Singer-songwriter Apropos, who splits his time between Detroit and London, discusses his new album and how he caught the ear of Elton John.
By Taylor Morris
When international recording artist Apropos started in the music industry, he wanted people to know his music wasn’t for just one genre or audience, but many. As his name suggests, Apropos says his music is appropriate for any situation or mood.
“I pertain to so many different genres,” he says. “I can do rock, hip-hop, pop. I think I am just very apropos to music in general.”
Apropos, 29, moved from Baltimore to Detroit in 1991 after his father passed. Apropos — whose real name is Austin Dunsen — started playing piano at age 7. The son of a minister, Apropos spent most of his youth in church performing gospel music. By the time he turned 10, he was learning classical and creating his own pieces.
“I just fell in love with rock, blues (and) old-school…like Motown music,” he says.
In 2010, he became the lead singer of the Detroit band Soul Divide. He says he enjoyed the role and learned a lot about stage presence and performances. Although the band eventually broke up, Apropos says it made him realize he wanted to pursue music full time.
“We had an awesome run. We released an album, played at some colleges and made a great name for us in the city,” he says. “I knew music was what I wanted to do as a career, no matter what. As soon as we parted ways, I started to write solo music. Apropos soon came to life.”
Before that, Apropos worked as a car salesman. Nearly four months after leaving the automotive industry, he signed with Iamsound Records and Beverly Martel Music.
Now, Apropos splits his time between the Motor City and the United Kingdom. He produced a music video and most of his recordings in London. Apropos released his new album “(Verse)atility” in November, capturing the attention of some of the biggest names in the business. His single “Talk Like That” featuring Isaiah Dreads was even played on Elton John’s radio show, “Rocket Hour,” a Beats 1 radio show on Apple Music. The song was also added to the official Elton John Loves Spotify playlist.
Apropos says his music inspirations include Marvin Gaye, Prince, Michael Jackson and James Brown. His biggest challenge working in the music industry, he adds, has been collaborating with other local artists. “We all need to set our egos aside and come together with our talents,” he says. “Instead of worrying about followers, streaming numbers and whose song sounds better, let’s lift each other up and climb to the top with each other’s help.”
Apropos also strives to give back to the community. He recently raised $2,000 for Cass Community Social Services through Empty Bowls Detroit, bowl painting workshops that raise money for CCSS programs. He also plans to perform at their annual event in Eastern Market on March 8.
Birmingham resident Spencer Hayes, a public relations professional and managing partner of Apropos Music LLC, met Apropos nearly a decade ago. He says he always knew Apropos had a transcendent level of talent, but the amount of work and dedication he’s displayed since they started working together has been remarkable.
“I still remember watching him perform for the first time. I imagine it was probably like seeing a young LeBron James at an Ohio playground or Meryl Streep in her high school play,” Hayes says. “When he came to me in the summer of 2017 and asked me to help him launch his solo career, it was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made.”