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Tune In: Damien Lamar

Tune In: Damien Lamar

May 4, 2020 // by MOCA Staff

A few weeks ago, we began our TUNE IN blog series, intended to support our local musician and performer collaborators, by talking with The Balance King. This week, we connected with Damien Lamar, organic nu-jazz vocalist, to bring you his thoughts on music, Jacksonville and our current health crisis. You can find Damien Lamar and his music partner Paul Holmes performing as Neon Motherboard in the MOCA CAFE on the first Thursday of each month. 

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Damien Lamar (pictured left) and Paul Holmes performing as Neon Motherboard with a MOCA guest at the February Art Walk.

Describe your journey as a musician.

I started out singing in church at the age of 4. I've been surrounded by music as part of my upbringing and when I turned 13, I stopped singing and started studying jazz and symphonic music as a tenor saxophone player in junior high school. I later picked up vocal studies, sang with choirs, and have been singing professionally ever since. In 2012, I started producing my own music which led me to compose ambient/electronic music. I've also performed with The Groove Coalition for 5 years. Shortly thereafter, I started Neon Motherboard, an acoustic band in 2019, and in the latter part of the year, I became the lead male vocalist in Northeast Florida's leading variety band, KTG Entertainment.

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Damien Lamar also hosts a podcast called Taste Test on WJCT featuring the latest trends in music.

Who or what inspires you as an artist?  

The influences of people and the ever-changing events in life inspire me as an artist. As a performing artist, I compare myself to a painter making intentional strokes on a canvas until I obtain a certain level of internal satisfaction. If I'm happy, people who experience the art I create will be as happy as well. Seth Godin, “An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo.” I strongly feel I embody all of those traits. 

Why Jacksonville?  

I have felt a strong urge to stay put and be a part of creating what I envision "the scene" should look like. There are so many natural resources here from waterways, beaches, a beautiful zoo, and a rich history of music. I feel it's my duty as an artist to infuse passion, enthusiasm, and avenues for collaboration in our community so we all can make Jacksonville a world-class destination.   

What does MOCA mean to you?    

MOCA has always been one of my favorite places to visit in downtown Jacksonville. It's an essential, centrally-based hub with world-class art and exhibitions from people of all ages. As an artist, it's a privilege to share my art, voice and passion as part of MOCA's community.  

As an artist, how have you been affected by the current health crisis?  

Like the majority of the world, I did not see COVID-19 coming. Understandably, I was personally affected by having performances postponed "until further notice" and some canceled. I am grateful that I have been in generally good health and have a full-time job to support myself. During this time, I have gained more time to work on my media company. Household and personal projects I put off were all of a sudden at my feet, waiting for me to finally give attention to them. There have also been more opportunities to work on my artistry, so I'm optimistically content. 

Just for fun: Recommended song or album to shake off the quarantine blues:  

During mid-March, I released a full-length visual album and preliminary musical score to a project I began working about 9 years ago. 'The New Adventures of ProfessorClock' is a musical experience where sound design and music composition meet art. I felt the need to share it since so many of us were home-bound. Many of us are inundated with social media memes, news updates, and Tik Tok dance challenges, so I thought it was fitting to provide a meditative and planetarium-like alternative to take our minds off the current state of the world. Listeners and viewers can check it out on YouTube here.  

To learn more about Damien and his many creative projects, visit his site at https://damienlamar.com/, and be sure to catch him on Thursday nights at MOCA Happy Hour Live once the museum reopens.

Did you enjoy this blog? MOCA is dedicated to supporting living artists, and we need your help now continue this important work. The current crisis has been devastating to the arts and culture sector. Please consider becoming a member (Core membership starts at $50 a year), making a donation today, or sharing this blog on your social media. Your support will make an impact!

 

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