Baltimore Family Band Celebrates Love, Wants to Give Back

465

Like many famous husband and wife bands, Winslow Dynasty's allure stems from their unique talent and apparent love for each other.

"I want to make songs about how fun marriage can be and it's not boring," Dontae Winslow, one half of the duo told the AFRO in a recent interview. "Single people tend to say, 'I'm really living the life.' But I'm living the life with my beautiful sexy wife whom I love, I make songs about and who I travel and tour with."

Since forming the band in 2004, Dontae and his wife Mashica have taken the music industry by storm. Individually, Dontae is a trumpeter, film composer and music producer and has performed in the bands of many notable artists such as D'Angelo, Queen Latifah, Lauryn Hill, Common and Jill Scott. Mashica works as a singer, songwriter, arranger and vocal producer. Collectively, the pair has recorded and performed with artists such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, David Banner, Snoop Dogg and Mary Mary, among many more.

In the midst of it all, they also have released their own material–a unique mesh of soul, jazz, classical and hip-hop music.

But the road to success wasn't easy. The West Baltimore natives had to overcome a sea of adversity.

`

"Coming from the Baltimore City public schools, walking down North and Pennsylvania Avenues with a trumpet on my back–people were laughing and making fun of me, like 'oh, there's the kid with the trumpet. He needs to be selling drugs,'" Dontae said. "It took me some 15-20 years to get to the level where I work with A-list artists. That makes me feel very excited and very accomplished…I'm happy that I [persevered] over time."

He also explained that he was tempted to give up along the way.

"I had some teachers say, 'he doesn't have it–you might want to give up and do something different,"' Dontae said. "I often thought of giving up in high school, in college but I always felt like there was something in me that was great and that if I just practiced every day and listened to the great artists on record, I would obtain some form of critical acclaim in the music business. Now I find myself being one of the most requested studio musicians and highly favored artists."

Their talents have also rubbed off on their young son, Jedi, who recently starred in a commercial for the Disney Junior Network.

Their newest effort, The Life Album is a collection showcasing their signature sound combining infectious horn arrangements, touching lyrics and vintage analog instruments.

"It begins with poetry," Dontae said, speaking on the album. [It's many] songs about love. In this album, we're trying to 'big up' the positive sides we think young Black artists need to be looking towards. I want people to not chase trend and try to make songs for the radio. I want them to make songs about what they feel."

In addition to inspiring current artists, the duo also has imminent plans to reach school children in their native city. Mashica explained that they've been working on a nonprofit organization that would provide afterschool programs to train young students in music.

"We think the earlier they can get the music, the better off they'll be with their grades, with their math and different things," Mashica said. "I think that's something that we'll be able to give back to the city."

Winslow Dynasty's "Life Album" is available now on iTunes. They will hold their CD Release Party Concert at the Baltimore School For the Arts on Sept. 24. For more information, visit: winslowdynasty.com and follow them on Twitter @WinslowDynasty.