Antwaun Stanley: A Constant Process Of Discovery

Leo Sidran BY

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By the time Antwaun Stanley entered the University of Michigan in the late aughts, he was already 15 years into a successful singing career. He was signed as a contemporary gospel artist, had made the rounds on TV shows and singing contests, had been through a series of managers, producers and handlers who all recognized the immense electricity in his singing and his stage persona.

Meanwhile, he was also just a regular kid from Flint, Michigan, raised by a single mother and trying to walk the straight and narrow path. That dual identity was part of his journey almost from the very beginning—like a superhero. On Sunday mornings he was a star, but by the next day he was back to being a regular student. And when he got to college, he tried his best to blend in, joining an a cappella group and singing with student bands, while at the same time trying to manage his career as a budding gospel star.

Even today, he lives with that same duality. While his work with Vulfpeck, and collaborations with Scary Pockets and Cory Wong have elevated his notoriety, he still chooses to stay close to home, splitting his time between Flint and Ann Arbor.

Talking to Antwaun, one gets the sense that he has spent his whole life, from the time he was three years old and spontaneously started singing spirituals in his mother's kitchen, figuring out what to do about his talent, negotiating between who he needs to be and who the world wants him to be—finding the middle space where he can explore his gifts, but also deliver for the people in his life.

He recently released a project called Ascension, a high class dance pop project that gave each a chance to stretch out and do what they do best. Antwaun and I talked about walking the line between spiritual and secular music, managing the responsibility to his fans and his own desire to explore, how he sees his career as "one giant experiment" and "a constant process of discovery," and of course, his experience in Vulfpeck.

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