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Soul Train Awards 2022: Get To Know This Year’s Soul Cypher Performer Durand Bernarr

He may be new, but he’s already worked with some of the industry’s most prominent veterans.

Durand Bernarr may be new to the scene, but behind closed doors, he’s worked with some of the most influential names in the business. Born to a professional music teacher mom and producer dad, the rising musician has been around music his entire life.

Durand has steadily been making his way onto fans’ radars, from doing covers of classic Erykah Badu records to starring in the BET musical competition, Next Best Thing. At this year’s Soul Train Awards, the “Mango Butter” singer will be making his debut as part of the popular Soul Cypher.

Related: Durand Bernarr: The Singer-Songwriter Talks ‘Wanderlust,’ ‘The Terrell Show,’ and How To Become His “Cousin”

Durand will appear alongside seasoned vets and r&b newcomers, including Alex Vaughn, Muni Long, and Tasha Cobbs Leonard, for a performance you won’t miss with D-Nice on the turntable.  The celebration will all be hosted by comedian and actor Deon Cole. Ahead of this year’s show, get to know the Soul Cypher performer better with these five facts.

  • He’s worked with and performed with various artists

    While cultivating his own musical career, he often collaborated with several artists in the soul realm, including Ari Lennox, Kaytranada, The Foreign Exchange, The Internet, and more.

  • Social media help him get a job with Erykah Badu

    In 2010, Durand began growing his online presence and fanbase after posting videos on Youtube of him singing, dancing, and sharing commentary on pop culture topics. Two years later, he released his second EP, 8ight: The Stepson of Erykah Badu, a compilation of Badu covers.

    Badu eventually caught wind of the project and messaged him through Twitter. She ultimately hired him as a background vocalist in her band Nedda Stella in 2011. He’s often spotted on tour with the neo-soul icon and folks like Anderson .Paak, and The Internet.

  • He’s starred on reality television

    If Durand looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen him on the BET reality music competition, The Next Big Thing. He didn’t win, but he managed to scoop up the runner-up spot.

  • He grew up in the music industry

    Durand was raised as an only child by his mother, a professional music teacher and vocal coach, and his father, an audio engineer. The latter worked with artists like  Rihanna, Jill Scott, and Whitney Houston. When he was 16, he joined his dad on tour with the legendary soul group Earth, Wind & Fire as a production assistant.

  • His sound is unique

    According to his bio, Durand’s sound has been coined as "Gangster Musical Theatre" by Qveen Herby. “Durand Bernarr is one-part Little Richard, one-part Rick James, plus a heavy dash of powerhouse vocals & witty lyrical storytelling.”

    The Soul Train Awards 2022 premieres Saturday, November 26 at 8 pm ET/PT on BET and BET Her.

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