Written by Brittany Shawnté
I’ve been listening to and checking out a great amount of artists, producers, and a few designers lately! It’s been a great start to 2015, I must say. As always, if you are or represent an upcoming artist, producer, designer, etc., please refer to our Features/Submissions page for more information on how you can be featured on The Spotlight!
Today, on the blog, we have singer/songwriter/producer Lamont Bagfeel! Lamont got his start in music when he began to play the drums at church from about 9 – 12 years old. One day, he got on the organ, and was told by a guy at the church that Lamont couldn’t play it because it was too hard to learn. “That actually made me want to learn how to play it, so I just started focusing on piano and keyboard,” Lamont stated. Though the singer never had real formal training on how to play, he constantly listened to music and started picking it up, teaching himself how to read music and eventually was able to skillfully play bass, guitar, keyboard, organ, and drums.
In high school, the talented musician joined a go go band and continued to play in church. He also started playing in clubs when he was around 16 or 17, playing in 21+ clubs. “They would let me in because I played keyboard for these bands,” he chuckled. Tired of the politics at his home church, he eventually left and went to play at a friend’s church. Used to playing for free, he realized that he could really make a career out of being a musician after getting his first paycheck from the church. “After I made that first check, I thought ‘Oh shoot, this is it! I’m not doing anything else!” he joked. Making $600 a week at 16 was pretty nice! He actually didn’t even want to be an artist at first. “I love writing music, and I love producing music, so I wanted to just write and produce music for others,” he admitted. His friends involved in music were actually creating and writing their own work, so he had a bunch of music that he didn’t want to go to waste. He thought, “Well, if no one else is going to sing my music, I’ll do my own music. I’ll perform myself, as an artist.”
Lamont is inspired by artists like Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and Kurtis Blow, as well as Kim Burrell, Common, and Mos Def. However, he doesn’t shut himself out from other genres, listening to John Mayer and country artist Brad Paisley. he soul and substance of gospel music that he grew up with has been a great influence on him. “I’m looking to give that feeling off in every song. I don’t want any bubblegum music,” Lamont said. “I want something that’s like oldies but goodies. I want that feel, stuff that won’t die [like] Stevie Wonder [and] Marvin Gaye,” he said. “That sound may not be popular now, but it’s not dead, though, and we can bring it back.” One day he heard D’Angelo. “My life was never the same. It was forever changed,” he laughed. “He was the influence. He is STILL the influence. When I make music, I am trying to reach the bar that he has definitely set.” Setting high standards for his music is definitely important to Lamont. “Nowadays, in music, there is no bar. When you go back in the history of music, the level was so high to even be considered a musician. They had standards in musicians and writers and singing,” the musician stated. “Nowadays, as long as you got auto-tune, you’re on. As long as you’re sexy, you’re on. The music industry is actually not about music anymore. It’s about everything else.”
Though he did get his start in gospel, he chose to step away from today’s gospel music scene, preferring the 90’s contemporary gospel era. “The gospel music today is kind of stupid. It’s too busy musically. They’re not saying anything,” the artist said candidly. “It’s made to be an emotional ride versus actually delivering something with some substance.” He also spoke about the controversies with specific gospel artists and about how their personal lives don’t always reflect the life they sing about. “The industry in itself, to me, is a contradiction. You would expect for some of these people to have better character, and be better people,” Lamont said. He also believes that his individuality, which he credits his mother for creating, and laid back nature is frowned upon or not understood.
The singer branched out into R&B in his mid-twenties, releasing two projects last year–a self-titled EP and another EP entitled Identity. Lamont is currently gearing up for his new release, Lamont Bagfeel and Hippie Control, which will be released on March 10th. “This EP is more soul with a hint of neo-soul,” Lamont said of the project, which he is producing and writing himself. “A lot of songs were based on the guitar, so it has an alternative sound to it.” In addition to putting the finishing touches on the EP, Lamont is also serving as producer for two other artists as they work on EPs of their own.
Lamont acknowledges several different factors that separates himself from other artists. “The fact that my music definitely has substance, both musically and as far as writing goes [separates me]. I’m talking about some real stuff,” the artist said. He also likes his laid-back style, which isn’t showy or flashy. He keeps it real to show that he is no different from his audience. His stage presence and overall musical delivery also sets him apart. “Delivery is next level,” Lamont said. “I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what kind of day you had. You’re gonna get with it when you hear it.” In terms of his future in the industry, Lamont doesn’t want too much of the fame and the fortune, but would rather focus on his music. “Honestly, getting rich is great. I’m not opposed to it,” he said. “But I just want a Grammy, so I can say I did it. I want to definitely tour, and live doing what I want to do.” With his passion, musicality, and talent, Lamont is definitely set to go far!