With a voice so smooth and trance-like the painful experiences DWY is singing about on “Latchkey” are easy to miss.
His art embodies the poignancy of human existence as seen through the lens of a black man. The succinct soundbite explores the idea of a lonely boy who has gotten involved with the wrong crowd and is trying to navigate a world that is a little less forgiving when you’re black.
DWY’s decision to tackle what many would consider to be a polarising topic can perhaps be attributed to knowledge gained throughout his transatlantic upbringing.
Born in the US and London-raised, DWY has positioned himself as one of R&B unafraid to speak on the subjects that can at times be uncomfortable. Using nuanced lyricism and catchy hooks as his tools of expression the multi-instrumentalist’s work is often littered with emotion and personal truths.
Following suit “Latchkey” is an introspective alternative R&B track, with a clear Frank Ocean influence that is effortlessly gripping.
In the hook DWY echos a warning given to him by his mother in the lines:
But your mama says, be careful of the shooter…when you Black they want your future.
which spotlights the fear-inducing reality many black Americans face in their day-to-day.
Speaking on the single DWY shared:
The visual for latchkey was inspired by the story of the character of the song. He was a lonely latchkey kid, his parents were never home, he was suffering depression and was looking for escapism. I then found this parallel with my own mental state in the beginning of the lockdown. I was feeling lonely, frustrated, isolated and needed an outlet, so I put our two stories together. His story ended sadder than mine, and what I really wanted to say is “check on your friends, make sure they’re good” because this kid was on the edge and nobody knew.”
While DWY’s delivery incorporated an array of hushed tones and hypnotic melodies, his message was heard loud and clear.
Watch the “Latchkey” visuals here:
Photo credit: Brandon Fuller