When it comes to enduring musical legacies, it’s always inspiring when the melodic, grooving evergreen apples drop so close to the tree. The son and namesake of legendary singer, songwriter and record producer Lamont Dozier – one third of the famed Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting and production team – Lamont Dozier, Jr. grew up a child of Motown, steeped in and influenced by gospel, jazz and old-school R&B and immersing in the magic and creative mentorship of the likes of Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross.
More than simply living up to the promise of his unique lineage, he has forged a unique path towards his musical destiny. Since his first live performance at the age of 15, the Detroit born and raised, Las Vegas based Lamont has developed an extraordinary, multi-faceted career as a bandleader, club headliner and creative force behind the scenes, clocking studio time and sharing stages with everyone from The Temptations and Aretha Franklin to contemporary urban jazz greats Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Gregg Karukas and Greg Manning, and working on show productions featuring Jennifer Hudson and Jay Leno.
Over the past handful of years, he contributed backing vocals to three hit albums by Koz (including Summer Horns II: From A to Z) and dynamic leads on keyboardist David Garfield’s arrangement of “What You Won’t Do for Love” (from the 2018 collection Jammin’ Outside the Box). These projects and others paved the way for Lamont’s emergence now as a recording artist in his own right. With an eye towards releasing his debut EP Introducing Lamont Dozier, Jr. later in 2020, he is dropping his first two highly anticipated singles which showcase the full range of his artistry as a singer, songwriter and producer.
Lamont celebrates his dad’s formidable legacy (and that of his uncle, Grammy winning engineer Reggie Dozier) with his sensual, passionate old school soul twist on “Why Can’t We Be Lovers,” a cult classic and UK R&B hit by Holland-Dozier (Lamont Sr. with Brian Holland) whose original version was released by the trio’s independent label Invictus Records in 1972. The track features a handful of top pop, soul and jazz musicians that Lamont Jr. has worked with since moving to L.A. in the mid-2000s, including Alex Al (bass), Kevin Flournoy (keyboards/producer), Darrell Crooks (guitar) Donald Barrett (drums) and Munyungo Jackson (percussion).
For his initial rollout, Lamont is pairing “Why Can’t We Be Lovers” with his original song, “I’m Gonna Take My Time,” a hip, dreamy and heartfelt contemporary R&B ballad about a guy who’s rushing home to his loved one “at the speed of sound,” promising to get there as soon as possible so he can slow back down and love her up. The track features Al (bass), Flournoy (keys), Jackson (percussion), Crooks (guitar) and Eric Valentine (drums), with backing vocals by Kevin Dorsey (who created the vocal arrangements) and Monet Owens, and additional ad libs by Anja Nissen, winner of Season 3 of “The Voice” Australia.
The two tracks Lamont plans to release later as part of the EP are the brass-fired, mid-tempo funked-up original love song “I’ll Be Here Waiting” and a lush re-imagining of Todd Rundgren’s 1972 classic “Hello It’s Me,” whose sensual vibe harkens back to The Isley Brothers’ memorable version.
“Even with me getting started as an artist later in my career, it made sense to honor and pay tribute to the incredible bodies of work and musical trails that my dad and uncle blazed for me and so many others,” Lamont says. “Sharing the original song is my way of keeping the legacy of great soul music going, because I’ve always felt to be a true artist you have to bring great new music to the people. This dual single release pays homage to the music that predicated me while allowing me to get in the spirit of where soul and R&B are today.
“I come from a real gutsy soul man tradition, and both tracks were done purely old school, with no samples and all live with just a few overdubs,” he adds. “One very positive element of waiting until this point in my life to develop my solo artistry is that in this new era of streaming, independent artists have more creative control of their careers than they did back in my dad’s heyday and during the era when major labels ran everything. I’m confident that when music comes from the heart, it finds an audience – which in my case will be old soul heads and younger folks who appreciate authenticity in modern music.”
Lamont grew up singing in church choirs under the tutelage of his mother, musician, choir director and former Motown alumna Elizabeth Ann Dozier. He began developing his performance chops as part of the Detroit Council of the Arts program for young people,which put him under the tutelage of both popular jazz vocalists and professional local dancers. Beyond singing for local audiences, he made his initial splash singing a cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland penned Four Tops hit “Standing the Shadows of Love” as a contest finalist on the syndicated radio show “Saturday Night Music Machine.” Launching his career in Detroit leading the soul-jazz band Déjà-Vu for three years and playing lead roles in musicals like “The Wiz,” Lamont developed his multitude of talents living in Atlanta in the 90s before finding a true home in the bustling music scene of Los Angeles.
After joining the reformed R&B group LTD and contributing six songs for an album project, he began sitting in and then headlining at the suburban L.A. R&B/jazz hotspot Café Cordiale, where he vibed for years with some of the area’s top session musicians and contemporary jazz artists. In addition to headlining the top jazz clubs Catalina Bar & Grill and Vibrato, Lamont later scored a two-year gig at the Beverly Hills Hotel with a band featuring bassists Leslie King, alternating drummers Donnell Spencer and Eric Valentine and guest musicians and future Billboard charting smooth jazz stars, guitarist Adam Hawley and keyboardist Greg Manning.
In addition to working with Stan Sargeant, appearing as a featured vocalist on the track “More” from the bassist’s 2014 album Connection, Lamont has also performed with the “WE CARE TRIBE,” a local group of singers and musicians that raises funds and calls to attention the crisis of homelessness in the Los Angeles area.
“I may be a fresh face to some, a familiar voice to others, but my main goal is to keep real music alive and thriving,” Lamont says. “Because of how and where I grew up, I have a unique orientation on what makes an artist – and I want to be one on the level of those like my dad whom I’ve admired my whole life. I want to keep that legacy going, and I am unapologetically a soul guy. I’m having a lot of fun because releasing songs nobody’s heard before is like birthing a baby, bringing special gifts to life that I hope can touch and bring joy and healing to people everywhere.”