Who is Durand Bernarr?
Earlier in the year we attended The Internet’s THE INTERNET Presents THE INTERNET Tour, a collaborative concert showcasing solo performances from the rising alternative R&B band’s members, as well as their own hit songs.
Story | Jasmine Sabagquit
Little did we know we would come across so many gifted openers prior to the main act, and be blessed with an abundance of young, fresh, R&B talent. I’ve been to many concerts where openers have failed to impress or capture the attention of the audience. As an opener, this is your chance to step on the main stage and show the world what you can do, and prove to the audience why you were chosen out of many other musical acts to be there in that very moment.
By far the most standout opener of the night came from the man dressed in a yellow dashiki and yellow scarf. (Fun Fact: Durand fell in love with the color yellow when he saw the yellow room in Lil Kim’s ‘Crush On You’ video). He gave us an unforgettable, standout performance, showcasing his impressive vocal range and undeniable stage presence that left the crowd in awe and wondering who and where this man came from. And at that very moment, we made a conscious decision that we had to know who this magical, mystical yellow man was.
His name is Durand Bernarr. As The Lunch Table team member, Briana, describes him: “If D’Angelo and Prince had a baby, it would be Durand.”
We met up with Durand at Opulen Studios in Downtown Los Angeles, where we had a very enjoyable, deep conversation about music and life. This was a very refreshing moment to share with one of the most talented people in the music industry today, and who has “singing background vocals for Erykah Badu” on his resume. Durand is no doubt a very likable and enjoyable person to be around, from his random burst of song, to his deep intellect and full awareness and acceptance of his individual self.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, he lived most of his life in Cleveland, Ohio and was raised in a musical home with a professional music teacher and vocal coach for a mom, and a father who has worked with musical greats such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Adele, Jill Scott and Whitney Houston. Durand shared with us that he was always around musical talent and knowledgeable people, and you can tell that the wisdom he came across throughout the years has grounded him as an artist and person.
Durand’s talent goes beyond measure, but his main goal does not lie in the lavish life of cars, money, jewelry, but to be able to take care of himself and continue to sing. He shared that he finds the idea of having the fame of Rihanna or Drake to be intimidating because it takes away from him being himself, but he is open to that if the right opportunities and the right people come along. He is a true testament of doing what you love and enjoying the process along the way.
Later on that night, we joined Durand at Tha Juice Joint, a weekly open mic jam session showcasing some of LA’s most talented musicians. He came across Tha Juice Joint a month after moving from Cleveland and describes it as “church,” and as soon as we stepped inside, we immediately knew that it was a special gem that is tucked away along the superficial, pretentious Hollywood streets. We got to see Durand first hand in his element, not only as an artist, but as someone who loves everything that music encompasses, as he grooved to each spontaneous performance of the night.
He released a 7-track EP Sound Check at the end of last year with songs like ‘Around’ and ‘Insufficient’ that showcase his vast vocal range.
Catch Durand on stage on tour for the Badu Vs. Everythang Tour as well as the festival circuits at FYF Festival in Los Angeles (July 22) and Meadows Festival in New York (September 16).