Durand Bernarr Is Soul Music’s Best Kept Secret
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, singer-songwriter Durand Bernarr will turn 30 years old in September. Though he may not have the commercial exposure of artists like Miguel or Trey Songz, Bernarr is a force within the R&B music community. His first project Alcoholharmony: The Mixt@pe was released 10 years ago on Bandcamp, which caught the attention of many of us including Erykah Badu (more on that later). From the moment Bernarr stepped into the scene, he proved to be way beyond his years with his amazing covers. Today, he has finally blossomed into an incredible artist with vocals that will make you have goosebumps for days.
Durand Bernarr is that artist who will cover your song and make it effortlessly his own. This was very apparent when he released an EP as a tribute to his love for neo-soul queen Erykah Badu titled 8ight: The Stepson of Erykah Badu. The power of Twitter brought them together and they went from exchanging tweets to Bernarr singing backup as part of her band Neda Stella. It was a match made in heaven as they both share unique vibes like no other in the music industry. Here’s a clip of him singing “Window Seat” with Badu on stage seven years ago.
Bernarr comes from a musically-oriented family – his mother worked as a music teacher and vocal coach, while his father has a career in sound and tour production for artists like Jay-Z, Adele, Jill Scott and even the late Whitney Houston. There’s absolutely no denying that the art of performance flows in him naturally. Growing up, he was able to learn and absorb knowledge personally from Earth, Wind & Fire, Maxwell, The Internet, Chaka Khan, Foreign Exchange and more.
While busy touring with Badu, Bernarr continued to prove his worth by releasing some incredible new music on streaming sites. From Extra Stankin’ Christmas in 2012 to Sound Check EP in 2016, Bernarr always made sure to showcase his storytelling abilities through well-thought out lyrics and soaring vocals, especially for his signature high notes.
When 2013 rolled around, he’d appeared on an infectious dance single called “Hang On 2 Your Love” by Australian artist Sam Sparro from his Quantum Physical Vol. 1 album. Then there were a few singles in 2014 before the release of Fly on the Wall EP and Sound Check. Not one to rest on his haunches, Bernarr definitely kept busy by producing amazing tunes and showing the world what he does best, even when touring the world on stage.
This year in March, he blessed us with the 2-track album Unblocked, featuring the title track and “Sam’s Vibe”. The title track is an infectious single that talks about dating in the internet age we live in today, and is reminiscent of a jam session between like-minded performers who share the same passion for making good music. On “Sam’s Vibe,” Bernarr chills out over the guitar, bass and 808s with lush harmonies through a sultry arrangement that only he knows how to create.
What’s next for Durand Bernarr?
Expect to see Bernarr singing his heart out on BET’s The Next Best Thing, a singing competition/reality show that will finally be airing very soon after it was postponed since late last year.
To cap it off, we’ll leave you with the singer’s latest appearance on YouTuber Terrell’s channel, where he slays the song association game with effortless grace while playing the keyboard, showing the world why he belongs in a league of his own.
Watch out, world – Durand Bernarr is the industry’s best-kept secret, on a fast-track route to becoming a household name in soul music.
Cover Image: Sarah Huny Young