A DMV native, singer-songwriter Laurelle Hicks, pens powerful love songs that force listeners to get up and groove. Gifted with a bold stage presence, her alluring voice seamlessly blends the genres of R&B, Funk, and Neo-soul to create seductive but gritty music. Laurelle is also the sole vocalist in her band Laurelle & The Lovas. After hearing her, it’s easy to see why she accredits Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Patti Labelle as her main influencers.
Her single “Compare to You,” reached number one on the 2010 Top 50 Independent Charts for Internet Radio. She has performed as a background vocalist for Day 26’s Robert Curry and for NBC’s 2018 Christmas Tree Lighting with Kellie Pickler. After a hiatus, Laurelle released her studio album, “The Journey” in June 2018, and in May 2019, she headlined a show at The Bowery Electric.
Along with her musical talents, she finds joy in hanging with her friends and family, going on outdoor adventures and sharing powerful messages of self-love. Big next steps for Laurelle include the release of a 5 part series with her band called “Sultry Sessions”. The series will consist of live recordings of her previously released and unreleased music.
Title: Danté Wolfe’s Resurgence and Why He Tells Fans to “Really Pay Attention to What I’m Saying”
Publication: For Danté Wolfe/Press
Early this October, St. Louis native rapper Danté Wolfe, born Kelly Petty Jr., sat down in his car after a nine hour shift to discuss his upcoming projects for his fans and supporters. In 2016, he released two albums. The first album being “The God Complex” followed by “Carleton Ave,” which received exceptional reviews from Riverfront Times and DeluxMag. After a three year gap and never someone to talk-the-talk without having walked first, Wolfe smoothly affirms the hiatus was “time well spent.”
Through that time many challenges hurled themselves Wolfe’s way. His rap group disassembled and he left his previous label for The Home Team Music Group LLC. Navigating himself through life and music after hardship, Wolfe says friends and collaborators have played a crucial part in his resurgence. He goes on to credit his friend and collaborator Chris Grindz for his new focus on sounds that resonate with his audiences.
“I put out a mixtape before ‘The God Complex’ called ‘The Black Leather T.A.P.E.’ and it was cool, but when I finished it, I felt like it was too hip-hoppy.” Wolfe continues his explanation of how he tracked his own sound development and says, “It was based on what I like verses what’s more universal. So I turned around and started working on ‘Carleton Ave’, because I didn’t feel like ‘The God Complex’ was much of a performance piece.”
Labeling his influencers as the Wu-Tang Clan, particularly Ghostface Killah, Nipsey Hussle, Kid Cudi and Kanye West, he asserts, “Storytelling comes first for me. I place emphasis on stories because I feel like if I listen to your song, especially if I listen to your whole album and I don’t learn anything about you, it’s a waste of time. I do also put an emphasis on having bars. I want to go for more original sounds. Instrumentation. I don’t like super digital, techy sounding beats.”
Almost eight months after the release of his single “IDK,” Wolfe confirms that about 6 more singles are expected to be released within the 2019 year. He says the new tracks are focused on him writing better songs that are less wordy and more sing-songy. There is a drive in him to develop a sound that centers around audience engagement and listenability. For those who have heard “IDK,” it is a contrast to his earlier works like “The God Complex” and its lyrical and bar focused sound or “Carleton Ave’s” performance heavy hooks and grooves. Wolfe says that’s exactly the kind of criticism of the work he wants to hear.
Now, fans may wonder if these new sounds are a push towards more mainstream efforts, but one to stay firm in his craft, Wolfe says he just wants to keep fresh ideas. “I don’t feel like I’m at a point where I need to make this hit for everybody. I’m still just tryna make it period. But I feel like it’s still me. I haven’t really got to that point where I’m really trying to step out the box,” he continues, “I have one song called ‘Scheme’ where it’s gonna, and I don’t know, it may come out and don’t even phase nobody, but to me it’s gonna be a little surprising because the type of artist that I am. That I was the person that made that song and I usually don’t do s–t like that. But right now I’m just experimenting tryna get myself to a higher place.”
New projects are certainly on the horizon for Wolfe. He will be releasing a new EP this winter along with new Wolfe brand merch. In addition, he will be supporting the EP with music video content that’ll stream on Vevo while simultaneously writing a short film. But against all his new endeavors, he says his fans should trust in his artistry without fear that he is no longer being himself.
“I don’t want them to be confused. I want them to pay attention to the content. Nip was really out here inspiring me. And you’d get a verse talking about business, talking about motivation, talking about how you can get some money and not just on the street s–t. You should be able to see the difference. I’m not talking about rocking these shows, I’m talking about booking these venues. I’m not talking about paying off these cars, I’m talking about buying these cars. I’m not talking about pay me this, I’m talking about backends and signing these checks and it’s like Pusha T said, ‘If you know you know’.”