Once you hear Dante Bowe’s voice, there’s pretty much a guarantee that you won’t forget it. The newest Grammy record breaker’s impassioned vocals can stir a flame in any soul, and that fire comes from a place deep within.
You may be more familiar with Bowe's velvety vocals than you think. He's lent his voice on features with Bethel Music and Elevation Worship and is one of the founding members of modern church heavyweight group Maverick City. From the big screen to arena tours, the gospel singer is an international mover and shaker. But behind his powerful voice is an even more compelling story.
From homelessness to Billboard charts, Bowe has had a triumphant come-up. And after a massive last year complemented by the release of his sophomore album, circles, he is continuing his winning streak by making history at the upcoming 64th Annual Grammy Awards. He's broken the record as the first artist in his genre to receive five nominations in the same year, as well as having the greatest number of simultaneous nominations in the Best Gospel Performance/Song category. Defying odds is a mantra Bowe has lived by. He’s overcome unlikely circumstances and silenced the doubt of critics, and it can be attributed to one thing: his faith.
In celebration of Dante Bowe’s five Grammy nominations, the gospel singer sat down with EARMILK to share five times his God-given destiny couldn't be stopped. In his own words, read below to learn more about how Bowe's unshakeable faith has inspired his recent and continued successes:
1) From the Trap House to the Church
Growing up in a small town in North Carolina away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, family was everything. But Bowe’s home life wasn’t exactly conventional. In order to make ends meet, his mom and dad sold drugs under the table. “I lived in a house with my parents––they were drug dealers,” But despite stereotypes and projections that came with that label, Bowe still had utmost gratitude for his parents and home life, and attributes their progressive approach to parenting as one of the prime reasons he explored his faith and eventually chose to follow Christ. “My mom and dad didn't raise me in church, but I loved my home life. I think that encounter [with God] is because my parents gave me the freedom to explore and find God on my own…Saying yes to Jesus was just a great necessity to my life.”
2) From Church Hurt to Healing
Along with Bowe embracing the church from a young age arose an unfortunate situation within those same four walls: abuse. He explains the outcome of being molested in church for years: “There was definitely church hurt, some level of it. But I never blamed God for it, it was more so, just figuring out how to navigate how to move forward from that situation and how to do that properly.” With circumstances that would turn many away from the church for good, Dante renewed his perspective and found space in his heart for grace and forgiveness. “My faith helped me, Jesus helped me, and also practical things helped as well.”
3) From Navigating Homelessness to Penning His Best Hits
As Bowe got deeper into his faith and honed his artistic talents, he knew something special was on the horizon. But in his immediate purview stood what seemed like a flood of uncertainty. While Bowe discovered incredible inspiration that pushed him out of the box creatively in his songwriting, his physical situation wasn’t as promising: “I was homeless…living on my friend’s couch for a little while. I really didn't know where I was going to go, or what I was going to do.” The internal thoughts plagued: how could he guarantee success in the music industry if he couldn’t even guarantee a place to rest his head? But Bowe again placed his hope in a source bigger than himself. While his means were downsized, his faith was enlarged.
Eventually, he crossed paths with the right people in what could only be defined as divine timing. “I met my managers there and they kind of helped me, as well as my pastor, his name was Donny Clarke. He got me a trailer, this two-bedroom trailer, and he paid the rent for it. That's how I got off the couch and ended up having my own place.” That same situation of humility and uncertainty birthed some of his most transparent art: “I wrote a lot of my big songs in that season, in that room, in that trailer.” Soon enough, the dots started connecting. “Me and my friends, we started [creating music] before it was even named Maverick. We had songs we wrote and we decided to put it on YouTube, and the rest was history from there forward…That was how I went from homelessness to self-sustaining and having my own place to live.”
4) From Disillusionment in the Music Industry to Sticking Firm in His Individuality
The higher one gets up the ladder, the more hands reach out to see what they can take, and Bowe wasn’t exempt from it in the music industry. “Some people are in it for you, and most people are in it for themselves and how can they be part of it…[because] they see something great in your life and want to be a part of it.” But Bowe took the good with the bad and emerged with even more gratitude, and even more blessings. “I have been disappointed just like probably everyone else has, and those things suck, but it’s inevitable, it comes with territory. It comes with everything. Everything you go through will have that pro and con. It’s a give-and-take. I just overcome with who I am. I choose not to change who I am as a human being. So it doesn’t take away or kill my personality or kill my brightness.”
5) From Losing His Grandfather to Celebrating His Legacy on circles
One of Bowe’s biggest challenges to date was losing one of the people who inspired and encouraged him most: his grandfather. Bowe's sophomore album, circles, powerfully explores loss and hope by looking at his family tree and legacy after the loss of his grandfather in 2020. “I created this project paying homage to [my grandfather], and a lot of these songs have his story in it and his spirit. It helped me heal, not heal but, grieve in a healthy way, writing songs about my grandfather and creating content solely around him. And I'm still doing it, still making songs about him.”
Throughout the highs and the lows, the cycles and circles, Bowe has constantly risen up, defying odds and surpassing boundaries. “If I ever get that weak where I'm like, “Oh I wanna give up,” I think those are the moments where His strength is made perfect in my life. And that's when He keeps the fire going and He holds on to me when I can't hold on”.
Sometimes I think looking back on your past is important because it’s important that you never go back, so you need to always know what it looks like to recognize if you're going backwards or not.
You can feel Dante’s authenticity through his music. His words paint the story of beauty in pain. His riveting stage presence is organic, and that passion comes from a heart genuinely filled with gratitude for what he’s been through and where he’s headed. “I definitely live in the present, just because I'm grateful for the present, and every day is different and exciting, also challenging, but I love that. We’re granted different days, and when we wake up we don't know what's going to happen. But I also am learning how not to dwell on my past. Sometimes I think looking back on your past is important because it’s important that you never go back, so you need to always know what it looks like to recognize if you're going backwards or not. But I feel like trusting God and being grateful for my life just helps me move forward in life.”
Bowe’s story of perseverance makes his successes all the more incredible. Bowe’s five Grammy noms, three within the same category, proves that sometimes our only competition is ourselves. His story teaches us that once we push past the challenges and learn to trust God, it’s literally us vs. us.
Tune into the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on April 3, 2022 on the CBS Television Network.
Cover Photo Credit: Seth Parks