ROOTED IN FAITH inspired by family stories and the critical events of the year 2020, Dante Bowe’s sophomore abum, “Circles,” has catapulted him to the top of the gospel genre—garnishing him the title of Top New Gospel Artist of 2021 by Billboard magazine–and making history as the first artist to be nominated in both Gospel and Christian genres with five Grammy nominations for 2022. But his, is an unlikely journey to success. From a personal battle with depression to a bout with homelessness, the chart-topping singer and award-winning songwriter shares the ups and downs of the road less traveled.
ink2Us: Tell us about your love for music—how did it get started? And where?
DANTE BOWE: I was raised around music my entire life, and my parents loved music–R&B, and Hip-Hop. My grandparents loved the traditional gospel, and that’s how it all got started. I was around music constantly, which helped me develop a love for music and singing, leading to recording and other things.
L2U: Did you grow up in the church?
DB: Yeah, I grew up in the church, though my parents were not Christians or saved. My grandparents were saved, though. And through them, my brother and I were introduced to the church and attended with my grandparents.
L2U: How did your group, Maverick City, come about?
DB: Maverick City came about through text messages between friends. The leader of Maverick, Tony Brown, got a few of us on a group text and later decided to come to Atlanta to write songs and pitch them to other artists in the industry, not to sing them ourselves. But then something happened. And we got this idea of going into a room and singing them for ourselves, and the songs began to go viral. We named the group Maverick City because Atlanta is known as the maverick city–and because (like the name implies), we wanted to stand out, break the mold, and defy the odds as a contemporary gospel group.
L2U: You are nominated for five Grammys. What was that like and how do you feel about such a milestone in your career? What does that mean to you?
DB: I feel really grateful. I feel like I worked very hard to get where I am, but to be honest, I thought maybe a Grammy nomination would happen much later in my career. Still, I’m just grateful that God breathed on it, and I am just living in the moment right now.
L2U: You experienced some personal struggles on your way to becoming who you are now. Can you elaborate on those struggles and how you overcame them?
DB: Sure. When you are a young man or young woman, you know you have dreams, aspirations, and goals. And maybe life isn’t happening as fast and as good as you might want it to, so you begin to get impatient, and you begin to compare yourself to those who have done it and are where you would like to be. So I went through a period of depression. I was homeless for a while, trying to figure out my life. I mean, I could have worked as a worship pastor of some sort, but I just knew what I was called to do, and I just believed I was answering and saying yes to God, but then I found myself homeless. It was a struggle and a faith battle for sure. After moving to Columbus, Georgia, with my pastor, I met my manager, and everything started looking up. I started putting in the work and soon after began connecting with the right people, and my record label Bethel Music, which has been a blessing.
L2U: Your videos are filled with hope. Can you speak about a particular turning point that stands out in your mind as you transition out of that challenging time in your life?
DB: I don’t know if I can pinpoint one specific turning point. I think I’ve always tried to be in the moment and be aware of what God is doing in my life, and just follow His lead. I’ve always felt like this is how it’s supposed to be. Even when I was living on my friend’s couch, I always had gratitude for where I lived. And then when I moved to that two-bedroom trailer, where I wrote all of my number one songs, I was grateful to be there because that’s where I lived, and I was not ashamed of it. Then I was able to move into an apartment, where after making a declaration on a board where I wrote, “I want $50,000.00 to do my music,” [because I had all these dreams and ideas to make music, make videos, and do something really great with my career]. I got exactly $50,000.00 that year, and that’s how I was able to get things going and my apartment that year. And now while I was grateful to be in that apartment, I’ve since purchased a house here in Nashville, and I am still grateful to be here. So I think there are so many different turning points that now, I go where God is calling me to go.
L2U: In your videos, we can see that your lineage and your family are really important to you. What family values passed down to you have helped shape the person you are today?
DB: There are so many lessons, but I think my grandparents, my mom, and my father have all been very instrumental in my life. They have given me so much advice and wisdom that I hold on to. I am especially reminded of my grandmother. She would talk to me about her faith, and my grandfather would speak to me about his relationship with my grandmother. There are so many different keys to life that my family shared and continues to share that keep me grounded professionally and personally.
L2U: What are you listening to when you are not listening to Dante Bowe?
DB: Well, I listen to a lot of music. I love listening to Lauren Hill, and Tasha Cobbs as far as gospel. But I would say that Lauren Hill would be one of my biggest inspirations–I love her music, how conscious it is, and the quality of her voice. I consider her one of my musical heroes, as well as Aretha Franklin and Al Green. Since I have this soulful, raspy voice, I have always been attracted or drawn to other singers who also have that different kind of texture in their voices.
L2U: If you could choose, could you tell us, what would be some of your dream collaborations?
DB: It would be a dream come true for me if Lauren Hill and I could collaborate for sure. But I do have other several collaborations I would love to do. I would like to collaborate with Lauren Daigle, Kirk Franklin and then do something with Common–which is in the works as we speak.
L2U: What’s next for Dante Bowe?
DB: I have a few tours coming up, with three arena tours coming up in 2023–so I am really excited about that. This year I would like to release a lot of music, so be prepared for that.
L2U: If you could pass along a message to your younger self, what would that message be?
DB: Um. Be patient, and be good to yourself. Sometimes we can be our own worst critic, our biggest doubter. That’s what I would tell the younger me–and to be kind to yourself, it’s all gonna work out.
L2U: What do you do for fun?
DB: There’s so much. But if I’m just sitting in the house, I like to watch a good movie. I enjoy watching YouTube and love watching documentaries and all that stuff. I am really big on films, so I would love to act. I like yoga and going to the gym and pretty much anything where I am active. I like going out with my friends, who are pretty active as well. We enjoy going to dinner or participating in wall rock climbing. I just like doing all kinds of things outside, including fishing. I swim a lot!
L2U: What inspires you?
DB: I would say God inspires me. And people inspire me. I like meeting people in general, fans, and those who support me.
L2U: Give us one “Fun-Fact” about Dante Bowe that we don’t know.
DB: Uhm…a fun fact? Well, this might be horrible but, I like clean white socks! (laughter erupts). Usually, if I buy a pack of white socks I try not to wear them all out until I get another pack [laughing]! Sorry, I really do love white socks. [laughter].