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Gangster Musical Theatre: A Sound Only Durand Bernarr Can Speak

Breaking barriers in life is one of the jewels that make people who they significantly are. The music industry isn’t the same as it was in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. In this next generation, we see change, we see innovation and we see no boundaries. This line of thinking brings to life the artistry of music artist Durand Bernarr.

Durand has been creating a unique craft since 2008 but has been around music since his teenage years. Durand has had the pleasure of learning from some iconic artists such as Erykah Badu, Earth Wind & Fire, Tweet, Anderson. Paak, Teedra Moses and many more. Durand has a sound that he’s deemed as "Gangster Musical Theatre" because he possesses a heavy dash of powerhouse vocals and witty lyrical storytelling. “I really want to take people on adventures and I want to take them on a journey. There's so much intention that I have with creating things, especially if I'm going to put them out,” Durand shares. We’ll call him your favorite singer’s favorite singer.

For Durand, being mentored by legends has also played a major role in the development of his artistry. “I developed discipline, and self-awareness by doing homework. Constantly being a student and constantly being a sponge. I didn’t even realize the abilities and the skills that I had until I was put in positions where I had to use them,” Durand mentions.

Realizing his abilities, Durand has been intentional about being himself and a proud member of the LGBTQIA community. We know that in the music industry, being a part of that marginalized community is not celebrated as much. There are openly gay rappers like Lil Nas X, Frank Ocean and others, but the stigma still stands. “I would hope that with me being me, I could inspire other people to discover who it is that they are. It's a priceless feeling to get messages from people that say you inspired me to be myself, and you helped me come out to my mom. It really strengthened our relationship,” Durand shares.

Recently, Durand released his ninth album, self-titled Dur&. Similar to how Aaliyah, one of Durand’s inspirations, felt about her self-titled album, Durand says this project represents his growth and becoming more in tune with who he is. It’s about trying new things, feeling sexy, just showing a different side of himself.“This project is a testament to the beauty of what can come out when you try not to do things by yourself. Having a village and having people that inspire you can bring out these different things,” Durand shares.

The persona that Durand embodies is one that exudes self-care. An advocate for mental health, Durand feels that it’s important for our culture to take care of our minds. Realizing that he has been in therapy since the age of 22, now 33, he testifies that even when people drop nuggets and advice over the years, that’s help. That’s therapy for you. He shares that, “you have to know who you are. Because if you don't, they will tell you.”

Durand is for the culture of living life and speaking your truth without ceasing! He speaks it through his actions, his style, and his “Gangster Musical Theatre.”

Check out the 2022 Culture Issue.


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