Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Lamont Dozier Jr is NOT Trying to Walk in His Legendary Father’s Footsteps

lamont dozier jr - lamont dozier sr
Lamont Dozier Jr and Lamont Dozier Sr.

*In a telephone interview prior to his concert at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood this past July, Michael Henderson mentioned a performance of Lamont Dozier’s, “Why Can’t We Be Lovers” would be part of the evening.  Being the old school junkie that I am, I was excited and looked forward to seeing Lamont Dozier.  I was a tad surprised when Michael introduced Lamont Dozier Jr.  What?!  Who the heck?!

As soon as he started singing, I knew Jr. had something.  I was drawn to his voice.  I could not explain the instant attraction, but decided his voice felt comfortable and familiar.  I had never heard of him and since he is well beyond 21 years of age, I decided he must have been around and I just had not heard of him.  Anything is possible.  After the Michael Henderson concert, my search to find out the who’s and what’s of the son of one-third of the most successful writing/producing trios in the history of music, specifically Motown music, began.  (Dad is one-third of the famed Holland/Dozier/Holland Motown writing/producing team who turned out 28 hits in the early Motown days.)

After scouring the Internet, I discovered a few things, one of which is Lamont Dozier Jr. is no newbie to the music industry.  He has been around for a minute, is a songwriter, a session singer and although he dabbled in the music business since the 1980’s, for the past 14 years he has consistently performed in various venues around the Los Angeles area.  With chops like his and name recognition, I was wondering why he was not a household name.   Lamont and I had a telephone interview, in which he graciously indulged my questions.

lamont dozier jr - on stage
LaMont Dozier Jr on stage

Lamont Dozier Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, is the second of Lamont Sr’s six children and spent his early years hanging around Motown because according to him, if he wanted to see his father, that is where he had to be, because his dad spent so much time there.

Although you can clearly hear Lamont’s musical roots are grounded in soul and jazz, what you do not hear is a Motown sound.  That is not a coincidence.  Lamont Jr is not looking to stand on his father’s shoulders or his accomplishments.  I began our conversation by asking, “Who are you?  Who are you musically?  How long have you been in the business?  How did you get started and bottom line, with a voice like yours, where the heck have you been?!”  It was very telling when Lamont spoke lovingly about his mother and her influence on him musically.  His mother was a music teacher, who classically trained him on the piano.   That in addition to singing and playing in church, with his mother and entering a music program as a teenager, formed the basis of his musical style.  Although Lamont mentioned, “what was going on with my father” when speaking about what contributed to his coming into his musical style, it was obvious that his mother was the driving force behind him musically.  His dad moved to Los Angeles in 1972, when Lamont was still young.

Lamont moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to pursue music full time.  Since relocating, in addition to performing around Los Angeles, he has had his fair share of work, including teaming with Dave Koz, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot and Kenny Latimore and writing six songs for an LTD reunion album that never materialized.  He can currently be heard on keyboardist David Garfield’s, George Benson’s Musical Director’s, latest album, “Jammin – Outside the Box,” singing lead vocals on “What You Won’t Do for Love,” a song made famous by Bobby Caldwell.   He is also working on his first album, due for release at the beginning of 2019.

We all know there are talented singers and songwriters that never get their big break.  I was wondering if Lamont Jr was someone who never had his big break or wasn’t wanting a big break.  Lamont shared, “I must admit from an entertainment standpoint, I’ve been just hovering below the radar.  I have performed quite a bit, but I have not stepped out front and that is gonna change as we move forward in the near future because for the first time I will be coming out as an artist singing my own material.”  He went on to say, “I had a lot of preparation doing other things and working with so many talented people.  It’s given me a little bit of confidence that’s going to be needed to go out there and put your own vision in front of an audience.”  He said he wanted to learn his is craft before he put himself out there and is now “well prepared for what is coming.”

When asked how being Lamont Dozier Jr has helped or hurt him in his career, he responded, “I think the harm or help comes from the offspring themselves and how they deal with that.”  He may be the son of a famous person in the industry, but he has his own vision.  His wide and varied background lets him know he is, “unique and I know I’m not just a Motown offspring and that’s all I have to offer.” He went on to say, “I think my music palette is so wide, that I am definitely an individual in that respect and I do honor my father and his legacy; however, I have so many things of my own that I want to do creatively.”

Lamont Jr believes he is a “talent to be reckoned with in his own right.”  He does not let being Lamont Dozier’s son get to him.  He did however admit that sometimes his name works for him, because he has met some giants in the music industry, who like his work and believe that with him, the legacy will continue and he will make his mark.  He wants to continue to work at his craft, saying, “So when it is your time to shine and people see you, they can see you in your own light and not in the light of your successful parent.”

When asked how much help, if any, his dad has been in helping him in the business, he shared, “Well, nobody does it on their own.  I’ve been blessed with many industry people to assist and help my progress.  As for my dad, his assistance has been minimal, and that, for the most part, has been my preference.  However, he is proud of what I’ve been able to achieve thus far.”

I guess the world will not be having a Lamont Dozier Reboot; more like a new series to begin next year.

marilyn smith

Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer.  Contact her via [email protected].

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