A Lancaster singer broke out on Fox’s ‘I Can See Your Voice.’ Then what happened?
DaQwaylan Dunbar was a regular around Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville. After nailing it on national television, he’s looking ahead to what’s next.
When last we saw DaQwaylan Dunbar, he’d given a knockout vocal performance on the Fox network’s I Can See Your Voice.
His powerful voice played a part in contestant Frank Adams winning $100,000 for charity.
“It means a lot seeing you win like that,” Dunbar told Adams as the judges and Adams cried and celebrated.
That scene was taped a year ago. Since then, Dunbar, a Lancaster resident who grew up in Oak Cliff has done the unexpected: He’s gone quiet.
To protect the show’s audience from clues about his singing prowess, Dunbar said producers required him to temporarily take down his performances from social media. A voice that had range had to go silent on Instagram and other platforms until after the show aired in February.
It’s a tough ask for a 24-year-old performer whose passion is singing.
Before his game-show appearance, Dunbar was a regular at places like On Premises, BuzzBrews and The Free Man Cajun Cafe & Lounge in Deep Ellum or on Lower Greenville.
With just a “little old amp speaker and microphone” and help from his brother, Jaquail Malloy, and cousin, R.J., Lockett, Dunbar busked away.
Things changed when a shot at being on TV came along. Dunbar said one of Fox’s talent producers checked to determine his interest in appearing on the first season. But COVID-19 restrictions shelved the opportunity. Later, the same producer approached him again about the second season. Dunbar said yes, and headed to Hollywood for the taping.
The show’s premise: With $100,000 on the line, everyday contestants must determine whether performers are good or bad singers without hearing them sing a note. The contestants are given a series of clues, interrogations and lip-sync challenges. Actress Cheryl Hines and vocalist Adrienne Bailon-Houghton join host Ken Jeong and a rotating panel of celebrity detectives in advising contestants.
Dunbar appeared as a character named Groundskeeper, a former job of his, wearing a sun hat and carrying a rake. In the end, the contestant, Frank Adams, risked an all-or-nothing shot at Dunbar being a good singer.
He was. He and pop singer Rachel Platten then performed a duet of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, and Dunbar elicited an emotional response from those at the taping who absorbed his dynamic voice. A Fox spokeswoman confirmed that Adams invested his winnings into his personal training business, Xcelerate Sports Development, which puts on camps and clinics for young athletes in Marietta, Ga.
When the show finally aired on Feb. 16, Dunbar said it prompted a reaction from people who knew of his abilities.
“I was getting calls, but I had to turn a lot of stuff down,” he said. “I kind of went through a ghosting phase. I couldn’t show anything musically. I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God. There are so many shows I wanted to do.’
“I couldn’t do any cover videos or anything.”
But that’s over, and the show inspired him.
“I’m naturally a bashful guy. I’m very nervous,” he said. “But to actually do that on national television ... And to get the reaction that I did and everybody cheering and the cause of it at the end for [Adams] to win the hundred thousand dollars to help those kids.
“It lit something in me — that this is my passion. This is what I want to do. When I got home and everyone was proud of me, it was a feeling that I never felt before with me singing.”
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