What initially drew you to Detroit and what made you choose to stay?
Coming to Detroit at the tender age of 10, Wayne had originally thought that Detroit was a state. In quickly getting settled into the Detroit-specific brand of jazz, Wayne recounts that "learning music was my attachment to the city" because as a kid "all I had to pay for was a set of drum sticks." Even after all these years, Wayne still states that "I'm not going anywhere." However, this time, it's for different reasons. Working in the Osborn neighborhood as a program manager, he states that "this is when I became awoke" because this was the first opportunity to be home in the sense of sustainably contributing to his community.
How would you describe your musical taste and style?
Wayne's musical taste is a mixture of "R&B, hip-hop fusion, with some jazz." It's derived from two major influences: a crush when he was 8 years old and a music instructor when he was 12 years old. With this University of Miami college girl taking Wayne out with her, whether it be to meet up with her friends or for a car wash, 8 year old Wayne naturally took a liking to her. It just so happened to be that her favorite tunes were 90's hip hop. The other major factor was his percussions teacher Gayelynn Mckinney. With Wayne's mother working at the restaurant Ms. Mckinney and her band Straight Ahead played at, his mother got Wayne drum lessons for his 12th birthday. From then on, Ms. Mckinney and Wayne cultivated a collaborative relationship where not only did Mckinney employ Wayne since the age of 16, but Wayne's musical technique and sound also became more akin to that of Mckinney's.
Music is such a huge part of your identity. Who is Wayne beyond music and Build?
As Wayne briefly describes it "I'm a person of wisdom and an OG in training" What Wayne means by this is that he values older people who are skilled at their craft.
What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome?
Death. Having almost died twice, both from major allergic reactions to peanuts, these experiences have given Wayne a whole different outlook on life. For example, having not realized that a chicken dish was crusted with pecans at his friend's wedding, he decided to dig in. After going into anaphylactic shock and what Wayne described as "breathing through a coffeestir straw," he reached the tipping point in which he reflects, "Do I do everything in my power to keep living or do I let go and hope it work out?" In fighting through these near-death experiences, Wayne has learned not just how precious each day is, but that when things aren't going his way, he keeps in mind that "things could be worse."
What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
Wayne is most proud of having the chance to travel to Turkmenistan as part of a State Department program. He is extremely proud of this accomplishment not only because their band--Mahogany Jones Live--was personally requested by the U.S. State Department, but it was also a matter of who accompanied him on the trip. MC Mahogany Jones had been a long-time acquaintance of Wayne's; it was through this trip that they were able to fully collaborate and understand each other on a musical level. The final reason why he takes such pride in this accomplishment is the fact that this trip was to a more reclusive part of central Asia. With this being Wayne's first international tour, he had an amazing cultural experience. This can be summed up in the statement, "The people left a mark on me."
How do you describe social entrepreneurship?
Initially, Wayne described social entrepreneurship as "something that has been trending recently." Upon further reflection, Wayne concluded that most entrepreneurs have a social component. Wayne does point out, however, that social entrepreneurs not only put an emphasis on triple bottom line, they are also more cognizant of the fact that "small businesses have potential to make a large difference." Therefore, Wayne believes that the collaborative culture in Detroit has bred this type of non-profit organization that is looking to for some form of reliable earned income.