"I had been going down a bad spiral where things were not really looking good for me," he said. "I had to make a decision." With a friend from Florida, the pair moved to Smyrna where Dunbar said he started his journey.
Dunbar said his parents' divorce when he was 12 had a major effect on his life. He said he went from participating in choir and playing trombone at a good elementary school to attending middle and high school filled with violence.
"At my middle school, certainly carrying a trombone was not a cool thing unless it was used as a weapon," he said.
As an adult, he said he heard good things about Georgia and people coming here to get their lives together. Although he was able to find a job, a gift in 2004 allowed him to pursue music again.
At the time, Dunbar was forming an R&B band with his roommate. However, he wasn't happy.
"We were very stagnant," he said. "Rather than me blaming anyone for what I'm not doing, I just used to probably show a lot of conviction about wishing I could contribute musically."
He reminisced on a childhood friend's brother who played guitar. Dunbar said they would play together, citing guitar as one of the main things that kept him out of trouble.
He was able to rekindle those memories with the presentation of the guitar, given to him on his birthday in 2004 by his friend, Amanda Moore.
"It changed my life," Dunbar said, "No one has done anything like that for me ever, and I don't think I stopped playing my guitar after that."
The musician said he began to participate in open mic nights in Marietta and Kennesaw. After five years of performing, he said he began to gain popularity in the area. He said he was able to meet many people in the area, especially a lot of young talented students.
Another person he met was producer Zak Jordan, someone he recorded with years earlier. An accidental phone call gave Dunbar another chance to fulfill his musical goals. Dunbar meant to call another person of the same first name but with Jordan on the other end, he took advantage of the opportunity. The pair began to start sharing ideas and thoughts about the music.
"It just happened instantaneously like that," Dunbar said. "(Jordan) took (the record) to another place."
Tony Copley also worked with Jordan on producing "Apples to Peaches" and it was mixed and mastered by Grammy winner Don McCollister. The album was released in March and is also available on iTunes.
Dunbar said he has been compared to artists such as Hootie & the Blowfish, John Mayer and Jon Popper from Blues Traveler. As a child, he said he listed to a variety of artists ranging from Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, the O'Jays and Pet Shop Boys. As an artist, he says he appreciates the variety of comparisons he receives regarding his music.
"Those are the types of boundaries I want to cross," he said. "With me being black and showing the diversity of what music can do to bridge those grounds. "
Dunbar said he couldn't be happier about how people of all races and cultures give his music a chance.
"I get love from every color of the spectrum," he said. "That's what I wanted to achieve."
Dunbar will perform Friday at Mellow Mushroom, located at 1133 Chastain Road in Kennesaw, at 8:30 p.m. There is no charge. So what can people expect?
"Everything is definitely about the live show," Dunbar said. "I definitely get animated in my performances. I'm not a 'sit-on-the-bench' guitar player."
He said he gives people something different from each song and there is something for everyone. He said performing is his chance to show his appreciation.
"I hope that every time I'm performing, that's what perpetuates to the people (who) are listening," he said.
For more on the artist, visit www.kevindunbarmusic.com.