After a long three-year wait, platinum-selling artist and award-winning songwriter Dante Bowe released his sophomore album, circles, on March 26th. The 13-song collection contains some of Dante’s most personal work to date, exploring themes of gratitude, forgiveness, perseverance, and understanding. “joyful,” the lead single from his long-awaited new album, recently debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Gospel Digital Song Sales and No. 22 on the Hot Gospel Songs chart, making it the highest solo charting debut of his career. From the foot-stomping soul of “joyful” to the R&B influenced “real kind of love,” circles embodies everything that makes Dante who he is while setting out to inspire others. In this TCB Exclusive, Dante shares what inspired the album title, his definition of success for the record and early listener impact.
Congratulations on the recent release of your album titled circles! Can you share the inspiration behind the title and cover art?
The title was inspired by the song “circles” that’s on the record. I wrote that song because I felt like last year, and still a little bit this year, that people feel like they’ve been spinning around in circles, dizzy and out of control. The message of the song is that He is the God of the circles, which is pretty much the inspiration for the album title. I just felt like it represented the entire project.
The photo though I worked with Donté Maurice. He’s just a visionary. I wanted it to be in a field somewhere, standing on a white block. But Donté suggested we go in the studio with a trampoline and have me just jump like I’m jumping in the sky.
Thinking back on the process of creating circles – is there a moment that stood out to you most, perhaps that solidified your resolve to release this music?
I think it was more so who I was working with. His name is Lael. When we first got into the studio and creating, I felt a difference in my sound and my voice. It was him helping to bring that out. I think after that first session, I knew it was music I wanted to continue to make and put out.
Did you approach creating this album differently than Son of a Father, being that circles is your label debut?
With Son of a Father, I did give it 110%, but it was an independent project, so I had limits for my vision and money. So I feel like with my label debut, I had a lot more of my vision fulfilled. I think I worked just as hard as my [independent] project, but I had access to different things for my new project. I think it’s different for that reason.
How are you looking to define success for this project?
I guess I defined it already. To me, it’s the album of the year. I feel like it’s personally something that I’m very proud of, so it’s successful in my eyes. And I think that’s how I envisioned success, is how I feel about it, so I’m obsessed with the album, so I’m already successful.
With the full album being out for a few days now, have there been any impact stories shared with you that have stood out?
There was someone that DM’ed me about their [family member] passing away, and how hard it was for them. They were going through a depression and they heard “Love Is In The Air” and it helped them get out of the rut they were in and see a new perspective. It changed that for themselves.
You performed a live release event for the new music. How have you embraced streaming events in this last year to retain interactions with the listeners of your music?
So I’m obsessed with Chance The Rapper, and he did so many virtual concerts last year. I was just inspired by that, so I just really embraced it when I was watching him do all these cool things. He did virtual concerts for everything. So I knew for sure I wanted to do a circles virtual concert. And I’m actually about to release another one that is more of a stripped down virtual concert.
You frequently share co-writing credits on your music. Is that important to you to have that personal connection with songs from their inception?
I would say it’s pretty important to me because connection is the foundation for how I write. So it’s important to me.
What are you most expectant for in 2021?
I’m most expectant to be nominated for a GRAMMY.