Duawne Starling is a sincere, insightful, passionate person, whose genuine zeal for life and his mission to use his gifts for God are compelling.
Duawne’s résumé is virtually a who’s who in music. He has worked with artists such as Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Nicole C. Mullen, Michael W. Smith, Dolly Parton, Michael McDonald, Kelly Price and countless others. After distinguishing himself as one of the top supporting vocalists in the music industry, it was evident that it was time to launch his solo career.
“I worked as a background artist for ten years before stepping forward as a soloist. I had been vocally ready for years but when I assessed where I was vocally and compared it to where I was spiritually, the two did not measure up. It is important that I be mature in all areas, because the last thing this world needs is just another singer.”
Now, five years later Duawne has released his debut self-titled CD, and is currently composing his sophomore CD. Not only does Duawne have the vocal schooling of years in the studio and on the road, he has also earned a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Howard University School of Divinity; a convincing combination. “I needed a sense of balance – to increase my biblical knowledge and my capacity to speak into the lives of others as well as minister in song.”
“While doing a concert with Donnie McClurkin, I remember praying for a young man responding to the altar call. When I saw him get a breakthrough, it was then that I realized I was called to something far greater than singing. I was changed that night and my heart was transformed into that of a minister.”
Duawne’s music shares the triumphs and struggles of his journey through life. His simplistically profound lyrics impact audiences with their unprecedented honesty. “My gift is God’s tool. In my writing, I always speak from the place of truth. We are all intrinsically connected so I know that others will relate to what I’ve experienced. My purpose is to enlighten, encourage and empower the listener.”
Duawne’s journey began in Petersburg, Virginia where he lived until attending boarding school at age 13. “As a child, my mother had the greatest influence on me. She was the one who brought Christ into our home and I don’t know where I would be had she not. I grew up listening to traditional Gospel, lots of Mahalia Jackson (my mother’s favorite), my dad’s quartet, and a little pop radio when my mom wasn’t listening. After my father died of cancer when I was seven, music became my freedom from reality.”
Ultimately, Duawne describes himself as a “simple man” and has one goal. “I just want to be all that I am intended – a man of honor, a devoted husband, a loving father and an uncompromising minister of the gospel.”