Newcomer Antoine Dunn is ready to hit the stage at The 2012 Women’s Empowerment Series.
The timing couldn’t be better for a multi-talented artist like Antoine Dunn to arrive on the music scene. While the music business is continually changing, fans maintain a desire for music expressed from the heart, something they can feel. R&B music is especially in need of a jolt of freshness and excitement. An incredible vocalist, accomplished songwriter and producer, and self-taught musician, Dunn delivers an easy and timeless style; accompanied by a remarkable ability to translate the truth and passion of each story he shares.
As a newer face on the music scene, you may find yourself asking, “Who is Antoine Dunn?” “Well, I would say I’m a passionate individual—a loving person,” he says reflectively; “I’m always looking to inspire people and see progress.” A native of Cleveland, Ohio, 23-year-old Dunn is a creative spirit who draws and paints; but music is the one thing throughout his life that has brought his creativity to the surface.
Dunn is a product of Cleveland’s lively musical legacy. Soul legend Bobby Womack and hip-hop veterans Bone Thugs N Harmony hail from Cleveland, as well as the huge R&B tradition created by the Leverts—legendary lead singer Eddie Levert and his decades-long, hit-making group The O’Jays; Levert, the successful R&B trio that included two of Eddie’s sons, Gerald and Sean; and the later emergence of Gerald Levert as a solo star.
As a child growing up in a Baptist household, Dunn was captivated not only by the music he heard in church, but also by his mother’s extensive collection of classic and modern R&B. Having other musical artists in the family helped as well: his aunt, Veronica Dunn, is a professional gospel singer; his brother, Adrian Dunn, a professional opera singer. During high school, Antoine would cut classes and hang out in the school auditorium, where he was drawn to the grand piano. By age 17, he had become the Music Director at the Cuyahoga Community Church, a post he held for three years.
“I first saw writing [music] as an ability to express myself and wind down,” Dunn said in a recent interview. As he continued to emerge as an accomplished singer and musician, Dunn was able to take his songwriting to the next level. He eventually worked as a songwriter for Dallas-based, custom-song service Love Songs for Sale. He also received vocal production credits on the debut album from LaKisha Jones, a 2007 finalist on “American Idol.” After touring in Thailand and in the U.S.—with artists such as Musiq Soulchild and Avant—Dunn signed with the independent record label Elite Music Group, Inc.
Now, as he prepares for the release of his debut album, TRUTH OF THE MATTER, executive-produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Edwin “Tony” Nicholas (Gerald Levert, Patti LaBelle), Dunn is making a major impact with his debut single and video, “Can’t Forget.” The emotional track—co-written and produced by Jerry Lang—speaks of the struggles of a past relationship and is making impressive inroads at radio stations in major markets across the country; including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and New Orleans. The video is a sexy companion piece, directed by LightUp Film, which has caught on quickly. In addition to being featured as a ‘New Joint’ on BET’s “106 & Park”—the number one video countdown show on television—the clip was also added to BET’s Centric channel, MTVU and MTV.com, VH1 Soul, mun2, and Music Choice.
Dunn continues working hard, pushing forward to make his dreams come true. Late last year, he toured as an opening act for soul man Anthony Hamilton, one of his musical mentors. Some of his other musical influences include Donny Hathaway, John Legend, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and James Morrison.
“A lot of my songs are about life: love, break-ups, things you may not be able to say to the person, but can be expressed through music,” he explains, “I want my music to have substance, to be about something that matters.”