Leonard Dozier has been asked all his life about his relationship to Lamont Dozier, one-third of the Motown songwriting and hitmaking trio Holland-Dozier-
Holland. "My answer is always I have no idea whether we are related," says Dozier. Still, Dozier aspires to be every bit the songwriter Lamont was and this is supremely evident on his forthcoming CD "Soul of a Pisces," out April 20th through Tunecore and available via all major online retailers.  Like Lamont Dozier before him, he is a versatile songwriter with profiency in several genres. While many remember Dozier's Motown hits such as "Baby, I Need Your Loving" and "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" they may not so easily remember his number one hit "Two Hearts" with Phil Collins.  One of the first two singles from the album is the soaring R&B summer jam "Nothing Sweeter" which has been receiving some airplay on college and internet  stations.  The song is hybrid throwback to the early 80s and mid 90's and Dozier's gliding baritone is reminiscent of the late Luther Vandross.  The second single, "Soulmate" is a musically beautiful masterpiece (in which he wrote the music) flavored with this velvety baritone. The song has gained some traction on smooth jazz radio and among smooth jazz prgrammers like Michael Tozzi.  The thirs single from the album (out March 15th) is the urban and sexy "Yes" in which he croons lyrics like:

"Be my sweetie, please say yes, would I be your baby? Yes, hell yes. Like Freddie, I'll say 'you are my lady.' We can do this if you want to do this. Just say yes."

Quite frankly, it's the kind of neo-retro song missing from R&B today.  Dozier's "song-centric" approach is not merely limited to his own writing but also to the songwriters who have influenced his approach. "For me, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder influence me greatly as a writer and yet they are very different in there styles and formats," says Dozier. The versatility among formats is what defines "Soul of a Pisces." In a bit of a twist, his voice glides over a terrific pop-soul-rock remake of the Fine Young Cannibals massive hit "She Drives Me Crazy." Fast forward a few tacks ahead and the jazz-funk socially conscious "Gun" paints a harrowing account of the topic of guns in this country. All the more amazing is how much  Gil Scott Heron, who wrote and released the song in 1981, was ahead of his time on many topical issues.  If music tells the story, the soul of a Pisces is a deep and enigmatic one filled with romance, hurt, reflection and inspiration. More importantly, it defies genre simply because of Dozier's commitment to writing great songs regardless of genre. "This versatility and deep understanding and appreiciation of music, melody and lyrics is what I believe helped someone like Lamont Dozier write over 50 number one hits," adds Dozier. "We hear catchy songs today but we don't hear craftsmanship in the songs. I believe the industry has sadly moved away from songwriting as a craft and art form."

In spite of his relatively unknown name in music circles (compared to the likes of Lamont), he is no newcomer to the scene having had a couple of indie label deals at the turn of the century. The 37 year old is well regarded and accomplished as an actor and voice actor with a resume that includes two regional Broadway World Best Actor nominations, an ADDY award as a voice actor and almost twenty years in the business as a whole. "Soul of a Pisces" is special and with the right promotion behind it it could catapult this new Dozier into recognizable territory--if not similar than at least close--of that Dozier of yesteryear.


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Robert Williams