Chicago native Dante Hall is an independent artist well regarded among his musical peers as a force to be reckoned with. The long-established vocalist is catching fire and is emerging as a voice that must be heard, seen and experienced.
Dante groomed his vocal chops in Chicago. Just like so many notable singers before him, he was raised in the church. With his grandfather stirring spirits as pastor and his mother stirring souls as an amazing gospel singer, Dante learned early on what any real artist must know: how to captivate an audience with words and visuals, comfort and inspiration, performance and truth.
A humble singer equally comfortable in small venues and on big stages, he has worked stages with the likes of Bebe and Cece Winans, Yolanda Adams, Michael McDonald, Dave Hollister and currently Donald Lawrence. When you hear Dante, you don’t just hear lyrics or sounds, but audible paintings of love, loss and longing. Passion surrounds every note.
Grammy-award winning producer and artist Donald Lawrence summed up the sentiment this way, “Dante is the epitome of ’70s soul meets new school R&B. The texture of his voice is like a vintage piece of art appreciating with time…He is definitely one you don’t wanna miss!”
Four years ago, Dante released a cover of What About My Love, originally recorded by Johnny Taylor. It’s brilliant and features real horns, real drums, real guitars and undeniable authenticity. It received major airplay in Chicago and across the country.
“What About My Love is my daddy’s favorite song by Johnny Taylor,” Dante said. “I absolutely love to perform it. So I decided to re-record it, while keeping it organic.”
Simply Beautiful (Al Green) and Tripping Out (Curtis Mayfield) are his current offerings from his EP Dante Hall, Classic Vol 1. Take a listen. He’s a winner. It’s a winner!
Hall has raised the music game. Vocally, he’s a beast. It doesn’t matter if he’s singing gospel, R&B, or the a-b-c’s, he kills!
Aside from Lawrence, other fans have praised Dante. One called him, “The Dean.” Another noted that his amazing tone is “raspy like sandpaper and smooth like silk.” And noted soul singer Avery Sunshine literally punctuated her praise: “I LOVE YOUR VOICE – PERIOD.” Dante’s the new classic that feels so right – for right now.
N’DIGO recently sat down with Hall to learn more about his rising career and what drives him to want to continue making more feel good music that’s authentic.
N’DIGO: Who were your musical influences? Who were the artists that made you want to pursue music?
Dante Hall: My favorite artist is D’Angelo. I think his music came during a pivotal moment in my life where I had to decide if I wanted to play drums or sing; plus my dad’s best friend Troy sounded just like him and I’d been listening to and trying to sound like Troy my entire life! I also love Tommy Sims, Donny Hathaway, Kim Burrell, Andrae Crouch, Joe, Sally Hall, Aretha Franklin, H.E.R., Daniel Caesar…the list just goes on and on.
What was your first big break in the music industry?
Oh, it was definitely meeting and being chosen to be part of Donald Lawrence & Company. (Still) Being a part of such a hand picked background ensemble and traveling all over the world for the last decade has been my big break.
And then, of course, releasing What About My Love as a solo artist in 2014 has opened so many doors, my head literally spins! I have done everything from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to singing for Oprah in her backyard! I am grateful for my journey.
What are the pros and cons of being an independent artist?
I’ve never been signed to a major label; however, I imagine it may be easier to walk into some doors with the blessing of a large label. I love being independent, though. I get to work with who I want and release music that I like, when I like, as an entrepreneur…this is great!
Do you like where the music biz is today?
I love how open the music industry is. You get to hear people that maybe you wouldn’t get to hear because it’s so open. That’s a good thing.
Tell us about your latest musical offerings…
My latest single is called Tripping Out. It’s about a lady I just can’t stop thinking about. She’s got me Tripping Out. I’m happy that my supporters and radio have been showing me so much love regarding it. I looked on YouTube the other day and found there were line dances created around it. Amazing!
What is it about some old school songs that make you want to remake them and put your spin on them?
I love feel good music. I think that lane of feel good music should stay relevant and readily accessible. It should not be that the only time you hear the old school songs is when you go by your uncle’s house and he blows the dust off of them. You should be able to hear them on Spotify or on a jump drive or on some current media. I am committed to keeping feel good music alive and well.
Will you ever record original material?
Oh absolutely! The only thing that can keep a song off of making it onto one of my projects is if it doesn’t feel good.
What can fans expect at a Dante Hall concert?
Performing live is one of my favorite things to do. I’m happy to do it as much as I do. My supporters and people who have never heard of me can expect to always JAM cause I love catering to them. They are out for a great night and I want to make sure we (me, the band, and singers) make their night a night to remember!
What are three of your all-time favorite albums?
D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Tommi Sims’ Love and Peace, and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
That my favorite store is Menard’s and I am very dangerous (in a good way) with a power drill!
Best advice for young artists?
Find out your “why” and don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.
Favorite quote or affirmation?
“I’m just doing the best I can with what I got.” If you think about it…that’s all you can do, really.
What’s your favorite dessert?
My mama’s pound cake. My grandfather was a pastor and the people used to line up for the cake even before he was done preaching. (“Dante, did your mama make a cake?”)
Favorite restaurant in Chicago?
AJ’s Southern Dining in Melrose Park, Illinois. They even have a drink named after me.
What’s next for Dante Hall?
To keep performing and putting feel good music with good vibes out there so people can enjoy themselves when hearing me live or digitally.
For more information on Dante Hall, visit:
Facebook – Dante Hall fan page
Instagram – dthall141
Twitter – dante_hall