatís your background all about.
DB: Iím 23 years old, grew up in Kew Gardens (NY), graduated from P.S. 99, on to Russell Sage Jr. High, and then I graduated from Transit Tech High School. I didnít go to college; my dad wanted me to pick up a trade so I went on to learn about electrical work and became an electrician.
WTW: An electrician? Thatís what you were doing? For real?
DB: Yeah and I hated it, I mean I really hated doing that kind of work. At one point I believe I was going through an emotional breakdown, you know. I didnít have my heart in it. It was very emotional for me. It was so hard for me; I had to build myself up each day just to go to work. I would come home from work with tears coming down my face because I was just so miserable.
WTW: So is that when you decided to go into music?
DB: Yeah, I learned that I just had to follow my heart, you know. I mean I was making pretty good money with the electrician work - finances are important. But you also have your integrity, and I have a bigger purpose. And my music is where my heartís at.
WTW: What is it about your R&B; music that stands out from the rest of the crowd?
DB: I cater to the soulful side of R&B.; I think R&B; has gotten so watered down and become so common. Everyoneís music sounds the same; a lot of artists copy each other thinking itís a sure thing if they sound a like. I think weíve gotten past the real essence of what is truly rhythm and blues. You know like Al Green, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding. Those guys were R&B.; You can feel what theyíre all singing about, you can tell that theyíre being honest with what theyíre saying. Theyíre not just singing some song that producers thought would sell records. Their songs were about real life experiences that everyone can relate to. You know, Marvin Gaye? I get my inspiration from artists like Marvin Gaye; the man was rhythm and blues. His songs are still classics today.
WTW: Al Green? Otis Redding? What do you know about those dudes? Youíre 23, and they were from way back in the day!
DB: I grew up hearing my dad play their music. I didnít always know who they were when I heard them back then, but I know that I really liked what I was hearing. Their music is something realistic. Itís not always so upbeat and happy, like a lot of the music you hear out there set to upbeat melodies.
WTW: Are you one of those bitter and angry artists with bitter and sad songs?
DB: No, not at all. In fact Iíve got some ďhappyĒ songs that get you out there and dance and have fun. But true R&B; isnít always about being happy and dancing all the time. Sometimes itís about the pain and challenges of real-life experiences.
WTW: It just sounds to me like you just donít know how to dance and have fun.
DB: Oh no, donít go there. [laughs] You donít wanna go there because thatís not the truth at all. I KNOW how to dance - I like dancing, but I donít feel like doing that all the time. Sometimes I just want to write about what Iím going through and itís not happy all the time.
WTW: In your opinion, which artists today are doing what you believe to be real R&B;?
DB: [after a long silence] DíAngelo is doing it. Although I would appreciate it at a little higher frequency, you know? He waits too long in between his albums; I mean can we get a single? But I can appreciate that because it means that heís taking his time to perfect his music. He cares about his music and isnít worried about what music executives and labels have to say. I like Musiq [Soulchild]Ö Even though heís been going through a lot of lately, I have to admit that I really like R. Kelly. I have every R. Kelly album.
There arenít many people out there right now who I think make real R&B.; I get frustrated when I hear the kind of music thatís out there now; itís trash. Musicians today, we have lost our focus. We need to live the music and let the music live in us. The music today is not serious enough. I try not to even listen to the radio. [R&B; artists have] lost a lot of integrity.
WTW: What is it that yesterdayís artists have that todayís artist seem to lack?
DB: Honesty. I think you can hear and feel the honesty in their songs because it was always about something that they experienced or lived. I think thatís what they had that isnít found in todayís music. Honesty set to melody. Music is too trendy, too manufactured, and it all sounds the same.
WTW: So honesty is your secret ingredient?
DB: Yeah, I have honesty in my music. Anyone who has a soul, or has felt hurt, joy, or pain in his or her life would appreciate my music. Thatís real R&B.; Thatís what Iím trying to take it back to.
WTW: Whatís the most frustrating thing about the music business youíve encountered so far?
DB: Unreliable people. You have to look out for those people who are only into what you can do for them and so into selling dreams wherever you go. Iím still going through it with some people. You just have to keep focus and donít let anyone distract you from what you feel is right.
WTW: What should your fans know about Dre Bruce?
DB: I want everyone to feel what I feel, understand where Iím coming from, and hopefully relate to whatever hurt, joy, anger, or frustration I sing about. I donít mean it to be depressing or anything like that, but this how I learned to deal with a lot of the hurt, anger and pain that Iíve experienced. It all started with me writing poetry. I would write all the time about what I was living through. Thatís why my music is so honest, because itís really from me and my heart.
WTW: So is writing a form of expression that youíd recommend to the visitors of ďWhen Teens WriteĒ?
DB: Oh, definitely. That was my way of dealing with relationships, family, you know. Write it down. My music is a journal for me. I still write, I keep writing.
WTW: Okay, something a little different nowÖ What is your opinion on the whole Kobe Bryant story?
DB: [Laughs] Oh, God. I think itís cool. Kobe is finally being seen as a human.
WTW: Oh, come on!
DB: No, for real. What heís done isnít new. The only reason why itís in the news right now is because heís a big-time celebrity and he got caught. If anything, itís a lesson on how people need to stop putting the ďrole modelĒ label on celebrities. Bill Clinton, Michael Jordan and now Kobe, theyíre human beings. Theyíve all got cracks, they messed up and they got caught.
WTW: So you wouldnít consider yourself to be a role model?
DB: No, no, no! Not me, I donít need that type of pressure. Iíve made mistakes and Iím going to make mistakes. I donít know anyone who hasnít. I donít think celebrities should even try to set themselves apart as role models. Parents should be the real role models.
WTW: Okay, real quickly. What words of advice would you give someone looking to break into the music business?
DB: You should get into live instruments. Iíve started playing piano, you know, learning the fundamentals. It feels good. I want to wear more than one hat. Also, I would tell people not to compromise their dreams for anyone elseís. I came up with a personal statement when I was 14-years-old: ďGreatness is seen in other eyes, never in those where true greatness liesĒ. I know, itís deep!
WTW: Thanks Dre, for taking time out and allowing us to get to know you.
DB: Oh, no problem, any time. I want people to get to know me.
Dreís album is expected to drop into stores soon. Itís still in the works, so be sure to keep an eye out for it. Feel free to email Dre at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep checking in with WTW for more information on Dre Bruce and his soulful rise to the top of the charts!
Questions by WTW poetry editor/reporter, Kerri Webb
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