Anyone who has talked with or met Dwayne D.Harmony Morris can attest to his wit, laid back personality, and quiet demeanour…that is, of course, until he opens his mouth to sing. Perhaps one of the best kept secrets on the Virgin Islands reggae scene, D.Harmony brings soulful vocals coupled with air-tight harmonies (as should be expected seeing as this is how he got his name) to every track he graces. Best known for his role as a keyboardist and back-up vocalist in several well-known reggae bands, D.Harmony is finally ready to step into the spot light as a solo artiste. We caught up with D.Harmony at the studio to discuss his love for the music as well as his musical mission in life.
WBM: Who is Dwayne “D.Harmony” Morris?
DWAYNE: Dwayne “D.Harmony” Morris is basically a humble man born in St. Croix…um…raised in the church…um…just a loving, humble person, I mean, all around, from young ‘til now, so nuttin changed.
WBM: How old were you when you got into the music industry, and when did you know that music was something you wanted to do as your career?
DWAYNE: Well, I got into the music, um….I can’t remember the age, but I know that it was around 2001…um, but my love for music started when I was small, ‘cause I used to sing with my brothers and sisters when I was younger. Um…ever since then, I always had a love for reggae music, just from the positive message that it always used to portray, ynahmean [you know what I mean], so it caught me in a different way than different genres; I love all music, ynahmean, but I had a different kind of love for reggae. Singing always been in my blood, so naturally it came that way, and God gave me it, so I gotta use it.
WBM: So with your singing…you have travelled many places singing; can you remember the first time you travelled outside of St. Croix, or even internationally, and do you remember what it felt like to hit an international stage for the first time?
DWAYNE: Um…[laughs], yeah actually. The first time I actually sang on an international stage was with Bambú Station – actually, I was touring with Bambu Station, and we went to Europe and, I think we were in Arnhem [Holland]…it was a split between anxious and nervous because I love singing, and I’m kinda shy, but it’s more just humble…not really shy, but um….just going out there for the first time with that amount of people – the crowd was a whole lot bigger than the crowds you would see here in St. Croix at a show, or what I was accustomed to starting out, ynahmean? It was different, but I loved it! It went well…maybe after the first song; I was ready to go all night [Laughs]! I was ready to go all night from there. It was good, I have enjoyed every chance I’ve gotten, so far, to sing, and every opportunity I’ve had, and hopefully when I get more in the future, I will continue to love it!
WBM: Okay, so of all the places you’ve travelled, which one was your favourite, and which one is a place that you want to go back to?
DWAYNE: Um…my favourite would have to be – I’ve been to a lot of places, but my favourite was Maui…yeah, Maui. Maui was nice ‘cause it reminds me of home, but it’s a lot bigger. It’s a lot, lot bigger, but the vibe is still the same, there’s a lot of love, and green and open fields. It reminds me a lot of home, and the people…the people, they just receive you with a lot of love – even a new face, ynahmean? They just have a lot of love over there. I can’t wait to go back.
WBM: So Maui’s the place you would like to go back to?
DWAYNE: Well, go back to….I would have to say Europe – Portugal…Portugal is nice…we sang, one night in Portugal. I met a guy by the name of Richie, he was a young DJ, I think. I don’t know if he sings as an artiste over there, but like, his voice…yeah man, he geh it, and I hope – he tell me he wah goin’ an’, das wah he doin’, so I hope he continue dat deh. Ynahmean, meen talk tuh he in a while, buh the vibes ova deh too, dey welcome you wid a lot of love an’, you know? It was quite an experience.
WBM: Okay, so you have sang with groups, you’ve played with groups, you are also an avid musician. You now as a solo artiste, what do you feel is the greatest difference singing as part of a band, and singing as D.Harmony, the solo artiste?
DWAYNE: The difference…gehin’ to be out in front, you know, because in my earlier years of my career, um, I ‘custom – people use to seeing me behind the keyboard and I sing from behind the keyboard, buh gehin’ to be up in front where you can tek di stage and you can really receive the people on a closer basis, is a lot more…um, fulfilling…yeah, than having to stay in one spot behind the keyboard. As much as I enjoy it, I mean, I like, I like playing and singing also ‘cause I can give it my personal touch, you know, buh being out deh is a lot more fun.
WBM: So, you being, like you said, a humble person, the first time you heard the crowd’s reaction as a solo artiste, how did that feel – how did it hit you?
DWAYNE: Wow, it hit me hard actually, um, I can remember dat! Uh…uh..,when I came up first, and I talk to the people, and I started to sing, the reaction of dem, basically made me have to start the song ova – I mean you didn’t see it, but I had to tek a second breath like [inhales] ‘okay, let me catch myself,’ [laughs]… ‘okay, dey like it,’ ynahmean, but okay, from I got dat, it was forward.
WBM: Okay, so why does what you do as an artiste matter?
DWAYNE: Why, because, honestly in these days, this 2013, it’s been such a dramatic change in little St. Croix where I live. There’s so much negative in the air – well, not in the air because….buh it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s…it lingering; it’s there, and it’s there in abundance now. It’s affecting the younger generation, and me as a person growing up, I know how music affected me. Music coulda calm me down in a time when I wah feeling like, ynahmean, doing something crazy, ynahmean, and music lift me up when I wah feelin’ to do nuttin’, ynahmean, so…and watching dem you can see the impact that music still have today on young people, as well as old – I mean everybody. I mean, even if you just have a radio in your house, and you just turn it on and listen to it all day…I mean everybody loves music. And what I do as an artiste, being D.Harmony, my mission, I waan call it, is to spread a little bit more positive vibes in the music stream, ynahmean, because we gah a lot ah da negative, and, I think if we balance it, it gon mek a change, ynahmean. So that’s, that’s basically my mission, to keep the positive, and jus’ to uplift the place.
WBM: Okay, so you now have been on a kind of hiatus from the scene because you just recently changed production houses and things of that nature, so what are you working on now, what can your fans look forward to, what is the vibe of any new projects you have going on?
DWAYNE: Well, the vibe… I wouldn’t say hasn’t changed, if anything it grew, but, um, it’s still the same. Bringing the same music you loved from before – from what you hear before, it gon be more of dat…buh I jus’ wukkin’ wid a different production team now, so that’s jus’ the only difference. So as far as D.Harmony – D.Harmony ain gon eva change.
WBM: If you could teach one thing, to somebody who wanted to follow in your musical footsteps, what would that one thing be?
DWAYNE: Be true to your music. Um, real life experience always come through on a different level than when you just write something because it rhymes, or you feel maybe that’s what they want to hear. Uh, you be true to your music and it pays, ynahmean, whether financially, or mentally, spiritually – it pays to just stay true. Mek your style, or your vibe your own. If you have mentors, have mentors, and it’s always good to have someone to look up to, but don’t be unsure and things gon come.