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Backstage with Elias: Drea D’Nur

Drea-D-Nur-Buffalo-NY-4Through the years, working with live music and musicians, I have crossed paths with many artists as they started their careers. Such is the case with Drea D’Nur. The first time with her was about 10 years ago at the former Forbes Theater. She performed her original music, and was very ambitious. Fast forward to today, the ambition is still there, so is the talent, so is the original music. A hard worker, and mother of 5, she has grinded out a path where many are noticing the quality of the artistry she possesses. The music rooted in Marleyesque reggae, Buffalo style funk, and lyrics with a social conscience.

Drea started singing at around the age of 4 in church. She followed on that path. She sang with her school chorus, but mostly church. Drea recorded some original numbers at the age of 15. She recorded at Audio Magic, and the work was produced by Reggie Evans. That was also where she met the great Jerry Livingston on bass. Jerry continues to perform with Drea on certain gigs today.

At around 21 years of age, she began to perform beyond church. Her first gigs were at Le Metro on Elmwood. She sang with Mike DiSanto. Since that time, Drea would continue to write, record, and perform, not just in Buffalo, but many other places around the country and the world. “I have done shows in Atlanta, New York, DC, North and South Carolina, New Jersey. I’ve performed in Germany,” she shares with me.

Drea-D-Nur-Buffalo-NY-3At this point, she has 4 albums out. The last two are “Day of D’Nur”, and the most recent release is “The Nur EP” are available on Bandcamp, and iTunes. The newest music video called “Break Me Down” will premiere tomorrow morning on A.M. Buffalo. It was locally shot. “A lot of people locally came together to make it”, she says. Her words touch on social injustices, and perseverance within our society. She tells me, “Instead of talking about it I wanted to retell the story, with a positive twist. Some of our country’s most tragic events have happened within the last few years. This involved people like Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin. There was more than what the media reported. I want to tell it positively, with the spirit of resilience.” For as long as art has been alive, tragic moments have inspired musicians, poets, artists. Drea has been inspired to write and record music with a conscience, and a powerful message.

But what makes Drea’s story even more inspiring is that she’s grinding while raising her children. “It’s important for me to say I am a mommy of five,” she says. “We still have dreams. We have to stay connected to God to make the dreams happen. That will inspire the children too.” An inspiration to women also, urging them to pursue their dreams, to show that kids should not stop you from reaching your goals. To pursue it with the spirit of resilience. She has put herself in a great place to reach the next level musically, and inspire her children and audiences alike.


Drea is focusing on recording, and also has some notable performances coming up. In November, she will be performing live at the Apollo in Harlem for Harry Belafonte with her husband, hip hop artist Quadir Lateef, then in Atlanta for a cast reunion event for the film “Selma”.

So many qualities come to mind when I think of Drea’s career. Perseverance, resilience, righteousness. She is also a great entertainer, and songwriter. Throw determination into the mix, and you have a career seeking the next opportunity on the path to success.

Follow Drea here:

Photo by Nathyia Jackson of Media World Order Photography


Written by Elias Benavides

Elias Benavides

A goofy kid from Buffalo's lower west side who loved to play the guitar and loved live music. Has moved on to sound engineering, stage lighting, anything live music. Now he's writing about musicians on BR too. Why am I talking in the third person?

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