The voice, a mix of soul and rhythm and blues coming from the mouth of a red-haired boy from north Alabama, grabbed the attention of a nation. Listeners compared his sound to Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross and Ray Charles.
“I was really lucky a few years ago when my sister filmed me singing ‘Hit the Road Jack’ at my aunt and uncle’s house. She posted it to YouTube and it got 400,000 hits,” said Lamont Landers, who grew up in Decatur and lives in Falkville. “Now, I don’t care about being on MTV or any of that, but those hits exposed my music to people who would have never heard me.”
In the weeks following, another video of Landers singing “Let’s Get It On” went viral with more than half-a-million hits. He gained 10,000 followers.
Among the people intrigued by Landers was Jeremy Stephens, owner of Clearwave Recording Studio. The Decatur record producer compared Landers to Alabama Shakes and Jason Isbell, notable artists he worked with at the beginning of their careers.
“These guys are better,” Stephens said of Landers and another of his musicians, James Irvin. “Certainly should look for them in 2016.”
After graduating from the University of Alabama, Landers moved to Falkville. He expects to release an album in April. The 24-year-old singer-songwriter described the sound as a newer and updated version of soul and rhythm and blues.
Backed by keyboardist Kevin Canada, drummer Bowen Robertson and bassist Curtis Comack, Landers began the recording process in April 2015.
“What makes us so strong as a unit is we have similar and different sensibilities when it comes to music. We are able to push each other and the music to places we would not be able to reach alone,” Landers said.
Marrying Landers’ self-taught style with Canada’s classical training and Comack and Robertson’s pure talent creates a unique dynamic. Landers’ favorite songs on the new, yet-to-be named album are “Burn it to the Ground,” “Indonesia” and “Westward Expansion.”
“I don’t want to be a pop star. I don’t care about that fame. All I want is for a group of people to appreciate me as a musician,” Landers said.
Funk / Soul / R&B / Rock