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  • Reflections of Motown

    DOZIER GENERATIONS: LAMONT AND BEAU DOZIER INTERVIEW

    Lamont and Beau Dozier have defined the sound of many generations…

    GRAMMY® Award Winner Lamont Dozier is one of America’s greatest songwriters, having either written or co-written an astonishing 54 #1 hits, including “Stop! In The Name Of Love”, “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You”, and “Heat Wave”.

    Beau Dozier, Lamont’s son, is one of the hottest producers in today’s R&B Pop scene. He has written and produced songs for multi-platinum artists including JoJo, Joss Stone, Avant featuring Nicole Scherzinger, Cassie featuring Nicki Minaj and many more.

    We had the opportunity to sit down with both Lamont and Beau to talk about their careers, the art of songwriting, and their new Dozier Generations production music collection.

    KT: How did your careers as songwriters begin?

    Lamont: I started writing songs so I could sing them. I couldn’t afford to hire writers or buy material, so I came up with it myself. I just wanted to do something different than what was out there.

    Beau: I began at a very young age. I wrote music and lyrics and sang the songs. I started laying the drums, then composing on the piano. I was inspired first by my Dad, then Phil Collins, who worked with my Dad - I was very impressed with his drumming, songwriting and singing... and Hall & Oates (I wanted to be Daryl Hall and have long blonde hair). I also absorbed a lot watching videos on MTV.

    KT: Tell us about your first successful song(s).

    Lamont: When I was 15 I got my first record deal and had a local hit in Detroit with my group The Romeos called “Fine Fine Baby” on Atlantic Records. My first real hit was “Where Did Our Love Go”. Long story short, I wrote it for The Marvelettes. They hated the song and in order not to be charged for cutting a track at Motown that did not get recorded and released, I forced The Supremes (at that time called “the no hit Supremes”) to record it. They hated it too, but it went to #1 and was the first of 13 consecutive # 1 records for them. My life changed, suddenly I was in demand, and I embarked on a career.

    Beau: “Spoiled” which I co-wrote with my Dad for Joss Stone. The song did really well and it was especially rewarding because it was the first song my Dad and I co-wrote that charted.

    KT: In your opinion, what’s the difference between hit songs of the ’60s and ’70s and hit songs of today?

    Beau: I think hit songs today are largely driven by production. Songs in the ’60s and ’70s seemed to be much more driven by their lyrics, melodies and memorable hooks.

    Lamont: I don’t think hit songs today are similar to hits from that era. The songs back then seemed much more creative and unique. I have to agree with my son, today’s hit songs seem to be much more production oriented and less about the lyrics and melody.

    KT: Choose one cut from your Killer Tracks album and tell us the story behind the song. What was its inspiration?

    Beau: “Break My Heart”. It is about getting involved in a relationship that’s very personal to me. Very personal.

    Lamont: “The Strength Within” is an emotional piece of music that was inspired by a melancholy feeling I had one day, thinking about my Mother, who passed away in 2007, and how I miss her. I think it’s a good song for film and television placements that need to capture a feeling of reminiscing and love lost, it has a certain moodiness with chords that pull at the heart.

    KT: What impact has music licensing had on your career? Are there any specific placements that have affected your career in major ways?

    Lamont: Music licensing has been an incredible development for me, and it’s helped keep my songs relevant and current for over 50 years. I am always happy to learn of new licenses. I suppose I was particularly thrilled with “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” being in Forrest Gump. I don’t know why that one stands out, maybe because it won an Academy Award® for best picture. It was an honor to have my song featured in it and on the soundtrack.

    KT: How do you see the world of music licensing evolving in the future?

    Beau: I feel the record business has changed permanently and the focus on film and TV licensing has never been more important.

    Lamont: I believe that more of the music business will depend on music licensing, so I am happy to be involved with a project such as this. I actually think it’s a natural evolution for a songwriter to write music for music libraries today.

    KT: If time and technology were no obstacle, and you could collaborate with anyone (past, present or future), who would it be and why?

    Beau: I love working on my own, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to collaborate with my biggest inspiration, my father.

    Lamont: I would have loved to write with Paul McCartney and John Lennon. I could still work with Paul, but it would have been a dream come true to work with The Beatles. We (Holland Dozier Holland) almost had a chance to do it, but it just didn’t work out in time.

    KT: In your opinion, who do you see as the next breakout Pop artist and why?

    Beau: There are a lot of really talented artists today. I’m working with many people, the standouts being Bruce Boniface and Tynisha Keli. Both have a tremendous amount of talent and sounds all their own.

    Lamont: I try to keep my fingers on the pulse of what’s going on in the music business, and every now and then I get to work with a new artist who I get very excited about. Right now I am loving an artist named Cassidy who is an amazing singer/songwriter.

    KT: What advice do you have for aspiring songwriters and producers looking to break into the music business?

    Beau: My advice is to know the business side of things. Stay true to yourself when you write, never give up, and always dream big. There is no telling when your time will come, you just have to keep writing.

    Lamont: My advice is to always put your heart and soul into your music. If you do it because you love it, it will show. If you do it because you think you can make money and that is your primary goal, that will show as well. Music is spiritual and in order to reach people, it’s got to be coming from a pure place. It’s got to be honest and people will pick up on the feeling you are trying to send out.

    KT: What are 2-3 things that you absolutely couldn’t live without?

    Beau: My piano, my Blackberry and Indian food.

    Lamont: I can’t live without my piano, old-fashioned tape recorder and cassette tapes...that’s how I still love to write my songs today.

    KT: What are 2-3 things that you could totally be cool living without?

    Beau: I can live without sugar and traffic.

    Lamont: I can live without a telephone - I never answer it.

    KT: What’s in your record player… what are you listening to right now?

    Beau: It’s Academy Award time, so I am listening to the scores of my favorite motion pictures... “Inception” (by Hans Zimmer), “The Social Network” (by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross) and “The King’s Speech” (by Alexandre Desplat).

    Lamont: I am listening to a lot of Broadway musicals right now, as I am working on a couple of theater productions for the stage. I have always wanted to do that, and now I am having the opportunity to follow my dream.

    Available exclusively through Killer Tracks, the Dozier Generations collection features two albums of original music from legendary Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier (father) and leading contemporary Pop producer Beau Dozier (son). The first album, Lamont Dozier - Reflections of Motown, features live recordings of irresistible Soul and Pop melodies while the second album, Beau Dozier - R&B Pop, contains a mixture of both modern R&B Pop songs with vocals and club remixes of Lamont’s melodies.

    Click here to listen KT237 Lamont Dozier - Reflections of Motown and KT238 Beau Dozier - R&B Pop .

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