Leonard’s ongoing and original love for making music has in fact continued throughout the demand for his voice and stage acting. His self-produced 2011 “Vitamin L” album resulted in radio play and a video for the track, “This Thanksgiving” and more recently, he released a second CD, “Soul Of A Pisces,” consisting of all original material other than three remakes, standout versions of Gil Scott-Heron’s timeless piece, “Gun,” Kenny Lattimore’s “Never Too Busy” and “She Drives Me Crazy,” an ‘80s hit for Britain’s Fine Young Cannibals, given a soulful reinterpretation.
Two Dozier-penned songs, “Nothing Sweeter” and “Soulmate” (for which Leonard wrote all the parts for the instruments on the track) have also garnered strong acclaim and airplay. “I made the two albums because I missed making music,” says Leonard, who cites Luther Vandross (about whom he’s writing a work-in-progress script for a proposed biopic) and Will Downing among his vocal influences and musical heroes. “I’d love to see where music takes me, particularly as a way to get back into performing.”
Meanwhile, with an increasingly busy schedule as a voice actor, the married father of five reflects with justifiable pride, “I’ve achieved the first two goals I started out with when I began my career behind a microphone a few decades ago - doing my first Hollywood film (Legends Of Oz) and working with NFL Films and there’s nothing like it – truly, the sky’s the limit!”
Multi-faceted actor, voice actor, recording artist, songwriter and musician Leonard Dozier is referring to becoming one of the primary voices for NFL Films, the iconic organization responsible for producing renowned and consistent television content. “Just being one of a small group of narrators is really a thrill,” says New Jersey-born Dozier, whose distinctive voice can be heard on the 2016 television program “NFL Films Presents: Tommy Brasher,” about the legendary defensive line coach. “It’s been one of my longtime, lifetime goals since doing voiceover work at the age of nineteen. Just being one of the new voices of NFL Films has already boosted my stature and profile enormously, both personally and professionally.”
Dozier’s ascent into the upper echelon of voiceover professionals is the culmination of twenty years of work that has seen him appear in a number of key theatrical roles, including his memorable portrayal of AME founder, Bishop Richard Allen in the Emmy-nominated docudrama, “Fever: 1793” and in the same role for the documentary, “Apostle Of Freedom.”
Unquestionably spurred on by his delivery in high school of the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s groundbreaking “I Have A Dream” speech, Leonard’s interest in acting was further stimulated through his own stage adaptation of best-selling author Walter Moseley’s Devil In A Blue Dress, which he created through his own theatre production company (Cineplay Productions) at the age of seventeen. A career in acting seemed like an inevitability when he went to Fordham University – and yet, Leonard recalls, “my focus was actually on singing and on music. Acting was almost like a tertiary aspect of what I was doing. Once I got a record deal, that was my focus.”
As it turned out, during the course of recording what would (at the time) been his first album for a major record label, Leonard was fortuitously ‘side-tracked’ by engineer/producer Andrew Manzano, who offered him free studio time in exchange for Leonard’s distinctive tones on a promotional spot for another artist. “When he first presented the idea, my response was ‘what are you talking about?’ forgetting that I had been doing the morning announcements at school for four years. I was not interested at all in being a voice actor!”
When corporate politics resulted in the dissolution of his record deal, Leonard found himself turning his attention to acting and voiceover work. Over the course of the last decade, Leonard – who has been nominated twice for prestigious Broadway World Best Actor awards - has appeared in a variety of key stage and film roles, most notably in the Ernie Hudson/Todd Bridges (Nollywood Oscar-nominated film) Turning Point; in a number of August Wilson plays including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Piano Lesson, Fences, Joe Turner’s Come And Gone and in the world-premiere of A Gift From John McKee; in Battlecry (written and produced by Emmy winner Granville Burgess, directed by Tony-nominee Gabe Barre and musically directed by Emmy and Grammy-winner Paul Bogaev); in the world-premiere stage reading of Meet the Earth (written by noted playwright Daniel Damiano); and in the role of Walter Lee Younger in the stage classic A Raisin in the Sun.
While Leonard’s ongoing commitment to do film, television and stage work has been evident throughout his career, he admits that “success in doing voiceover work has been the big surprise.” He considers his work in 2012’s Hollywood-produced movie Legends Of Oz (alongside Dan Ackroyd, Jim Belushi, Kelsey Grammer and Lea Michele) as the primary catalyst that led to the creation of “Get Behind The Mic,” his now-nationally-known workshop, highlighted in mega-union SAG-AFTRA’s magazine, distributed to its thousands of members.
“The original idea was to host one workshop to give people the nuts and bolts of how to get into the voiceover business,” says the genial man with the golden voice, who can be heard as the official voice for Boomtown Casinos (which netted a Silver ADDY award for Best TV and Radio Spot in 2012). “That was in 2012 in Ocean City, New Jersey – and it was originally going to be done once a year. I’ve taken the one-day workshop to six to seven cities each year and with the help of SAG-AFTRA, I’ve worked with over four hundred people. I do online classes and currently have over fifty private students; the workshop includes a lab component in a studio with me directly coaching people and offering personal evaluation as well as a business component where I talk about what it takes to be successful in the world of voiceover work. It’s really rewarding to be able to pass on what I’ve learned to support people in achieving their goals.”
The man whose voice has been heard on commercials for singer Ruben Studdard, for the audio animated anthology Nightseeker, for PHMG (the leading international audio branding company), for Bible translation narration company JARS, for Centerlight Health and on audiobooks by Dr. Creflo Dollar ("8 Steps to Create the Life You Want") and Ron Gardener (“Take Brave Steps”) says that initially, “I saw voice acting as something that was completely anonymous. However, doing my workshops and now working with NFL Films means that’s no longer the case and I’m ok with that! It’s been surprisingly rewarding and I have to admit, I never saw it coming when I was originally thinking of a career in music and now it's full circle and I'm back in music again."
--David Nathan is the founder of Soulmusic.com and is a renowned journalist and biographer who has profiled many legendary artists such as Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Toni Braxton, Alicia Keys, Usher and Whitney Houston. He is an advisory board member of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
NFL Films voice narrator Leonard Dozier is stopping by the Atlantic City Library Thursday, Aug. 17, as part of his 2017 Songwriter Tour.
A multi-faceted performer, the film and, award-winning voice actor and vocalist is a native of South Jersey who acquired an affinity for both acting and music. Sea-sawing back and forth between both passions, Dozier hosts voice acting workshops in several cities and narrates for NFL Films — while continuing to write his own music.…
Music will win out Thursday when he performs pieces from his album “Songwriter” starting at 5 p.m. as part of the library’s Third Thursday Concert Series. The album pays tribute to artists such as James Taylor and Stevie Wonder. The concert is free and the library is located at 1 N. Tennessee Ave., Atlantic City. Call 609-345-2269, ext. 3112 or go to ACFPL.org.
Atlantic City Library's Third Thursday Concert Series
The Atlantic City Free Public Library presents free entertainment with its Third Thursday Concert Series, May through September Atlantic City Library’s Third Thursday Concert Series The Atlantic City Free Public Library will bring free entertainment to the city with its Third Thursday Concert Series. Performances will be held 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month through September at the Main Library. Leonard Dozier on Aug. 17 – Accomplished actor and ADDY award-winning voice actor Leonard Dozier kicks off his 2017 Songwriter Tour and makes his only Atlantic City stop in support of his new album "Songwriter," which pays tribute to some of the great songwriters in music history, including: James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach and Babyface.
Locust St. Riot on Sept. 21 – Locust St. Riot is the music of singer/songwriter Justin Gonzalez being brought to life by the collaboration of three friends, trained as classical musicians, now exploring what originally drew them to music. LSR's originals can be heard on its self-titled CD, and it always pays homage to their inspirations with covers of Stevie Wonder, The Stylistics and Chris Isaak.
Actor Leonard Dozier Calls Harrisburg His Second Home
Leonard Dozier, accomplished vocal actor and stage actor, visited Good Day PA to talk about he came to adopt Harrisburg as his second home. Dozier, of New Jersey, has performed in many Harrisburg area stage productions and is set to star in Open Stage Harrisburg’s “Father Comes Home” in February.
Dozier is a popular voice actor and is one of the newest narrators of NFL Films. He brings his “Get Behind the Mic” workshop to many locations including Harrisburg. Learn more about him at http://www.leonarddozier.com/
New NFL Voice Actor
When Leonard Dozier is ready to get to work, he needs complete silence in his home. The air conditioner is turned off, windows are closed, and all TVs are muted.
Any sounds can be a distraction. Worse, they can ruin a take at the home studio in his bedroom.
Next to his bed, memory-foam walls surround a tiny space with a $1,000 microphone and a sheet of lines for Dozier to read
Dozier, 37, a South Jersey native and professional voiceover actor, has voiced characters in major motion pictures. He has narrated audiobooks, and he has recorded countless commercials.
His most recent project is as the newest voice featured in NFL Films.
Despite his success, being a voice actor wasn’t always the dream.
Dozier, of Egg Harbor City, grew up in Somers Point and attended Pleasantville High School, where he played power forward for the basketball team. Basketball dominated his early high school life. But he then turned to theater, and that became his love.
Dozier also did the morning announcements all during the high school.
While many people told him he should pursue radio and voice work, Dozier wasn’t too interested in making it a career. It didn’t seem like real performing.
“I didn’t equate what I was doing in high school to voiceover work, and there was a second thought that voiceover work was not on the level of being an actor,” he said. “So I went to Fordham to study theater, since my first love was being onstage.”
Along with wanting to become an actor, Dozier also pursued an R&B singing career after college and recorded a few songs.
One day, Dozier was offered an opportunity: He could have free studio time to record his music if he lent his voice to a commercial.
That was when Dozier realized there might be a career for him in voiceover acting. He started landing spots in commercials and narrating for audio books.
He believes he made the right decision.
“Ironically, the music industry has been rough since the early 2000s, and the voice acting world is now looked at in a different light,” Dozier said.
He continued to work in narration, something that made use of his background in acting. Dozier has landed roles in narration and acting. His best-known work was in the CGI animated movie “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” in which he provided voices alongside actors Dan Akroyd, Lea Michele and Kelsey Grammer.
Although it didn’t do well in the box office, Dozier credits the Oz movie with helping him promoting his workshops. He does seminars across the country, helping students who want to pursue a career in voiceover acting. Recently he held workshops in San Francisco and Seattle, and he is now teaching weekly classes at Little Rock Films and Studios in Ventnor.
Most of the students he meets ask questions about how they can break into the entertainment industry.
His response? Understand acting and train constantly.
For Dozier, a lifetime of training has led him to his dream job: voiceover work for NFL Films.
Dozier approached the company’s audio department to try to get his foot in the door. He finally found a senior producer’s contact information and sent him a demo. He then performed a live audition for a group of producers, and a couple of days later he was told he had the job.
Most of his work will be for the NFL network’s “NFL Films Presents” episodes and possibly some segments for the popular series “A Football Life.”
While taking a tour with producers of the company’s property in Mount Laurel — which he describes as a mix between Universal Studios and the National Football Hall of Fame — he couldn’t believe he had landed a job.
Standing in his makeshift audio booth in his Egg Harbor City home, reciting lines about the Seattle Seahawks into his microphone while wearing a Denver Broncos hat — he’s a Denver fan — he was all smiles and laughs in between takes.
“As a young man from Pleasantville, I never thought any of this would’ve happened in my career. I’ve exceeded my wildest expectations,” he said. “So anything that comes is a bonus.”
Like In the Days of Motown, Another Songwriter Shows It's All About the Song
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.