From YouTube to Instagram timelines, to the Coachella stage with Erykah Badu, and now, two solo albums in, Durand Bernarr is solidifying his place on the music scene.
Many don’t know that his parents have been the secret weapon behind the vocal beast behind the mic.
“My mother is a music teacher. She teaches piano. She did not teach me how to sing. She taught me how to utilize my voice. She taught me how to take care of it and how to pace myself. She also taught me how to work through puberty,” said Durand.
His dad wasn’t too far behind. In fact, he showed up to the interview with him, sharing that he travels on the road with Durand.
Durand true day-one fans know that he got his big break after becoming a background singer for Erykah Badu. Durand shared that his first gig/ audition with Erykah was at Coachella in 2011.
“She found me on YouTube doing her covers. She thought it was so dope. She brought me along to be in her band. It’s been a dope experience working with someone you have different dynamics with. She’s my fave. She’s my boss. She’s my friend. She’s a mentor. She’s a big sister. There are so many things that encompass her,” said Durand.
While the two may have initially connected through music, Durand shared that he reaches out to her for “life-based” advice.
It’s no surprise that while Durand still sings background with Erykah Badu, he has made his own lane to the center stage.
He dropped his debut project, Dur&, in 2020. It’s a mixture of melodic cadences infused with milky vocals and a splash of humor that can only be created and prepared by Durand himself.
“I’m inspired by comedians,” shared Durand. He tributes the foundation and characteristics of his music to Little Richard, Bugs Bunny, Jim Carey, Sheryl Underwood, Rickey Smiley, Dave Chappelle and Bruce Bruce.
Whether he’s on stage dressed as Bobby Proud from the Proud Family or Popeye, Durand’s personality shines through every room he walks in. When asked, did he always possess such an outgoing personality, Durand also shared that his parents played a pivotal role.
“I look at it like, if you had access to a really dope gadget that had all of these bells and whistles to it, but you didn’t exactly know how to work it until you spend a lot of time with it. Spending time with yourself and spending time with your gift and craft is key. My father said, ‘Practice makes the skill, but the skill is what makes it perfect because you can practice something wrong,'” said Durand.
Music and honing his skills weren’t the only ways his parents supported him. Durand also shared that it was at home where he could be his true self with the support of his parents.
“I never had an opportunity to come out because I’ve always been me. Being in the house is where it was fine to be myself. It was when I stepped outside, and some of the other lil boys in the neighborhood had an issue with me being myself. Outside of that, I’ve always had support from my parents. Anything anybody else had to say might’ve ruffled my feathers, but it didn’t get under my skin,” said Durand.
Durand shared that he’s going to let his two albums sit and be enjoyed by the masses before giving new music. His upcoming tour date has been released, with the first date kicking off on September 6th in Orlando, FL.