“My dad’s [been] a football coach (since age 24 at the college level), among [wearing] many other hats, so he knows how crucial a “team mentality” is for success in life,” says Denny Rodney. “This has been our foundation for relating to one another.”
Having the Duron parents instill such a mentality within their children helped ease the growing pains a bit, although family members willingly admit the household had its moments of natural strain. “We came from a very normal home and my mom is very realistic,” recalls DawnChere’. “She wrote a song called “Best Buddies” as a fun yet real battle cry for us to really care about each other and be life long best friends.”
Singing and songwriting are certainly nothing new for Duron who joined their mother (a former Los Angeles studio musician and professional vocalist) in recording various tracks for the Family Club Partners’ national mail out tape series.
“We grew up with ear phones on and laying ‘just one more chorus’ before going to football or baseball practice or Wednesday night church,” says D-Rod in relation to childhood for he and fellow siblings Destiny, DawnChere’, Dez, David Dee, and Dakota. “It was just a way of life.”
Although it may have been a regular occurrence in these youngsters’ lives, it was far from a recurring chore or bothersome routine. “Going into the studio every month and making monthly tapes was so much fun, but it was even greater to see the reactions on people’s faces when we performed them live,” adds DawnChere’. “We went from city to city so much when I was growing up and it was always exciting to meet new people.”
Along with the experience of traveling came the formation of many close relationships with others involved in music related ministry (including members of the group The Katinas). Forming relationships with such seasoned professionals not only gave the family a source of fellowship on the road, but also provided them with the resources and contacts to take their music to the next level. “Getting to work with The Katinas was absolutely incredible,” enthuses D-Rod. “They are brilliant in the studio, on stage, and amazing friends and role models who we really look up to.”
Come 2000, such meetings proved particularly fruitful for DawnChere’, who was the first of the siblings to explore additional recording options. “I had an opportunity to sign with a label as a solo artist,” explains DawnChere’. “I was able to work with some great producers, like Tony Palacios and Michael Omartian, as well as writing together. It was a fabulous experience.”
However, a similar opportunity soon arose for D-Rod and Dez that same summer when the Katinas began production on a project for them in Nashville. Such a plan intrigued DawnChere’, who soon felt called to join them in the studio. “I really wanted to sing with them again and I didn’t care about contracts,” she remembers. “My heart was with my brothers.”
After some internal changes within their initial label’s structure and subsequently their current home Crowne Music, main producer David Byerley combined the best of those two sessions (also featuring production work from Palacios, Kevan Cyka and Chris Omartian) into the Silver Lining project, set for official release October 29.
The full-length, slicky produced, teen friendly album places Duron in between the modern dance flavored pop sound of the A-Teens and the light hearted funk of the Jackson Five. Highlights from the disc include the vivaciously pulsating title track “Silver Lining,” the soft and tender love song “The One Who Waits” (DawnChere’s first crack at songwriting) and the hip-hop laden “Make Me Over.”
The messages are also solid, like the reminder that God always watches over his children (“Angels”), the need to keep faith first in one’s life over any fleeting relationships or possessions (“You and Only You”) and the autobiographical “All Together,” chronicling the families’ unity. Lyrics like “My brother, you help me see/ I don’t walk this path alone/ Together we will be all we can be/So come together, live in unity” are instantly memorable and overwhelmingly infectious.
“We want to reach our generation with the message that family is so important,” confirms DawnChere’. “A lot of times, people my age don’t realize what great relationships they could have with their families and we want to encourage them that it’s never to late to start them.”
Another way Duron wants to influence their peers is by stressing the importance of using discretion when making friends, keeping their relationship with God at the center of those decisions. “So many people our age look for good relationships with their friends and are always trying to be with the ‘in crowd,’” explains D-Rod. “A lot of times, those friendships lead people into doing the wrong thing. We’d rather see our peers stay close to God and think about who they hang out with.”
In the meantime, the trio is making sure they put their best musical foot forward to convey such agendas, while following their own advice when it comes to relationships with family and friends. Plus, they’re genuinely excited to live the aspirations they all have in common.
“I’ve always wanted to sing, so getting to do this with D-Rod and DawnChere’ is truly a dream come true,” notes Dez, also a member of his church’s praise team, a Student Council president, football quarterback, and active member in his school’s drama department. “Our parents have always been the ones who told us to never give up and to see things through to the end and we’ll continue to do that.”
Even closer to home for the members of Duron is the fact that their mom’s prayer (as expressed in the song “Best Buddies”) has finally come full circle. “We love each other as family, but we are also the closest of friends,” beams DawnChere’. “I can’t wait to start traveling as Duron with my brothers and get on stage every night to share the songs that we believe in and worked on together.”