Duawne Starling, a tenor and contemporary Christian artist, songwriter, and producer, launched his career as a soloist in 2004 with his CD Inside Out. Prior to this, he had been a background singer since 1991 with some of gospel music's best-known singers, working with Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Nicole C. Mullen, Michael W. Smith, Dolly Parton, Michael McDonald, Kelly Price, and many others.
Duawne was born in Petersburg, Virginia, where he lived until he left at age thirteen to attend boarding school. Music was an important part of his childhood. Both his mother and father were musical, his mother being a fan of gospel music and Mahalia Jackson and his father being a member of a quartet. Duawne would later observe that when he lost his father because of cancer at age seven, "Music became my freedom from reality."
A classically trained musician, Starling took voice lessons all through his high school and college years. He attended Oakwood College, now University, from 1990 to 1992, where he was a vocal performance major. He then attended Middle Tennessee State University, completing a BA in recording industry management in 1994.
With this training and the use of traditional vocalises as he physically matured, he was able to develop his voice and extend his range. In furthering his spiritual development for the role in spiritual and music ministry that he seeks to fill today, he completed an MA in religious studies at the Howard University School of Divinity in 2005.
He has described his CD as a musical autobiography of the last decade of his life, with the exception of one song about his father. Each song captures the different experiences he has had in a spiritual journey that today enables him to minister with a natural empathy to those who need encouragement and are looking for spiritual peace.
Reger Smith, Jr., "In All Directions," Adventist Review, May 2005; Online Sources.