Did you know that when Memphis musicians travel to other cities, the music industry knows to put some respect on their names? Dottie knows it well, because she’s built an impressive career backing up icons like Jennifer Lopez, Ciara, Jesse J. and more. Now it’s time for Dottie to step to the front of the stage – we fell in love with her song and video “Outta My Mind,” so we sat down with her to bring you Five Questions.
So, this is definitely a ’20 Feet From Stardom’ story – your resume is crazy! You’ve backed up Ciara, Jennifer Lopez, Kendrick Lamar and so many more. How did you get into doing backing vocals?
I packed up one day seven years ago with $300 and one bag headed to pursue my dreams in Los Angeles, CA. I slept on my friend’s floor, couch, and Futon, and I started singing everywhere I could. Lounges, tea shops, hotels, on the corner, anywhere! It was survival of the fittest. Eventually, I was heard a few times by the Music Director for Jennifer Lopez. He called me up and did not have any openings for JLo at the time, but he knew of a private audition that he felt I would be good for. It was a blind audition that turned out to be for Ciara. So that was my first job and tour I booked after being in LA for only seven months. I’ve since been fortunate enough to work with Jlo, Jesse J, Ella Mai, and others. I credit that to being born and raised in Memphis and just having that small town determination that only our city can give you.
Have you always planned to step out for a solo career? Why now?
It’s funny because I had no idea I’d ever get into professional background work, but I’m so thankful for the journey. It’s afforded me many opportunities. I’ve made amazing connections. That has propelled me deeper into my own artistry. I’ve sung since the age of 5 and have been writing music since 13. So for me, being an artist has always been the driving force behind everything I do. Now is the time to show that more than ever.
We know musicians and vocalists from Memphis have respect everywhere they go. What has it been like for you moving through your career with national touring artists as a Memphian?
That is so true. Memphians command every space they enter. So it has been a real joy to experience Memphis through other people’s eyes. They have a great love and respect for our work ethic, authenticity, and talents. Touring and talking about our hometown to people all around the world is something I greatly miss. I loved sharing things like our good bbq and deep musical roots. I can attest to the fact that Memphis as a whole is respected musically everywhere, and that’s pretty cool!
This video for “Outta My Mind” is amazing. Tell us about the concept and how it came together.
Wow thanks so much! This was created from the head of a very sad daughter who had recently lost her mom and was really struggling to cope. That daughter is me. I hadn’t been able to write music in months, and I couldn’t hear music the same after my mom transitioned. This song and video were like a diary of my life over the year of 2019 into 2020. I wanted the video to be honest about how dark depression was but how you could ultimately rise up and begin to live again. Losing a parent is devastating, but I hope this video shows someone who may be struggling like I was to not give up on themselves, seek professional help, remember they aren’t alone, and never stop creating! The personal bonus for me is at the end, and my mom gives a very beautiful message about not giving up from a phone call she didn’t know I was recording. It’s my favorite part.
What’s ahead in 2021 – should we be on the lookout for an album from you?
Ahead for me is releasing my EP in June titled “For Your Consideration.” I’m so excited about it. It’s my very first actual body of work. I’ve put out singles, but this is my whole baby. After the release, I’m just gearing up to perform for you all, safely, of course. In the meantime, you can catch me at Manhattan Lounge on April 15th. The show starts at 8:00 pm. Masks are required! You can also download my two latest singles, “Outta My Mind” and “Switching Vibes,” out on all digital platforms. Hope to see you around, Memphis and thanks so much!