Band Member Darius Fitzgerald Talks Living His Dreams with Family

The New Respects (cred: Cedrick Jones)

Performing together as adolescence, The New Respects is a Nashville-based soul/pop/rock band set to uplift audiences with their throwback sound and catchy hooks.

The trio (leader singers Sandy Mowry, her brother Darius Fitzgerald, and their cousin and lead vocalist Jasmine Mullen) first debuted in 2017 with a five-song EP, “Here Comes Trouble”. The EP launched them into the national spotlight with the breakout song, “Trouble,” which garnered over two million streams and received sync placements with Fox Sports, ESPN and TNT. Their sophomore album, “Before the Sun Goes Down” continued their rising stardom, followed by the release of their single, “No Drama,” in 2018. Their touring was halted the following year due to the pandemic, however, The New Respects spent the time working on new music, released an acoustic EP “Don’t Panic” in 2022, and are set to releasing their new album next year.

Recently, on August 27th, The New Respects has the honor of celebrating the 15th anniversary of The Levitt in MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, for their celebration of dedicating free and all age-concerts for the community for over a decade.

The Los Angeles Sentinel had the pleasure of interviewing The New Respect’s Darius Fitzgerald, where he discussed the genesis of the band, their recent performance, as well as their venture into new sounds with their new projects coming out.

The Los Angeles Sentinel: How did The New Respects get started?

Darius Fitzgerald: We started in high school. We’re from Nashville, Tennessee, where bands are, like, everywhere…and music is everywhere. We all grew up together, and we were in a song together, and people were, like, “yall should be a band!” And we eventually jumped into it in high school. I started practicing and writing songs all the time, and then we got signed shortly after. That kind of started our career; we began touring and all that jazz. And we’ve been going at it since then. We’re going on 10/11 years, which is crazy.

LAS: Yea it is! So,  you all loved music before you started the band?

DF: It was different for everybody. I did, but it was more from like a production side, and just like being a musician. I didn’t see being in the band in a card for me. Jasmine’s parents are songwriters, so she’d grown up viewing It from a behind-the-scenes perspective. She also wrote some plays and musicals in high school. I think Sandy was the only one that, like, saw herself on stages. She’s our guitarist, but once she got her hands on stage she knew this was what she wanted to do.

(2) The New Respects at the Levitt in MacArthur Park (courtesy photo)

LAS: Your band is mostly family. What are the benefits of living out this dream with family, and people you’ve known for so long?

DF: I think having a sister and girl cousin on the road helps me, just personally, with my emotional development. You have to have a lot of harder conversations, and they were better at having them so I learned a lot. But also there’s this that we have each other’s back at the end of the day. Like I remember when we first started, we’re like, at the end of the day, family is first so if that ever gets in the way of that, then we’re done. And so kind of having that trust and having those years together before we became like business partners made things easier because we knew we always had the best intentions for each other. There’s just that history their; we don’t have to figure out people’s intentions we just know what it is.

LAS: Is there a certain intention behind your music? How do you want it to reach people?

DF: Ultimately, we want people to feel good. There’s a heaviness in the world. And there’s a lot of heavy music in the world, and heavy art in general. So I think we just want to add a little bit of positivity back into our lives, get people dancing again. I feel like we lost some of that. If you look back at like, the 70s. People were like dancing hard at concerts. Our goal is to get people to be in the moment…to be dancing with your friends. And if it becomes a house party, then that’s ultimately what we want, which is people thinking in a positive way, thinking about each other in a positive way. And just add more light to the world.

LAS: And you’re working on a new album. What should fans look forward to, in this album, that they haven’t seen before?

DF: I think we’re just, we’ve matured, and we figured out our voice a little bit more. So, this is kind of vague, but I think it’ll be more of us if that makes sense. Our first record, we record it when were super young, and we are with the label, so there’s just a lot of more voices in the pot. And with this next project, we’re self-producing, so we have the creative control. We want it to just be us because that’s what we figured is working the most. So we want to bring that energy and that joy into our next project.

LAS:  And what do you have any goals with this new album?

DF: Just refine and get better continuously—grow as musicians, as people, as artists, and figure out to best connect with our fans and grow with our TNR family a little more. We plan on coming out of 2023 swinging.

You can keep up to date on The New Respects on their website or follow their Instagram (@thenewrespects).