HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Once again singer-songwriter, Destani Wolf offers impeccable vocal prowess as a conduit for spiritual awakening on her ‘PEEK AWAY’ EP. Drawing on nuances of Blues explored as part of her musical foundation, this collection of six (6) brand new songs finds the Berkeley raised, LA-based songstress arriving at an evolved take on her signature soul-step.
Take one listen to her emotionally powerful and melodic vocals, through songs laden with orchestral-strings such as on “Nothing but the Best” or “Peek Away”, there’s no mistaking the SOUL in her DNA. Her organic nu soul sound reflects her upbringing in and around the rich diversity of the Bay Area’s multi-cultural society, where her earliest encounter with music was through the influence of both her parents’ vinyl collection including Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Los Panchos, Bob Marley and others. Music brought the voice out of her as a child and continues to propel her creativity as a vocalist, a true natural born talent.
Fast-forward to today, and with two baby boys she’s brought into this world, Destani Wolf has become a strong and multi-layered woman. Positive in spirit and with the guidance from her mentor, Blues guitarist/composer Johnny Tolbert (Sam Cooke, Etta James, T. Bone Walker, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland) – who also taught her the Blues and helped her record her first demo, her journey continues onward towards a career-path enriched with organic, retro and nu soul. On ‘PEEK AWAY’, soaring soundscapes underlay the interwoven retro-futurism of nu soul and 70s funk on “Why Should I Stay” and “Uprising (Do-it!)”, making her 6-pack solid.
Whether opening for Alice Smith or Laura Mvula at San Francisco’s ‘The Independent’, performing live with the likes of Seal and the SF Symphony, UK’s Alice Russell on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ or gracing the stage with shows in New York (‘Lincoln Center’, ‘Joe’s Pub’), San Francisco Bay (‘Yoshi’s, ‘Bimbos’, ‘Stern Grove Festival’) and Los Angeles (‘LACMA’, ‘Sonos Studio’, ‘UCLA Jazz Reggae Fest’), Destani — who also writes songs and sings in Spanish, has recordings on two Grammy-nominated Latin Jazz LPs (John Santos ‘S.F. BAY’ and Jose Rizo’s ‘MONGORAMA’). She also contributed vocals for the songs “Crossroads” and “Live like a Warrior” by Jewish-American, reggae-emcee Matisyahu while working with producer Kool Kojak (Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida, Ke$ha), and has also lent her voice to other projects with Artists such as Seu Jorge, Zap Mama, Quantic, SoVosó (Bobby McFerrin offshoot), Bay Area favorite, O-maya and The Pharcyde. Her solo debut LP ‘AGAIN and AGAIN’ (‘06) still remains an underground classic of edgy soul.
Destani was and still is ALWAYS ready to sing – anywhere or anytime. Free styling with ease, she’ll move any crowd, or even is known to surprise audiences by throwing in her ‘invisible band’ of trumpeters and drummers via her skillfully crafted, improvisational human a cappella beats! More evident on this EP though, Destani (LIVE) has an ability to touch the audience by her heartfelt delivery of REAL elements for the listener. On ‘PEEK AWAY’, if there were ever such a connecting force for one to pause, or possibly cause tears to outpour, it’d unmistakably be “Your Love for Me” – rich in thankful, appreciative love.
Vocally blessed, Destani’s discovered her vocal ability as more of a functional role, whether it’s fueling more honesty for family and close peers at events, or for society and her community in order to raise awareness on life’s layers, love matters and those inspirational truths. “I feel blessed that music travels through me, and I feel like it’s something I want to share, and I need to share,” Destani affirms. “My voice is a powerful way to unite people and that’s the thing about music, it heals and it funnels energy. I carry my voice everywhere I go, that’s a gift.”
There’s an inherent religiosity in the interplay between life + love. When Destani reflects on each song’s meaning (below) you’ll realize that there’s an unending cycle of life + love that’s sometimes beyond our emotional withstanding. Even if we’re reluctant to accept, life + love does reveal our innermost feelings. That’s why her ‘PEEK AWAY’ EP gives the listener a chance at hope, an outlet to cope and a positive window into beginning to be healed. But of course, Destani breaks it down the best…
♡ “Your Love for Me”
One of the joys I’ve been lucky to have experienced is being able to express a part of my heart in song. This song is a true dedication of how much I love my parents and how appreciative of them I am for the inspiration they’ve given me and continue to give me everyday. So to have it documented and for them to be able to hear it, for them to appreciate it, for them to be touched by it, that means the world to me.
♂ “Nothing but the Best”
I became a parent and in order to be a mom that could also fulfill my dream and keep doing what I do, I had to incorporate what I do into my life, my new life with my new family. So with my son during his nap time, I would put him in the car-seat, he’d fall asleep, I’d drive to the beach, park at the side of the road by the surfers on the PCH, and open all the windows and just sit and play my guitar on the rocks while he was sleeping and write new songs like this song – about him, or at least being a parent.
☆ “Uprising (Do it!)”
I wrote this song – the melody and all the lyrics in one drop! It was like it just flowed outta me. Most people live by their fears, they’re so afraid of what might happen – future of the unknown. Afraid to fail, or even of success. This song is addressing that fear; to live in that present moment, take a risk on you because ultimately, if you don’t live to your fullest potential, you’ll never know. Fearing the future when the future is not real? Only the present is real. A reminder to myself too. I wanna see people live to their full potential.
☯ “Hard for Him”
“Hard for Him” is one of those emotional stories of a desperation of yearning or needing more than what she’s getting. Also wanting what she felt was perpetually there. It’s about that struggle for needing more than what you’re getting but still having the hope of the potential of the power + love that exists within this person. It’s something she knows he has.
☼ “Peek Away”
Another reminder for me that, it’s not that I always feel this peace, it’s that I have to create it. So for me, “Peek Away” is about peeking away from everything that is in your face and creating a space to find peace. Yea sure, you gotta handle your business, but at the same time, that business is taking care of itself. So find your own strength in who you are, the beauty of your life and your own spiritual path.
✈ “Why Should I Stay Around”
“Why Should I Stay Around” acknowledges a moment of real life – of needing to question; of needing to heal; to regain trust. Ultimately, the beauty of music is, people make their own interpretations. Which is what I wanna do, I want people to be able to feel their own lives in my songs. You know Joni Mitchell had a quote which was something like, ‘the thing about it is, if you hear the music and you see me, you’re not getting anything out of it. If you listen to that music and see yourself, it’ll probably make you cry and you’ll learn something about yourself and now you’re getting something out of it.’ I could totally relate to that.
Written by Marlon Regis